What Is A Keyword & Why Is It Important To Your Site?
- There is no definitive rulebook for what works when using keywords to get a site ranking
- But just because you think a keyword is important doesn’t necessarily make it true
- Best practice currently maintains that keywords should be used in three main ways
A keyword is a term that you’ll see on most modern CMS (content management systems, e.g. WordPress) and hear when speaking to digital marketers. Simply put, a keyword is a phrase or word that is uniquely important to your site and therefore essential for SEO.
There are numerous methods for implementing keywords in your site and marketing strategy. Some are considered best practice, while others will be considered spam. Google, or any other search engine, is the authority that determines whether your site and a certain keyword match up. If they do,you’ll rank well in search engine results pages (SERPs) for that keyword.
But with the somewhat secretive evolution of algorithms, there is no definitive rulebook for what works when using keywords to get a site ranking. However, through practice, experimentation and shared knowledge, many SEO (search engine optimisation) and digital marketing professionals can make informed decisions to benefit their clients.
Why are keywords important?
Keywords are important because they give your digital marketing strategy focus, and they offer a way to see visible results from campaigns. Having a set list of keywords helps you to track your site’s rise in search.
Take for example a cake making business in London. They have a website but mainly receive calls for orders. In order to reach a larger audience, they need to ensure they have a better online presence, i.e. be found in Google searches.
Keyword research helps digital marketers and brands figure out what people are searching for and where sites are ranking already. For our London cake maker, this could include terms such as: bespoke cakes, cake maker, london bakery, london cakes, etc. There are infinite variations to think of.
But just because you think a keyword is important doesn’t necessarily make it true. Consider the following possibilities:
the keyword’s SERPs looks different to what is expected – such as ‘London Bakery’ turning up established bakery chains, not cake makers.
Or the keyword has low search volume, meaning not many people search for that term. Ranking for this word won’t bring much traffic. They aren’t useless but are clearly less important for boosting online visibility.
Good SEO marketing is about helping Google, not tricking it
Good digital marketers practice SEO by helping search engines, not tricking them.
Quick-fix marketers have been trying for years to get ahead of search engines like Google and their updates to help sites rank fast using spammy tactics (this is commonly known to industry professionals as Black Hat SEO).
Once upon a time there was a spam tactic that involved hiding hundreds of keywords into the background of a website. The user wouldn’t be able to see it but Google crawlers (who read the code of a site) would. Back when this technique actually had a positive impact on rankings, Google would have been tricked into thinking that number of uses of the keyword meant a more reliable site.
This is certainly not the case now as search engines have become far more advanced in their algorithms. They are now so developed that when manipulative tactics, such as the one previously mentioned, are used sites will be penalised and could even be blocked from search engine results pages (SERPs)
Best practice currently maintains that keywords should be used in three main ways: in title tags, meta descriptions and in original content on the site. By using the same keywords in each, the repetition reinforces a common theme for the site. This helps search engines to understand what the site is about, and crucially, helps a site to rank well in SERPs.
If I use keywords, will my site always rank for them?
The simple answer is no.
If you are producing great content and targeting achievable words (specific enough to be attainable but high volume enough to be worth targeting), your site should rise up the rankings.
Most importantly, by avoiding spammy tactics you will avoid being penalised when search engine algorithms are updated in the future.
For more information on how Go Up’s digital marketing team can help you, contact us on:
020 7871 7662 or firstname.lastname@example.org