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The Importance of Keywords in SEO: A Beginner’s Guide

Use the proper keyword & you will get more search engine traffic.

Optimize your website/blog keyword & it would help you rank faster.

How many times have you got such advice when you have started to learn about SEO? Keywords are the first thing that you should know & learn about when start to optimize your blog SEO.  This guide is written for a beginner like you to understand the most fundamental concept of SEO & i.e. Keywords & their importance.

Keyword in SEO

Let’s start with the basics & if you have been blogging for a while,  your 95% of traffic is coming from 5% of your posts. What I meant to say, you will be getting maximum search engine traffic on few hand-picked post of yours. Have you ever questioned why these posts are getting so much traffic? You must have done something right. Is int it?

The reason is, unknowingly some of your post are ranked on the first page for keywords that are highly searched by users globally or in a specific region of the world. The thing that you need to think here is, who is the one ranking your content? By the end of the day, it’s a machine language (Algorithm), which looks for certain signals to rank the content.

When I say ranking of the content, what do I meant by ranking? In this context, it meant ranking for a specific keyword. Let me simplify the example for you.

You can go to SEMRUSH site & type your blog address to see which keyword your blog posts/pages are ranking for. Here is an example from one of my popular blog.

Keyword position in Google

Try to understand the concept from the image. (Even if you don’t understand 100% of it at the first time, don’t worry as this is normal for a beginner).

  • Keyword: This is the Keyword, which is driving traffic to a specific URL of my blog. (We also call it target keyword, or keyword one is trying to rank for).
  • Pos.: Position of the keyword in Google search. Your target should be rank on the first page of the Google for your target keyword.
  • Volume: This is another important aspect as it helps you to understand how many people are searching for a keyword in a month. Try to see this as more human than in technical term. When you go to Google to look for a solution, similarly others look for a similar solution, but they may be using a different term than yours. Google keeps a data of how people are searching & let you see the number of monthly searches for any keyword. This way, you will be able to find the keyword that get more searches than keyword that gets fewer searches. In the above example, you can see two similar keywords have considerable amount of difference in monthly search volume:
  1. Free professional email address: 110 searches/month
  2. Free professional email: 70 searches/month

I will let you know how to target keyword at the later stage, but at this time try to grasp the most fundamental part of SEO.  While we are on it, you also need to understand two more terms:

  1. Short tail Keywords: Short keywords those are 1-3 words. Ex: Make money blogging, Professional email
  2. Long Tail Keywords: More specific keywords that could be three words or longer.Ex: How to make money blogging, How to get professional email

Any words are qualified as a keyword when it has a considerable amount of searches (Search volume) in a month.

Long tail keywords are more profitable as you will drive more targeted traffic & your chances of ranking on the first page are higher. More on this later, for now understanding the all the terms is more important. If you have missed something, it’s ok to go back & re-read the concept of Keywords in SEO.

It’s true that writing quality posts will help you to drive traffic, but have you ever asked yourself why you are still not ranking in Google searches for any keyword, or why your quality posts stop getting traffic after some time has passed?

What is the importance of keywords from the perspective of SEO?

If you have understood the basic concept of Keywords, now let’s dive into a little deeper into it. When we SEO optimize a blog post or a web page, we have the option to define our target keywords. This is most commonly known as Meta_keywords. Back until 2012, it was important to specify Meta_keywords (Keyword you are targeting), but in 2016, it’s not of any use. Search engine has become smarter to auto-detect keywords & rank your pages automatically.

Google has already made it clear that they do not consider meta keywords when selecting keywords, and this makes sense because many bloggers who are new to blogging or article writing add lots of keywords in their posts.

For example, one would write the following meta keywords for this post that you are reading: “keywords tips, SEO, keyword research”, and so on.

Now ask yourself – would anyone who is searching for “keyword tips and tricks” want to see this article first? Personally, I would not like to rank for these keywords, because people will land here and then leave the blog. This will impact my bounce rate, and also my average time on site.

