Marketing

Why Are Keywords Still So Very Important for SEO?

Team Pepper
Team Pepper
Posted on 24/12/2115 min read
Why Are Keywords Still So Very Important for SEO?

Table of Contents

  • What Are Keywords?
  • Where to Incorporate Keywords In Your Website?
  • Types Of Keywords
  • Importance of Keywords in SEO
  • What Not To Do With Keywords?
  • How To Do Keyword Research?
  • Key Takeaways
  • Conclusion
  • FAQs

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is an indispensable part of your digital marketing strategy. SEO is a set of practices that improves the ranking of your website in search results, thus driving more traffic to your site. The most crucial importance of keywords in SEO is to help boost your ranking. By posting high-quality content on your website, your company will naturally attract users.

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Most people, quite rightly, associate SEO with incorporating keywords in the content piece. Even though this notion is not completely correct, SEO keyword importance cannot be neglected. Keywords are the most basic and foundational aspect of your SEO strategy. In this article, we are going to go through everything you need to know about why are keywords important in SEO and the importance of keywords in determining your search engine rankings. 

What are Keywords?

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A keyword can be a single word or a phrase that defines what the content is about. Keywords can be used in various contexts. We are here concerned about keywords in SEO.

So, what are keywords in SEO?

Keywords are the words or phrases that inform the user what the website content is about. It is used to search something and keywords represent search queries. Your aim as a website owner would be to use keywords that are relevant to what people are searching for. The importance of keywords in SEO lies in increasing their chance of finding your content among the top search results.

If you are still wondering, why are keywords important, let us tell u that the right keywords used after proper research can act as a channel connecting your website with your target audience. It also helps communicate to the search engines what a web page is about. However, stuffing your content with keywords alone won’t help since the search engine algorithms have become smart enough to see through it. Quality and quantity, both should go hand-in-hand in case of using keywords.

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Here are some tips to help you through your keyword selection:

  • Start with understanding your target audience: Don’t jump directly to keywords but first try and understand who your target audience is, what they are searching for and what they expect from you. Only then can you come up with keywords connecting you to your audience.
  • Start building a list: Based on the information about your customers, their search queries, and your own business, prepare an initial list of words or phrases which effectively define your products and services.
  • Assess the current keyword data: Using the keyword ranking tools like SEMrush, Google Search Console, and such, assess the impact of current keywords on driving traffic to your site.
  • Expand the list: Once you have prepared an initial list, you can expand that by forming new keyword groups, using synonyms and other permutations and combinations. There are also many SEO keyword tools available like KeywordTool.io, Infinite Suggest, Keywords Everywhere, etc.
  • Group keywords by search intent: The importance of keywords lies in their ability to help a user find your content. Form keyword phrases in a way that is simple and easy to understand and makes sense to anyone looking for something similar. The goal is to find keywords that would be relevant for a large number of users having the same question.
  • Link keywords to content: It is very important that your keyword should appear organically in your content and should not look to be forcefully placed. Only such relevant keywords can enhance the value of your page.

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Where to Incorporate Keywords in Your Website?

You can incorporate keywords either into the existing content or create new content targeting those keywords. You can optimize the SEO keyword importance by placing them in strategic locations.

In page titles

While searching for any information, the first thing that users read is the page title, when it shows up in search results. If the keyword they’re looking for appears in the page title, it immediately catches their attention and drives them to your site. Not only the users, but the search engines also pay attention to such page titles and show them higher up in the searches. Thus, use keywords in the page titles for a higher ranking.

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In meta descriptions

A clear and concise meta description tells users more about an article and encourages them to visit your website. A higher click-through rate leads to a higher Google ranking. The importance of keywords in SEO is enhanced with a well-written meta description that can be your pitch to attract users to visit your page. Tell them why they should visit your site and include keywords to do so.

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In URLs

URLs are highly visible and describe what the page is about. Try to keep the URLs short and use keywords in it to inform Google that your website contains the information people are searching for.

