Basics of SEO: What is a Keyword and How Do You Use It?

When searching for information about keywords related to SEO, the first thing that shows up is keyword research. It makes sense because keyword research is crucial to ranking your pages. But before you get caught up on the technical stuff, it’s worth understanding the basic principles of keywords in general.

A keyword is one of the basic fundamentals of SEO. It’s what enables your website to be discoverable via search engines and ensures you’re reaching the right audience. In this article, we’ll be discussing what keywords are all about and how you can use it to acquire more organic traffic.


What is a keyword?

A keyword (also known as focus keyword) is a word that best describes the content on your page/post. In SEO terms, they’re the words or phrases that people type into search engines relevant to your content. As a content creator and website owner, optimising the use of keywords can help you rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs) and make it easier for searchers to discover your content.

Say for example you basketball shoes on your website. You blog about what to look for when buying basketball shoes and you’ve created a product category page about them. These are the questions you need to ask:

  • Which words do you think people will use on search engines to find your website?
  • What would the search term be?
  • What kind of search term do you want to be discovered?

The answers are probably basketball shoes. It’s this keyword that best encompasses the content of your website and what you’re trying to sell. A lot of times, keywords consists of multiple words so you can think of them as more of a phrase.

The importance of keywords

One of the things that Google looks for when ranking pages is the content, wherein all of the words are accounted for. For instance, if every word on your blog post about a basketball shoe is used twice, then all of the words will be of equal importance. Google won’t have an idea about which words are important and which ones aren’t. The words you use serve as clues for Google, telling them and other search engines what your blog post is all about. If you want Google to understand the content in your page, then you have to use the right keywords.

The importance of keywords go beyond Google. In fact, keywords are just as important as your site visitors since they can turn into potential clients. With keywords, you’re able to land people onto your website and provide a solution to what they’re searching for. When the right keywords are used, you can expect your sales to rise, your site visitors to increase, and your business to thrive.

How to use keywords in pages and blog posts

Back in the day, you could stuff as much keywords as you want in a page or blog post and you’d rank well in search engines. But Google’s algorithms have changed over the years and keyword stuffing won’t help you get higher rankings. Also, a blog post that uses the same keywords over and over is just too unpleasant to read, which can bog down the entire user experience for your site visitors.

So, how do you actually use keywords in your pages and blog posts? The first thing you should do is make your content easy to read. Readability plays a factor in SEO and it affects your rankings more than you think. Make sure the keywords fit appropriately within the sentence and don’t just add it in there if it doesn’t make sense.

Keyword density is also something you should pay attention to. In general, your use of keywords must not exceed 1-2% of all your copy as using more keywords doesn’t necessarily translate to higher rankings. Consider distributing your keywords from the first paragraph until the last and don’t jam it all together in one part of your blog post. For example, you can use your keyword in a subheading or a couple of subheadings (depending on how long your page or post is).

Doing keyword research

One thing you should know about using keywords for SEO is doing keyword research. Keyword research is the process where you find the right keywords to include in your page or blog post. This helps you come up with a content strategy that works best around the keywords your audience is searching for.

Doing keyword research is as simple as brainstorming the terms your target audience might be searching. From there, you can find related terms by using Google and going down the bottom of the page to see what else they’re looking for. Keyword research is an integral part of your SEO strategy and without it, you’ll be having difficulties using the right keywords to include in your page or blog post.

A lot goes into using keywords for SEO and it takes tons of research and practice to get it right. Remember that keywords have the ability to drive the right audience to your website (and potentially boost sales) so it’s worth taking the time to use keywords correctly. This introduction to keywords will help you get a good idea of how it can influence your website and deliver organic traffic.

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