Why everyone is running after Keyword Ranking? Keywords are words or phrases that help a search engine to understand what the user is searching for and fetch suitable results.
The use of keyword-based SEO began in 1997 when Yahoo and AOL were the leading search engines.
SEO services have progressed far from that era when rudimentary techniques were employed. The biggest change has, of course, been the near-monopoly of Google since 2000. Keeping in mind the current practices, partnering with an SEO service provider is the ideal choice as they take over the legwork for you and reap benefits for your company.
Without it, no website can be found. Keywords are numero uno when it comes to on-site SEO factors that lead to higher SERP.
We discuss the role of keywords, and why it matters in SEO.
Why are keywords crucial to SEO?
There are two principal reasons why keywords play a vital role.
- Effective Search
How does a user tell a computer (Google, after all, exists on a computer system somewhere) what he wants to know?
I used Google about an hour ago. I needed to find the best hotel in Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico, where I am headed (from Houston) right after I finish writing this blog post.
Google came up with dozens of suggestions and at least 10 hotel booking sites. Further down, it listed the individual hotel websites.
From knowing nothing, I went to know a lot in the space of about 30 seconds.
But it required keywords or rather a key phrase “best budget hotel in Santa Fe” without which, Google would have no way of knowing if I was looking for an elephant or a donut.
“najlepszy niedrogi hotel w Santa Fe”
In case you are wondering if I let my fingers run riot over the keyboard, let me assure you otherwise.
That is Polish for “best budget hotel in Santa Fe”. If a user from Warsaw who does not speak English was coming to Santa Fe, he would likely type that in.
And Google would fetch results in Polish. Some results would be organically Polish and Google would translate the remaining.
Hence, a keyword tells a search engine what information to retrieve and in which language.
- Relevant Search
A search engine employs a rather complex algorithm.
It can understand semantic search. Semantic search is a search where it not only probes for the exact keywords but also topics closely related to those keywords.
Such as a search regarding “Batman” would bring up showtimes of the recently released movie “The Batman” at movie theaters near you, and list all the Batman movies and reviews of “The Batman”.
Despite its smartness, a search engine does not know how much information a page has about the DC comic character Batman.
One way it decides is backlinks and the other keywords.
An article about Batman would contain the keyword more frequently.
If you had a dedicated fan blog about Batman, it would feature in the search results even if the site had very few backlinks.
Note that this example was about a topic that probably has had a million searches daily for the past month. It would be easy to pull showtimes and review articles from well-known news outlets.
But searches also happen regarding arcane topics, and those users and their needs are equally important. Not everyone’s world revolves around pop culture.
Take, for example, the topic “absurdism”. It is the belief that the universe is irrational and chaotic and was put forth by the noted 20th-century French philosopher Albert Camus.
Backlinks cannot be an adequate measure in such cases. How many link their site to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and unknown blogs by bearded philosophy teachers at Oxford? Very few, I surmise.
Yet of the 5.6 billion Google searches daily, a large part is about topics that are extremely obscure e.g. “how to care for chili plants in pots”, “can flour tortillas be fried”, and “do avocados make bananas ripen faster” and so on.
Keywords are a crucial factor in determining SERP in such a situation.
How to find keywords that work?
It is all about who will read your blog and what they would probably want to know.
What would your audience be looking for? They would want information-rich content on fashion that answers what is trendy and who is wearing it.
Possible keywords would be “cheap fashion,” “trending fashion”, and “biggest fashion trend [year]”.
The point is, do these coincide with what they are searching for? Tools such as Google Keyword Planner help a lot in such decisions.
Remember that creating a keyword is not in your power. All that you can do is create content that includes those keywords.
A lot or a little?
Neither, in fact, would help your cause.
In yesteryears, SEO experts used to create blogs that had some variation of the same keyword inserted repeatedly. Keyword stuffing, as it came to be known, plagued search results circa 2010.
In 2011, Google put a stop to such unethical practices.
There is no way to know exactly how Google (and Bing) looks for keywords, but a lot of content that has a fair number of suitable keywords inserted in proper context seems to do the trick.
How to use keywords to rank higher?
- Keywords in page titles
Google indexing pays a lot of attention to page titles. Include one primary keyword in the H1 tag. Keywords in the title tag also allow you to improve click-through rates.
- Keywords in meta descriptions
These are short 160 word summaries that appear on search pages below the URL. So many ignore it and the search page displays the first 160 characters of the content. That is a huge mistake since a keyword plugged in this section catches a user’s eye.
Include it in the HTML header as <meta name=”description”> or in the case of a web builder software such as WordPress or Wix, you can use the appropriate section of the editor to plug it in.
- Keyword in content
Keywords can be one or two words, e.g. “Abraham Lincoln”, or a long phrase “what is Abraham Lincoln most famous for”.
The latter is known as a long-tailed keyword.
Use both short and long-tail keywords in your content. Ensure that the grammar is correct. If the Keyword Planner suggests “women sports drink” it is best to use “sports drinks for women”. Google can accommodate minor shifts in word arrangement for better usage.
Remember that the relevance of the keyword is more important than its density. Sprinkle them through your content without seeming too obvious about it.
Will keywords matter in the future?
What role will keywords play in the future? Will Google use machine learning to rank pages?
It is a common question.
After all, before you sink several thousand dollars on good content, you have to know how long it will work.
The answer is no one knows. Google does not like outsiders gaming the system. Yet every SEO veteran has a trick or two up their sleeve and can manipulate keyword use for gaining SERP.
The best guess is that with the current state of technology, keywords remain the secret that makes SEO work. Probably one day it will change, but that day is not so near.