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In content

Your content is the major attraction of your page. Relevant, interesting, and unique content will keep users hooked to your page. Why are keywords important? They would help a user find your interesting content. But first, you will need to optimize the importance of keywords in SEO and ensure that your page is shown in the top searches. Keep in mind that the keyword flows naturally with the content and you need to place it among the first 100 words.

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Using keywords in the anchor text of links directing to your webpage shows Google what your page is about.

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In image and video file names

Instead of using the name given to image or video files by default, give it a name yourself, incorporating some relevant keywords. Placing keywords in images and video names and URLs enhances the SEO keyword importance and increase your chances of ranking on search engines, as more people are likely to be exposed to your content. 

Types of Keywords

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Different types of keywords should be used to target customers at different stages of the funnel. This way, SEO keyword importance would be utilized best. A brand can reach a wider set of audiences and increase the sale conversion rate.

The most common and popular types of keywords are listed below:

Short-tail keywords

Short-tail keywords are those which are made up of three words or less. They are also known as the head, broad, or generic keywords. Such keywords are used by users when they are at the very first step of looking for information. Thus, their search volume is huge.

It becomes difficult to know the clear search intent for short-tail keywords so they don’t convert well. It is better to use it as a theme keyword consistently throughout your webpage along with other types of keywords. SEO keyword importance lies in helping users find your content. These keywords aid the primary keywords in serving their purpose. 

Long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are much more specific than short-tail ones and are more than three words in length. Due to their specific nature, these keywords are very important for SEO. The search intent for such keywords can be easily understood, for example, best bakery with free delivery. When the search intent is known, it is easy to provide the information required to the user, which makes your site relevant and improves your search rankings. 

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The conversion rate is also high for long-tail keywords because when people are searching for something with long and detailed keywords, they are more likely to make a purchase when presented with the right product.

Short-term fresh keywords

Fresh keywords usually originate from something that has been hyped or gone viral recently. For example, when the FRIENDS reunion came, the search volume peaked around that time and dropped thereafter. Thus, you can benefit from the high search volume of a fresh keyword to attract more organic views. But remember that this is only for the short term.

Short-term fresh keywords are the best way to attract new audiences with the latest news.

Long-term evergreen keywords

Evergreen keywords are relevant and significant all the time. The search volume for these words may go up and down but will never fade away, making them the best SEO keywords to use. You can be certain that the moment you publish an article focusing on an evergreen keyword, the users will be searching for it. It is very important to utilize the power of long-term evergreen keywords to rank your content. 

Most often, content having evergreen keywords is educational and informative in nature. Just try and keep the content updated to maintain its usefulness for the readers. In fact, a well-written informational piece can enhance the authority of your website, which improves search rankings.

For example, search engine optimization is an evergreen keyword having a consistent search volume.

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Product-defining keywords

Such keywords describe the product. When users are searching for a product, they are at the initial stages of purchasing and know very little about the product. In order to convince them to go for your product, use a product-defining keyword that is as detailed as possible. Highlight the features of the product. Pick keywords from the product description and add them to your product name. The right keywords, which are more often used by searchers to find a particular product, can lead to a high conversion rate. Example: Polarized puma sunglasses

Customer-defining keywords

Every business has a target audience. You should be aware of their demographic features. Target the different demographics using different keywords. A one-size-fits-all approach does not work in marketing. To fully utilize the importance of keywords in SEO, use customer testimonials to find out what features users are looking for. From this information, you can come up with keywords that can make the customers feel as if the product is tailor-made for them.

Geo-targeting keywords

You can even target by location. A specific city, state, or country can be targeted using a geo-targeting keyword. This is mainly useful for local and delivery-based businesses that cater to local customers. Use your location or the area that you serve as the geo-targeting keyword in your content. This can make a huge difference in your sales. Example: Bakeries in West Delhi.

LSI keywords

Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI keywords are theme-based keywords. They are words and phrases similar to the main keyword. So, to get an LSI keyword, you should know the main keyword first. For example, if the main keyword is aloe vera, its LSI keywords could be aloe vera uses, aloe vera drinks, aloe vera gel, etc.

