Search Engine Optimization Basics: Keywords Still Matter

Carmen Rane HudsonSmall Business SEO


search-engine-optimization-basicsIf you spend a lot of time listening to SEO buzz these days you might wind up getting the impression that keywords no longer matter. Google is certainly working hard to make its search engine harder to manipulate, but this would be a misnomer. Keywords are still very important.

It’s more accurate to say that you don’t need to go crazy with keywords. The days of trying to shove an awkward keyword into every other sentence are long gone.

However, slipping keywords into your title is still a good idea. And if the title of your web page or blog post fulfills its promise, then the keyword (and related keywords) should appear naturally in the text.

Google’s algorithms have evolved enough to understand what’s going on without repeating exact keywords over and over again. Good news for quality content, but in many cases, 80% to 90% of a local business owner’s traffic will come from organic SEO and local SEO–not, say, from social media (however important it may be) or other tricks.

Keyword research is also still important because it gives you a lot of insight into what your customers want to know about. A phrase with a high search volume can tell you exactly what kinds of problems your customers are working to solve.

“Long tail” or “phrase queries” represent direct questions about your field or industry. For example, “outdoor kitchen ideas” (5400 global monthly searches) is a great keyword for someone in the landscaping industry, since it tells you exactly the kind of content that you need to create in order to appeal to their interests and concerns. You’re also far more likely to rank for that keyword than you are for “landscaping.”

Keywords are also pretty vital if you want to engage in PPC Advertising. PPC advertising relies heavily on keywords!

The VHT Blog captured this concept pretty nicely in one of its blog posts.

Think of it this way, if you are a real estate brokerage, and you focus your content and the keywords on your site around how awesome of a a community you have, but never include real estate focused key phrases, you’re not going to be seen as relevant for real estate consumer queries. If I fail to use the phrase “homes for sale” on my site, I’m not going to show up for searches that include that phrase. It’s somewhat of a simple concept.

If the specifics of keyword research are baffling to you, then you are not alone. This is where having the help of an internet marketer can be really crucial. Keep that in mind if your content creation efforts aren’t generating the type of traffic you were hoping to produce.