What Is the Main Purpose of Using Keywords in SEO?
Types of keywords in SEO
When deciding on keywords to make the most out of your SEO strategy, it’s not a good idea to settle on just one keyword that you feel best represents your product or service. Unless your business has a truly unique and singular focus, that first-choice keyword can be one that’s also in use by your competitors. By relying upon that one well-searched keyword or phrase — however appropriate it may be — you could be facing some tough competition for top search result rankings from other businesses similar to yours.
Effective use of SEO is more than setting your sights on one major aspect of your business or limiting your budget to just that one focus. It can be more effective to work with about five keywords that compliment one another and help distinguish your business from your competitors. Adding long-tail keywords, which are phrases of three or more words, provides extra mileage in the conversion department. They help direct the type of visitors to your site that best represent the specialized demographic or geographic market you’re targeting. You can do more than obtain higher search result rankings; the right choice and number of keywords helps convert visitors and potential customers into purchasers.
Multiple keywords help your search result ranking, but it’s best to not include unrelated keywords or dissimilar topics. At the same time, your keywords shouldn’t be doing little more than repeating the same thing in different ways. As a result of advanced search algorithms, keyword stuffing no longer works. Your approach to the number of multiple and related keywords used should be focused on reader engagement and intent.
After choosing the best combination of keywords the next question that most likely comes to mind is “How many times should those keywords be used per page?” Although it’s unwise to use keyword-stuffing, you should also feel free to use enough related keywords to help your website visitors make sense of your content.
At this current time and state of the art, taking into consideration the new algorithms employed by the search engines, keyword density alone may not be your best metric for gauging your SEO effectiveness. Search engines are becoming smarter, and there is now a greater focus on the purpose or intent of the keywords used rather than the number used per page. Plan on placing the right number of keywords in your content that will best serve the specific purpose and intent of your page. Don’t try to match or surpass what you see your competitors doing. The ultimate goal of SEO is conversion, and both your choice of keywords and the number of times they appear on the page should reflect that goal.
The length of your content has a direct bearing on how many times your keywords appear. If your content represents a landing page or online ad that is intended to direct traffic to your main website, you may be limiting your word count to about 350 to 500 words, or perhaps 700 if your subject matter is more detailed or technical. A previously accepted rule of thumb has been to place a keyword or keyword phrase once every 100 words. This ratio of keywords to word count would represent a 1% keyword density. Google began using an updated algorithm in 2013 called Hummingbird which can tell the difference between forced keywords and natural writing. A study conducted in 2017 suggests that rather than keyword density, it is the relevancy of highly searched terms that results in a higher ranking.
Although keywords can be broadly grouped into three types of keywords, many users categorize them into nine types. This larger collection takes into account the keywords’ function rather than their form. For the sake of simplicity, the term keyword typically refers to both single-word types and those comprised of three or more words; the latter type can also be referred to as a keyword phrases or a long-tail keyword.
With regard to their basic form, the three-way grouping of keywords are head, body and long-tail.
The head type of keyword is typically one word that provides a very generic description of a product, service or topic. For example, “shampoo,” which is generic and may not pinpoint what someone is actually looking for. Their specific interest may be in a dandruff shampoo, a conditioning shampoo or a dry-hair shampoo. Because of their generic nature such single-word keywords are also referred to as broad-match keywords. They’re also called short-tail keywords.
The body type of keyword provides some more information about the search item, such as “dandruff shampoo,” but it could still be a bit more specific.
The long-tail keyword helps narrow things down to what the searcher is really looking for, such as “best dandruff shampoo for men.” This would be a good example of a search phrase used by someone who knows exactly what they want. This also better reflects a search string that comes from a customer who is looking to make a purchase.
The larger grouping of keywords includes the long-tail and short-tail types, but also includes seven additional categories that describe the keyword’s function.
The short-term keyword type may also be referred to as a fresh keyword. This reflects the fact that the topic, item or service has recently been hyped and is a trending subject. A good example of a short-term keyword is a movie title that has either just been released or is receiving a great deal of pre-release publicity and hype. A short-term keyword may do well while the subject or topic is trending, but you could see a sharp decline in site visits and rankings after all of the hype and attention dies down. This type of keyword can, however, be an effective way to generate fresh traffic to your site based on the temporary attention being given to a popular or trending topic.