Many people confuse LSI keywords for synonyms of the target keywords. But that is not the case. They are closely related to the main keyword. SEO keywords would show the best results when you combine LSI keywords with the main keywords. 

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Such keywords target various topics related to a broad theme. This way your content will show up as a result of many keywords that users search for.

Branded keywords

Such keywords include brand names. They target the search queries which contain official brand names, taglines, campaign names, or anything related to a particular brand.

Primary and secondary keywords

Primary keywords also referred to as focus keywords, are the most important keywords to describe the content on your site. The importance of keywords in SEO lies in helping your content rank on search engines. A primary keyword is directly related to the subject matter. 

Secondary or supporting keywords are all the other keywords that are not of high priority. They are there to support the primary keywords and derive the most out of that targeting.

Phase-based keywords

Phase-based or step or stage-based keywords are based on the stage of the customer journey or marketing funnel. You can target customers at each critical point in their purchase journey. Such keywords can be used for brand awareness, conversion, or customer retention.

Importance of Keywords in SEO

A few years back, keywords were the only means of conveying to the search engines what your website covered. So, the more often the keyword appeared in your content, the more relevant it seemed. This led to the malpractice of keyword stuffing to trick the search engines about the relevance of your page. It ultimately ended up showing low-quality and irrelevant websites as top searches to users.

Search engines realized this soon enough and updated their algorithms to crack down on irrelevant keyword usage. The updated and smarter algorithms can now easily differentiate high-quality content from poor-quality content. Keywords still play a significant role in SEO but they are now looked at as a part of a larger picture by the search engines to understand the content of the webpage. Thus, proper research should go into using keywords that have an organic connection with the content and could actually make a difference to the search rankings.

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There are a number of reasons for the importance of keywords in SEO. The major ones are listed below:

  • Keywords are like clues. They tell what the customers want. This allows the company to better meet the customers’ needs. Thus, keywords identify and speak the language of the customers.
  • Most importantly, keywords are an important parameter to improve the search engine rankings by assisting Google to understand what your content is about.
  • It communicates to Google that your website is a perfect match for a user’s search query.
  • It helps to show up content before the right people at the right time.
  • It drives more qualified and organic traffic to relevant websites.
  •  Keywords also increase users’ time on a website by driving more people to it.
  •  It also increases conversion rate and your revenue by helping customers to find you before your competitors.
  • Keywords can offer a bullseye view of the market which helps the marketers to direct their content to the target audience.

Keywords can, thus, optimize the web pages to match a user’s search intent and answer their search queries. In fact, most page titles on Google’s first page contain keywords that are an exact or partial match of a user’s search query.

Keywords are customer-oriented since you have to describe your product in a way people ask for. Before optimizing the importance of keywords in SEO, you have to know the language your target audience uses and the type of content they look for. This can be done by interviewing your customers, conducting market surveys, engaging on social media, and using tools available for keyword research.

What Not To Do With Keywords

Don’t do keyword stuffing

As mentioned before, keywords are important for visibility. However, over-optimization can prove to be counter-productive. Search engines, now, can easily recognize sites that provide poor-quality and irrelevant content and are just tricking them and the customers. Overdoing it will only hurt the user experience. So, don’t try to be smart because the search engines are smarter. No doubt, you should incorporate as many keywords as possible, but only the ones which are actually useful.

Don’t optimize one page but take all the pages on the website into consideration

Unless your website has only one page, it should be taken as a whole and each page should be interconnected to the other. This will maintain a seamless flow of information and it will be easy for users to navigate your site. Thus, avoid any gaps or information asymmetry and don’t work on each page in a silo.

Don’t target those keywords that do not describe your web page’s content or are off-topic.

It is a no-brainer that your content should not have keywords unrelated to your subject matter. You could bring in shampoos and oils if you are writing about hair care, but you cannot talk about electric switches! The importance of keywords lies in helping search engines show relevant content to the target audience. If your content has irrelevant keywords, it won’t show up for the right searches. And, no customer would be happy to see an unrelated page while searching. 

