As a new blogger, one of the first topics you must understand is the importance of keywords. Let’s first agree on what is the definition of a keyword including examples. From there, we can clarify the significance of keywords from both a content generation and search engine optimization (SEO) perspective.
For any blog, content is king and keywords have a critical role to play in the crafting of that content. Keywords are also a crucial factor in getting recognized and ranked by Google, Yahoo, and Bing, the major search engines. In other words, a comprehensive grasp of keywords is vital to driving traffic and the success of your online business. So let’s explore this subject further.
What is the Definition of a Keyword?
A keyword is an actual search term that people enter into search engines when seeking information. It may be a single word, but more often it’s actually a phrase. In this digital era, Internet users execute millions of search queries daily. Google has become our “go to” resource for questions on products and pretty much any other imaginable topic. The search engines capture and index all of these queries. The result? Massive databases of keyword search terms.
Let’s say you’re a dog owner. If you’re interested in training your pet, what are some potential queries you might enter into a search box? As a dog owner myself, here’s a list of a few possibilities that immediately occurred to me.
- Dog training
- Dog obedience training
- How to train your dog
- Clicker training for dogs
- How to clicker train your dog
All of these keyword phrases see regular searches in Google and are indicators of topics of keen interest to dog owners.
How Do Bloggers Use Keywords
Successful blogging is all about creating quality and engaging content of interest to a target market, often called a niche market. Continuing with the example above, if my niche is dog owners interested in training methods, keyword research can provide invaluable insights into issues that are uppermost in the minds of my audience. My mission as a blogger is to help by providing answers and addressing concerns. Keywords hone in on the pain points of my target market because they originate with users.
Bloggers identify keywords appropriate to their niche and craft articles around these phases. Ideally, posts are thorough and represent massive value because they contain answers. To be truly useful, blog posts must specifically target items of interest. Over time, bloggers can attract a large following by establishing a reputation as a source of pertinent data.
But how do bloggers with answers connect with readers that have questions?
Keywords and SEO
Google organizes the information published on the web in massive databases that are indexed around keywords. Internet users type search terms into search text boxes. Google searches its databases and instantly returns appropriate websites in the form of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Of course, you want your blog post to appear in the SERPs. So, you must optimize each page and post around a relevant keyword.
Effective SEO involves placing your focus keyword in the following locations within your article:
- the title of your blog post
- within the first 140 characters (which will place it within the meta description, or snippet)
- in the Alt Text description of one of your images, and
- somewhere near the end of your article.
Do Not Use Keyword Stuffing Tactics
Inserting keywords in the locations noted above is sufficient for Google, and other search engines, to determine the nature and purpose of your content. You do not want to use your focus keyword phrase any more than this, or you risk being penalized for keyword stuffing. From there, just write your content naturally. Be as thorough as possible with the intent of providing extraordinary value. Use related keywords and synonyms to expand and describe your subject matter using a conversational approach.
Keyword Research Tools
As one might imagine, there are a large number of keyword research tools available for use by website owners. A quick search in Google will generate an extensive list. I personally have two excellent tools in my blogging toolbox. One is available as a component of my membership in Wealthy Affiliate which is an online community dedicated to providing outstanding training and resources for individuals interested in starting and growing affiliate marketing businesses. Jaaxy, one of the best research tools available today, is the other package I have employed to uncover keyword gems.
Keyword research tools do not only disclose those all-important, nagging questions that your target market is experiencing. They also enlighten you with various statistical data. Statistics include average monthly searches for a particular query and also the existing competition, or number of other websites, already targeting the selected phrase. Obviously, we are hunting for keywords that have recurring monthly traffic (user interest) and a low volume of competing sites. The less competition experienced, the greater our opportunity to stand out!
For additional guidance on keyword research and my tools of choice, see my earlier post, How to Find More Effective Keywords for a Website.
The Long and Short of Keywords
In this introduction to keywords, I’ll throw out one final concept. Please refer to the list of keyword examples above. Keyword phrases that are longer than 3 words, such as “how to clicker train your dog,” are called long tail keywords. This is significant because approximately 70% of all search queries qualify as long tail keywords. Searchers entering these longer and more specific phrases also tend to be much closer to making a purchase decision than individuals typing shorter keywords such as “dog training.” Please refer to one of my earlier posts for a further discussion of the significance of long tail keyword research.
Could You Benefit From Additional Training on Keywords and Related Topics?
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To Sum Up
Many new bloggers initially experience confusion over keywords. I hope that by starting today’s discussion with what is the definition of a keyword, and then building on that definition, I was able to provide clarity.
Please do comment below and ask any additional questions you may still have on this critical aspect of blogging.
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To your success!