Keywords are the terms a person types to find information online about any given topic using a search engine like Google, Bing, and others. A keyword can be either a single word or a long sentence, these are called short-tail or long-tail keywords.
We will talk about what keywords are and how to use them to your advantage.
In this previous post you can find a quick explanation of what SEO is, so demanded and used today by thousands of companies and brands that seek to increase or improve their online presence.
The use of keywords is one of the main tools of any SEO strategy and in this post, we will talk about how to use them and why they are so important in the growth of your online visibility.
1. What are keywords for?
Surely you have asked yourself: what are keywords for? This question may have come up any time you have heard of ranking, search results, or, ultimately, SEO.
Anyone who needs to find something online today turns to the easiest and fastest tool out there: a search engine. Perhaps this does not ring any bells, but if I tell you that Google is the most important of them all, that sounds like something you are totally familiar with.
Google is the most popular search engine in the world, it has become one of the most indispensable tools for anyone who uses the internet regularly. To understand what keywords are for, it is essential to understand how it works and how it behaves.
Make a query, search for a definition, a recipe or a news article, anything can be found thanks to Google. Of course, it is not the only one in the world, there are others like Bing, Baidu or DuckDuckGo, but as we say, Google is the most popular of all.
What is special about both Google and the rest? Any query that someone makes with these tools should enter the words that make up that search: “how to change a wheel”, “tiramisu recipe” or “dentist near me” are examples of keywords.
So what are keywords? They are precisely that: the terms we use every time we want to search for something on the internet.
2. How to make the most of our keywords
We saw what keywords are but now we must figure out how to use them to our advantage. To begin with, we must know that every time we perform a search on Google, it gives back a results page with a mixture of ads and unpaid results.
The goal of any online business is to appear among those first results (other than ads), right? Being among those top 10 will ensure greater traffic of visits to our website since it is very unlikely that someone navigates to the second page of results to enter a website.
How to appear on Google’s first results page?
The first thing we need to know is that Google places a website at the top of the list for a number of reasons.
The crawlers of this search engine analyze the billions of websites that exist out there and select those that meet a series of characteristics.
Does the website answer the search someone performs?
How extensive and in-depth is the answer?
Does it provide examples?
It is logical to think that if someone searches for “tiramisu recipe” in Google, the first results should contain those words as well, right?
That is why keywords are so important. They are the tool that will help us to better rank our website in the search results our audience sees.
How to place keywords in our website’s content
We saw what keywords are for and what they can do to get our content to appear on the first page of Google results by including them in our web content.
With this premise, some may think that simply placing those terms throughout our content will be enough to “fool” Google and rank us among the first results.
It doesn’t really work like that.
Introducing our target keywords in our content without any logic or justification not only will not take us to the top of the list but we will have Google itself penalizing us.
It is important to understand that Google does not read and analyze our content as if it were a machine, it does so in the same way and with the same criteria that a human would.
Its crawlers will determine the quality of a website based on characteristics such as readability, ease of navigation, or clarity of concepts.
Texts written in a robotic or forced way will get us nowhere because they will be considered, as you would, poor-quality content.
That’s why Google’s Search Quality Rater values a factor called E-E-A-T to determine if a piece of content qualifies as good or valuable.
Let’s see what that means.
What is EEAT?
E-E-A-T means Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness and it is a popular concept in the SEO industry as it is the list of traits any piece of content must have in order for Google to determine its quality.
It refers to the experience the author brings in a piece and they show evidence and expertise in the subject in question. Quality content needs to show firsthand how you experienced the topic of discussion multiple times, which gives you in-depth knowledge about it.
The amount and quality of the information provided about the topic in question. Does it provide extensive data? Does it seem like research has been conducted? Or simply put, does it look like the information comes from an expert on the topic?
This is the level of trust others have in the source of the content. Do others point to you when referring to the topics you cover? This a feature built on a great online reputation and reliability.
Trustworthiness reveals the level of accuracy or transparency a source provides with its content. Users will typically trust a source that provides information on who writes the content, other sources it uses, and contact information.
3. How to select our keywords
Now that we know what keywords are and the important role they play in our positioning goals, we must find out what are those terms by which our audiences can find us first and not our competitors.
Keyword research tools
Since SEO work is one of the most in-demand today, there are numerous free and paid tools on the market to carry out our keyword research.
Some of the most popular payment tools are Semrush, Ahrefs, or Moz. With them, we have access to a lot of information about various parameters of interest.
Here’s an example of research on the keywords “tiramisu recipe” in the Semrush dashboard:
In this example, we see data such as volume, which indicates the approximate monthly traffic for that term in English; or keyword difficulty, which determines whether a keyword is easy or difficult to rank given its popularity.
It is not the same to aim at a word like “shoes”, which is a very broad term and in high demand than to do it with a long-tail keyword like “second-hand shoes for men.” The latter is probably easier due to its level of detail.
On the other hand, we see data such as global volume or the intent of that search, which tells us what the user expects from that search (information, making a purchase, etc).
Tools like this will give us a vision of how we should focus our strategies when it comes to ranking with certain keywords.
That being said, we could say that the most achievable and realistic goal would be to work with keywords that have low difficulty and interesting traffic volume.
In this example, we see that for the keywords “tiramisu recipe” the level of difficulty is hard and that it has high monthly traffic. This keyword would probably be hard to rank with if our website was dedicated to publishing content related to those terms.
How to use our keywords
We have already carried out the necessary research and we are already clear about what terms we are interested in and achievable for our SEO goals. So how do we use them to make them work?
We saw earlier that one of the most important and logical things in order for us to achieve this goal is that the words that we want must be found in our content.
But we should not do this carelessly, because everything that we publish on the selected topic must be of quality and value to our users. And that happens by creating content that interests and catches the attention. Only then will it attract visits, be shared, or even be mentioned by other related websites.
Knowing how and where to place your keywords is one of the most important SEO techniques. There are spaces or areas of our website, visible and invisible to the user, where these terms must be present.
These spaces are what we know as meta tags.
These are fragments of text that are found at certain sections of our website that are necessary for Google to “understand” what our content is about and whether or not it has to do with the keywords we are working with.
The most important are the title tags, description, and headings (H1, H2, H3, etc):
Title tag: it is found in the description of our website and is normally visible in the title of the Google search result or also in the title that appears in the navigation tab of our website.
Meta description: It appears just below the title in the search result and is usually only visible in that section. When we do not expressly define it, Google takes the fragment that best describes the purpose of that page.
Headings: They are the titles of the different fragments of our content tagged invisibly for users with the categories H1, H2, H3, etc. from most important to least.
These invisible heading tags are added through various tools. The most common is to do it through the web builder, which gives us the option in the text editor; through WordPress itself, if it is the tool we are using, or through HTML code directly.
With this short guide, we saw what keywords are and how we can use them to increase our visibility in search engines like Google.
Use these techniques whenever you want to reach your SEO goals and make your website more visible online and to your potential customers.