Don’t just use keywords anywhere in the content. 

It should not appear forced. Keywords should be incorporated to maintain the natural flow of the content. If the SEO keyword importance hampers the readability of the content, there is no point. Keywords must be related to the subject matter and should make sense. Conduct a thorough keyword search before beginning the writing process. 

How To Do Keyword Research?

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As we already know, a company can optimize the importance of keywords in SEO when the right keywords are used in the right manner. Keyword research is, thus, required to create content that satisfies both the users and the search engines. So, what is keyword research?

SEO keyword search mainly entails getting a better understanding of the market and how your target audience is searching for your products or services. It should provide data that can answer the following questions:

  • What are your customers searching for?
  • How many people are searching for it?
  • In what format do they require the information?

Follow the tips given below and get started with keyword research:

Ask questions

The first stage is the planning stage. If you want to grow your business with the help of SEO, you should have an obvious idea about who you are, what are your business goals and who is your target audience. Focusing on customer insights and using keywords to align with them will help your company optimize using keywords to boost SEO. They are better than throwing around arbitrary keywords. Frankie & Jo’ is a Seattle-based vegan, gluten-free ice cream shop. When they started with SEO to improve their search rankings, they might have asked questions like:

  1. What types of ice cream are people searching for?
  2. What is their search intent? Are they looking for healthy options or just to satisfy their craving for ice cream?
  3. How are they searching for it? What words or questions do they ask?
  4. Where are these customers located?

Knowing the answers to these questions will give a head start to your keyword research.

Find out the terms people are searching for

The way people search for your product or service can be very different from the way you describe your products. You need to know the users’ search terms to optimize the SEO keyword importance. 

You might have some keywords in your mind related to the topic. Such keywords can act as seed keywords and is a great place to start from. Enter those keywords in a keyword research tool to determine similar keywords and their average search volume. This tool can help you to discover variations of your keywords and common questions related to your content which are most popular among users.

The search volume of each keyword differs from the other. Don’t just focus on keywords with a higher search volume as they are very competitive. Both high and low competition keywords must be incorporated strategically in your content.

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Determine the frequency of search for the keywords

The higher the search volume for a specific keyword, the greater is the competition and effort required to achieve higher rankings. This is because most often the first-page search results are taken up by the well-established big brands for high-volume keywords. So, if you are a smaller brand and targeting the same keywords, improving your rank can take some time. However, if you keep optimizing SEO keywords in your content, you will see results. 

The best strategy could be to target very specifically, lower competition keywords. These are mostly the long-tail keywords. These less popular keywords with lower search volume are likely to convert better since most users searching these keywords are specific and more likely to make a purchase. For example, a person looking for “Shoes” is probably just browsing, but a person looking for “Black size 5 women sport shoes” is likely to make a purchase.

Analyze the factors affecting searches

Once you have discovered the keywords to target and their corresponding search volumes, you can assess how searches differ by location or season. You should be aware of the keywords your competitors are targeting.

You can start by targeting high search volume keywords that your competitors are not ranking for. This way you can benefit from your competitors’ missed opportunities. If you are confident enough, you can even target the keywords that your competitors are already performing well for and give them tough competition.

There are seasonal trends for certain products and services. Knowing about such trends can give you an advantage over which keywords to target. For example, if you know that festival shopping spikes in October and November in India, you can prepare content with target keywords for that period of time.

Similarly, you can target a specific location by narrowing down your keyword search to a specific city, state, or country. This can be done in the Google Keyword Planner.

This is important because people from different regions might use different terms or phrases to describe the same product.

Determine the format that best suits the searcher’s intent

The user’s search query can have different intent. Google displays the search results depending on that intent. To optimize the SEO keyword importance, you should understand how users want information for a particular keyword.