The long-term keyword is also called an evergreen keyword because, like the botanical meaning, the topic is continually fresh and perennial. You may not need to worry about any severe drop-off in search relevancy for a long-term evergreen keyword. If not a landslide source of site visits, you can at least expect consistency from a long-term keyword. Many evergreen keywords reflect content that is more educational or informative, even if its purpose is to promote a product or service.
Product-defining keywords are highly specific. They represent what someone would use to search for a product when they’re ready to make a purchase and they have an idea of what they want. When you’re creating a product-defining keyword, use a long-tail type that clearly defines a specific product or service you offer.
The customer-defining keyword describes the type of site visitor that would be interested in your topic. Basically, this keyword type identifies your targeted or ideal market base. It specifies the site-visitor you hope to attract. Gender, age, occupation and lifestyle can all be part of a customer-defining keyword.
Geo-targeting keywords are similar to customer-defining keywords because they add the attribute of location to your ideal market. This is particularly helpful for small businesses that service or sell to local customers. Some examples of this keyword type would be “automotive repairs in Fresno County, California” or “best Thai restaurant in Chicago.”
LSI keywords are those which are related to your primary keyword and reflect an extension of your main topic. The acronym LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing, which means you are extending a generic topic into thematic phrases related to it. If, for example, your primary keyword is “cinnamon,” your LSI keywords could be cinnamon tea, cinnamon seasonings, recipes with cinnamon or cinnamon fragrances.
The last functional keyword grouping is transactional and based on intent targeting. These keywords reflect the expected answers to a user’s search query. They satisfy the intent of the search. Users may be seeking one of three types of responses when they begin a search. An informational response answers a request for information. A commercial intent represents a more defined search for a specific product or service. Lastly, a transactional intent is the type of search query that does the most good; it’s from people who have already done their homework and compared all the features and benefits. Now they’re ready to make a purchase and are looking for the best price, guarantee or refund policy. This is where you’ll gain the most from keywords that focus on why customers will have a positive, comfortable and satisfying purchase experience.
Meta keywords are used in the section of the web page’s HTML code called the. This section of the code includes the title, the meta description tag and the meta keywords tag. Inserting one or more of your keywords in all three of these tags could help you achieve the aims of boosting your content. Obtaining a high ranking from Google, however, also requires you to focus on the quality and relevancy of your content.
Adding keywords to thesection of a page’s HTML code was once a way that some developers would hide keywords that were not actually visible when the page’s content was viewed. The only way these hidden keywords could be seen would be to view the page’s HTML code, which can be done by the keystroke combination of the Ctrl key + U. Using hidden keywords which do not also appear on the web page is not considered good practice. Mainstream search engines such as Google will now ignore keywords hidden in the HTMLthat do not also appear in the web page’s content. It is, however, considered technically correct to include all of the keywords that are viewable in the page’s content in the HTML. As long as any keywords listed in thesection are also viewable in the content, it won’t appear as though there’s been an attempt to stuff irrelevant hidden keywords into the page’s code.
There are two other sections of the HTMLthat can make use of keyword placement. One area is the meta description, which displays a very brief synopsis of your page’s content in the search engine results. This is limited to a display of about only 160 characters, which includes spaces, so the use of text and one or more keywords here deserves careful consideration. The other section is the title tag, which has an even greater limitation; it only displays about 60 characters and spaces within your page’s title bar.
When you’re creating an online marketing campaign, you’ll be considering how many keywords to use. That depends on how you plan on implementing your campaign. Your SEO campaign can rely on pay-per-click marketing, organic search results or a combination of the two.
If your campaign will be based on pay-per-click ads, you can use as many keywords as you wish. The factors that can play a significant role on the choice and number of keywords are your budget and your target market. Using as many keywords as possible, however, is not the best way to attract potential customers through organic search results. Search engine algorithms determine the results obtained through unpaid organic keyword responses. These results have more to do with how naturally your keywords fit into your content and how relevant they are.
In SEO campaigns designed to attract customers through organic search results, you don’t have to pay for your keyword responses, but your keywords should remain focused on your specific product or service. There’s no real sweet spot, but if you overdo it with keywords, the search engine algorithms may perceive it as keyword stuffing. Google’s recommended keyword density is 1% to 2%. Yahoo recommends 3%.
Focus on conversions; your most hoped-for result in SEO marketing is turning visitors into customers. Adding extra keywords to your page in an organic SEO campaign won’t help guarantee conversions. Your keywords should instead be chosen by how well they represent your product or service, your target market and those qualities that set you apart from