What Are Keywords?

lettersAnybody familiar with Search Engine Optimisation understands that keywords are a huge part of this often-confusing topic. However, the proper use of keywords is much simpler than it may seem when you’re just starting out. Keywords aren’t confusing or complex – they’re actually a very easy and quick way to help your web content stand out from the crowd!

Simply put, keywords are words or phrases that best capture the theme of your web content. They are the words and phrases that, when a web user types them into a search engine, you would want your content to be as close to the top of the results page as possible.

As an example, let’s imagine that you run a fashion vlog and blog focusing on affordable attire for everyday fashionistas. Visitors to your site are going to come looking for fashion advice they can actually use – not the latest haute couture from NYC’s Fashion Week. Therefore, words and phrases like ‘haute couture,’ ‘fashion week’ and ‘top designers’ aren’t going to be relevant to your target audience.

Instead, you’ll want to focus on the ideas and principles that your audience cares about. ‘Affordable’ and ‘budget’ will be more likely to draw in viewers who share your sense of budget-friendly fashion.

Avoiding Keyword Overload

You’ve probably noticed, when surfing the web, that some lower-quality sites like to pepper their content with the same phrase extremely often – sometimes to the point of being almost unreadable.

This is a common mistake, and it’s based on an improper understanding of how SEO keywords work. While the right keywords will draw in readers, using them excessively will send those readers running away just as quickly! You don’t need to use the same keyword repeatedly – experts recommend an approximate usage rate of just 2 to 3 per cent. This will ensure that your content is found, while also helping to ensure that visitors will actually stick around!

Smart Capitalization
Although the idea is falling out of favour, one very common and entirely wrong idea regarding SEO keywords has to do with capitalization. You may have come across sites that blast their keywords in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS in order to grab your attention. This has approximately the same effect as yelling in a person’s face to get their attention – they’re more likely to run away than listen to you!

Avoid using all caps whenever possible. Acronyms and company names made up of all capital letters, such as NYC instead of New York City, are fine – just don’t go overboard. Too many capital letters will actually cause the largest search engines to automatically exclude your content from their search results.

Keep it Natural
Another great way to sabotage your web content is to use unnatural-sounding language in order to cram in as many keywords as possible. The biggest sites don’t use a string of unrelated words to get their point across – they use phrasing which sounds natural. Your meta tag should include as many keywords as possible, but never at the expense of sounding organic. It can take some thinking to come up with phrases and sentences that optimise your keywords without sounding false, but it’s well worth the effort.