There can be many ways to search for information, but the five common search intents are as follows:

  1. Informational queries: The user needs information such as the author of a book or the president of a country.
  2. Navigational queries: The searcher wants to access a specific page on the internet such as the homepage of a company.
  3. Transactional queries: The searcher wants to make a purchase such as buying a mobile phone online.
  4. Commercial investigation: The user wants to compare products and find the best one.
  5. Local queries: The user wants to find something nearby, such as a post office, school, etc.

Key Takeaways

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) includes a broader set of techniques to optimize a website for greater visibility in search engines. The importance of keywords in SEO lies in helping your content rank on search engines. 
  • Keywords in SEO are words or phrases which give an idea about the content on your website. Keywords are mainly related to the search queries of people that they use to look for information in a search engine.
  • Using keywords in areas like page titles, meta description, URLs, internal links, image, and video file names and the main body of the content creates a maximum effect and targets your content to searchers. SEO keyword importance lies in helping consumers find your content. 
  • There are many different types of keywords in SEO that can be used to target audiences with different search intents. The most common types of keywords are short-tail keyword, long-tail keyword, short-term fresh keyword, long-term evergreen keyword, product defining keyword, customer defining keyword, geo-targeting keyword, LSI keyword, branded keyword, primary and secondary keyword, and phase-based keyword.
  • The importance of keywords lies in acting as a bridge between what users are searching for and the content websites are providing to fulfill that search. Other than improving the search engine rankings which then drive organic traffic to your website, keywords are also a means for Google and the users to get an idea of the content available on your webpage.
  • When using keywords, always keep certain things in mind. Never go for keyword stuffing and don’t use off-topic keywords. Optimize the multiple pages of a website as a whole rather than considering each page alone. Most importantly, the keyword should be placed naturally and subtly in the content.
  • Keyword research is a tedious process that starts by understanding the target audience and what they are searching for. You should be aware of the language and format people are using for their search queries. The seasonal trends, location, and your competitors also affect the keywords to be targeted.

Conclusion

Some of you must have heard this a few times over, “Keywords are dead.” But this assertion is far from true because, if anything, keywords have only increased in importance in SEO. Earlier it was only about the keyword density, which led to irrelevant and arbitrary keyword stuffing.

Now, what has changed is quality has taken precedence over quantity. The relevance of keywords has become far more important a factor for ranking than keyword density. Search engines are now better equipped to understand the user’s search intent and present before them only those web pages that match the intent. So, one can say that keywords have, in fact, become even more important. 

FAQs

1.  What are keywords?

Keywords are the words or phrases that give an idea of your content are the words that people search in search engines. If the search query matches the keywords in a webpage, Google shows the page in search results. The goal is to use keywords in your content that are relevant to what people are searching for. The impotence of keywords in SEO lies in making your content rank on search engines.

2. How many keywords should be used?

This depends on the length of your content and the number of pages on your website. Each page should have the primary keyword and subtly use other related keywords not to appear forced. Start with 5-10 keywords initially. Don’t over-optimize.

3. What are the features of a good SEO keyword?

High relevance, significant search volume, moderate competition, and a strong conversion rate are features of a good SEO keyword. The importance of SEO keywords lies in helping the search engines find your content and display it to the audience looking for it. Hence, you must always conduct keyword research and zone in on your target audience’s needs while picking keywords.

4. Are keywords still important for SEO?

Yes, they are still an essential part of SEO. They can still affect the way search engines rank your websites. The only difference from before is that now relevance and quality of keywords matter a lot more than keyword density. SEO keyword importance lies in displaying the most relevant content to your audience. So, avoid keyword stuffing at all costs.

5. What are long-tail keywords?

Long-tail keywords are very useful for page optimization. They are more than three words in length and are more detailed and specific. This is why such keywords have more chances of matching users’ search intent. Long-tail keywords have a moderate search volume and higher conversion rate, making them very important for ranking on search engines.

6. How can keywords be improved?

To optimize the SEO keyword importance and utilize them to the fullest, firstly, make use of relevant keywords after conducting proper research. Secondly, see what your competitors, who rank better than you, are targeting and their keywords search volume. There are tools available for this. You can improve your content based on it.

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