Keywords are words and (more often) phrases that people use when conducting searches on Google and other search engines. The foundation of SEO campaigns is keyword selection, so many people ask: Why are keywords important?
The importance of keywords to SEO is huge on several fronts. Let’s take a look.
SEO Keywords and Rankings
Google displays search results in large part based on how relevant a web page is to the search query. Since search queries are by definition keywords, Google naturally looks for web pages that use the same keywords or variations of them.
In short, using keywords in your web content sends a strong signal to Google about relevance. The more often relevant keywords are used in searches, the more often your web page will appear in search results, and the more organic traffic and conversions your website will receive.
Keywords also help boost rankings on Google when used in other ways besides the on-page content of your web pages. Using keywords selectively in anchor text of internal and external links sends a positive ranking signal. Incorporating keywords into meta information on your website — particularly in title tags and meta descriptions — strongly helps Google crawlers understand the fundamental meaning of SEO-targeted pages of your website.
Keywords and Marketing Strategy
Improved organic rankings are the most obvious value of keywords, but there is much more. Keyword research is very helpful in establishing an overall marketing strategy for your business, as well as an SEO campaign strategy.
By understanding the popularity of keywords, you can shape your content around the words people use the most when looking for what you sell. This can make a huge difference in organic traffic and conversions.
For example, if the main product page of your website has been built around keyword A with a volume of 100 searches a month, and you revise the page to be optimized for keyword B with a volume of 2,000 searches a month, you’re likely to see a substantial increase in traffic and conversions over time. Multiply that situation by, say, 20 web pages, and you can see how keyword strategy leads to much-improved lead generation and e-commerce revenue.
Keyword research also assists marketing strategy in the opposite way. Sometimes, companies go too far in the other direction by optimizing for keywords that are too popular, that are dominated by giant corporations with six-figure SEO budgets. If that’s the case, you may be priced out of the market for high rankings and would be better off choosing long-tail keywords — that is, longer, more specific keywords with a high probability of conversion.
Many companies have done extremely well by shifting from a campaign built around, say, 20 highly popular keywords to one built around 200 long-tail terms.
In both situations — moving to more popular keywords or to less popular keywords — the effort does not stop with keyword use in your website content. These keywords can (and usually should) be woven into the fabric of your sales collateral and other marketing programs. Doing this helps ensure that your messaging is as consistent as popular and zeroes in on the market that keyword research has shown to be the most promising.
Keywords and Conversions
Finally, one of the great myths of SEO is that the use of keywords creates spammy website content that turns off visitors.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The reality is that by using relevant keywords, your website content uses the same language of users when they are looking for your products and services. In fact, keyword research often provides great insight to marketers by revealing that users describe products, services and applications with certain terms that do not appear in the website content at all. By shifting to the language of the customer, companies create content that resonates with them, making the content easier for them to understand and giving them confidence to inquire further or place an online order.
To explore keyword research in your business and talk about a new SEO campaign, contact us now or call 855-883-0011.