How relevant are the right keywords when it comes to SEO? Is it still one of the main ways that Google understands websites?
I often get asked how necessary keywords remain for SEO. As SEO becomes more competitive and complex, it is important to understand how to understand the right kinds of keywords for your website.
In this article, we will discuss keywords in detail and how necessary your keyword research is for your online marketing strategy.
What are keywords in SEO?
- What are keywords in SEO?
- What type of keywords are important for SEO?
- How many keywords should be used for SEO?
- How does Google understand keywords?
- Are meta keywords still important?
- How to find keywords for your online business?
- Do keywords still matter for SEO?
Keywords in SEO cover a range of terms relating to the words or phrases that search engines use to understand the content that makes up a web page.
Generally, the term keywords refer to what users are searching in order to answer a particular query. Understanding this can help online businesses find opportunities to craft their content to tailor what it is that the user is searching for.
Most of these keywords are discovered during the keyword research process that involves discovering keyword opportunities for things like service pages, blog content and landing pages.
What is an example of a keyword?
Keywords are essentially what users input to Google in order to find a query. If you were to search for example “seo expert london”, this would be the keyword that you look to rank your page for and the results are what shows as a result of the SEO work carried out.
What type of keywords are important for SEO?
There are a number of different keyword types in SEO and understanding the importance of the different types of phrases and their intent is essential to building your content in the right way to understand a particular query.
Informational keywords relate to a user looking for information on a particular topic. This usually falls under blog content that websites can use to offer useful information and build relevance around their services. Informational blogs are great for showing expertise and providing customers with real value.
Searchers looking to investigate brands or services. This is a keyword type that users would use when. looking for a specific brand or a service specific to a certain brand. An example of this would be someone searching for “ClickSlice” if someone was interested in SEO and wanted to find out more about a brand that they could potentially work with.
Transactional keywords relate to a user intending to complete an action or purchase. These kinds of keywords are often paired with a service or landing page built around a specific product(s). An example of a transactional keyword would be “buy bikes online”. This is clearly someone looking to make a purchase.
How many keywords should be used for SEO?
With regards to how many keywords you should look to use as part of your SEO strategy, it really comes down to how big your website is and what it is you are looking to achieve.
Your main service pages should really target 3 to 4 main keywords that you know can lead directly to sales, with your blog content allowing you to target more long tail and transactional phrases.
Blog content is a great way to target multiple phrases and by creating long-form guides and answering related queries on a topic, you can really start to bring in a lot of traffic from a variety of keywords.
How does Google understand keywords?
Google’s ultimate goal is to make your search as efficient and quick for users, which means they invest tons of time into developing ways to understand keywords and content.
It was far easier to rank for different keywords back when Google’s way of understanding content was less advanced. However, now it has a far deeper understanding of keywords and uses a number of sources to understand the relationship between certain keywords.
One key system was BERT, a model that could understand the text coming after the content words and before those words. This way, the system has the full context of a sentence to make proper sense of its meaning.
Google MUM was recently announced by Google as a far more advanced way in which Google understands web content. It is these advances in technology that is enriching search results and making it far more difficult for poorly designed websites to rank.
Are meta keywords still important?
Meta keywords were once used as a way to tell Google what a specific page was talking about within the HTML of a website. I often get asked how relevant meta keywords are for SEO and according to Google Developers, meta keywords are something that is not regarded when it comes to web search.
It is an area of SEO that website owners could stuff often-irrelevant keywords without typical visitors ever seeing those words. Because of this, many years ago Google began disregarding the keyword metatags and only considers relevance in ranking pages today.
How to find keywords for your online business
In order to find the best keywords for SEO and for your online business, there are many ways in which you can carry out research and planning in order to give your online business the best chance to rank for the kinds of keywords you wish to target.
You can look at what your competitors are doing by searching for the keywords you are looking to target. If a competitor is ranking for a phrase you wish to target, you can emulate their strategy by looking at what they are doing with regards to their supporting content, their on-page strategy and using keyword research tools to see the kinds of backlinks they have built to their ranking pages.
Keyword research tools
Using a keyword research tool like Ahrefs and Semrush will allow you to look at the search engine rankings for the keywords you are trying to target. This will allow you to find specific keyword phrase ideas and will give you opportunities with creating content and pages to outperform these competitors.
Using PPC data and search queries
If you are running Google Ads and paid advertising, you can use “search queries” to see live keywords that users are using to find your ads. This is a very accurate way of carrying out keyword research as you can see exactly how many impressions and clicks a search term is getting which can give you can idea of how well a phrase clicks through to your site and converts.
Google Analytics / Google Search Console
Google SEO tools like Analytics and Search Console can be a great way to find keyword ideas. This again will provide real data and help you understand the search intent behind phrases.
Do keywords still matter for SEO?
When I get asked whether keywords matter, I definitely think they do and are still one of the most powerful ranking signals in Google.
Your keyword research provides the foundation of your SEO strategy and enhances user satisfaction with the design of your website. Knowing the different types of keywords and how to group them will enable you to create a site structure that your users understand.
You will only be able to rank for keywords if your content is actually good, readable and engages your users. These remain very strong signals and tell Google how well optimised your pages are around those specific phrases.
Getting your keyword research right will help you on your way to ranking for the keywords that matter to your online success.