How to start with keyword research:

Keyword research is the process of finding the right keyword in your niche. This step is important if you wish to grow your blog/website in a shorter span of time & make money. There are various ways by which you can find keywords & here I’m outlining few based on my preference.

SEMRUSH:

This is an online tool that let you find great keywords, or you can also put in URL of a website, & it would show all the keywords that website is ranking for. (See the 2nd screenshot of this article, which is taken using SEMRUSH).

A good idea is to start by picking the top blogs in your niche & add it to see which Keyword those sites are ranking for. From here you just need to start building unique & high-quality content around those keywords. This is a paid tool but you can get 15 days free trial, which is worth $150 using this link.

Keyword tools:

  • Keyword planner tool (This is free but not as simple as SEMRUSH)
  • LongTailPro (This is another keyword tool that you can download on your desktop)
  • Ahrefs: This is an alternative to SEMRUSH

How to use Google instant search for quick keyword ideas:

You can also use Google Search to find your target keyword, like this. Google auto suggest search query when you type anything, and it’s a good place to start the primary search. You can create a list of keywords using this technique & use SEMRUSh or Google keyword planner to check the search volume for all the keywords.

Once you have found profitable keywords, your task is to write an SEO optimized article for your target keywords. You can follow this guide to understand targeting keywords on a particular post.

Keyword density and keyword placement

Keyword density is a complex topic. This Wiki article will give you a fair idea of how keyword density is calculated. Depending on the target keywords, (long tail or short tail), you maintain a particular percentage of keyword density. When bots crawl your page, they can determine from the density that which particular keyword page should rank for.

Keyword targeting is important but stay away from keyword “stuffing”, which is the overuse of keywords on a web page, as this will ultimately be harmful to your ranking.

Different SEO ninjas have different ideas about keyword density, but your main keyword should not be more than 2% of the article length.  I try to keep it between 1-1.5%, along with related search terms or that are known as LSI keywords. You can learn about LSI Keywords here & here is a free LSI keyword finder tool.

Do remember, you can target more than one keyword on a blog post or a page. I would suggest don’t keep it more than three as; if your content is of high quality, you will rank for indirect long-term keywords.

What does keyword stuffing do?

Stuffing your articles with keywords is never a good idea. Overuse of keywords alerts Google bots to the fact that you are “spamming” your post by stuffing it with unnecessary keywords. Google penalizes for this action, as spiders are alerted to the fact that you are trying to trick the system by using lots of keywords many times. This can affect your ranking.

So be wise when you select the number of keywords you are using for SEO. Particularly since Google Panda, I highly recommend that you stop taking SEO actions that do not appear to be natural. If you are not sure about your SEO practices, use our free forum to ask a question.

Meta title, meta description and meta keywords:

Now you have searched for a perfect keyword, and you are delivering it into a post or a page. Try also to use that keyword as part of the title of the post.

One additional tip: Try not to use numbers in your permalink, because in the future if you want to extend the article by adding plugins or sites or additional information, your number will no longer make sense.

Adding a relevant meta description will give more insight about your page to search engine bots. I suggest that you use your keyword in your meta title, meta description and meta keyword field along with an H1 tag. Also, try to write more SEO friendly articles by using H1, H2, and H3 tags. However, don’t overuse heading tags, as improper headings and too many H2 or H3 tags can lead to a negative ranking.

Still not convinced?

Here is a post that I wrote as a guest blogger on another blog, using target keywords “Google Panda Penalty“. Read and analyze the post, and you will realize the extent of the on-page optimization I have done to make this post reach the number 1 position in Google. The article is very detailed, and I’m sure it will help you to learn to write better SEO optimized articles.

What next?

Now that you are aware that keywords play an important role in SEO, your first task is to find 5-6 profitable keywords for your next post. You can use the Google Keyword Tool, SEMRUSH  or any other online tool. Write a post on your target keyword, and use any of these Google keywords rank tracker sites and keep track of your keyword positions.

If you find the information useful, please share it with your friends and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

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