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The Importance of Keywords in SEO

Posted By: Johan Hedin About the author

Here's the understatement of the millennium: keywords are important in search engine optimization (SEO). Back in the days of Web 1.0, reciprocal links and web directory listings were abused by spammers and some such, so the keyword eventually became one of the prime factors for determining your search engine results page (SERP) ranking, or at least it plays a major role into how high you could go SEO-wise. Search strings are usually matched against keywords, and even though search engines like Google use a lot more variables to rank websites aside from how many search terms are found on a given page, keywords are nevertheless still needed in order to categorize any given website in accordance to a given search term.

The Reasons for Using Keywords

It's vital for any SEO campaign to choose the right keywords in order to become successful in optimizing a given site. In fact, it's the first and most important step to an effective SEO project.  Failing this first step is akin to building a house on unstable ground or beside a large body of water. You're just asking for trouble and disappointment by not taking this step seriously. Your SEO campaign will be a waste of time, money, and effort if you aren't able to come up with the best keywords for your site from the very beginning. The tone, complexion, and success of your entire SEO project will directly depend on how well you've chosen your keywords and key phrases.

Thankfully, there is a multitude of ways you can use to determine your final list of keywords that will best optimize your website for search engines, such as SEO keyword tools. These methods and techniques will carefully analyze what the online population is searching for and what keywords they're likeliest to use, particularly the audience you're trying to cater to. You should also pick keywords that best describe your website while also keeping in mind the search terms that your target demographic will probably type in when searching for services that businesses like yours provide. On that note, choosing the right keywords to optimize is a task that's easier said than done.

Using Common Words for Keywords is Virtual Suicide

It's hard to top the results for a one-word search string nowadays thanks to the sheer number of websites vying for the most common words people use when using search engines. Indeed, it's virtually suicide to use common words for keywords nowadays. For example, if you own a pet store, don't try to optimize the keywords "dog" or "dogs", because other more popular and established websites have long hogged those terms for themselves by this time. Achieving constant top SERP rankings for two or more words as search strings is a more achievable objective in light of today's densely populated cyberspace.

To be more specific, you should instead use keywords like "dog food recipes", "homemade dog food", "small dog breeds", "dog obedience training", and so forth. Success for the most popular two or more search string keywords is likelier than one-two word combinations because the latter is hard to achieve and often not worth the effort while the former is a lot more specific, so there's less competition and more chances for success. Besides which, the people who are searching for something specific about pets won't be typing "dog" or "dogs" anyway; they'll instead be using two or more search string keywords to narrow down their search.

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