Keywords: their importance in SEO today

In digital marketing, keywords are terms and phrases people use to search for something on the internet, whether it be information, products, services or more. Anytime you jump on Google (or any search engine) to find something, the phrase you’re searching is a keyword.Let’s take a closer look at keywords and their importance, identifying the right keywords for your brand and where to use those keywords.

Keywords make up a big part of everyone’s day to day; if you’re searching for something online, you’re probably using keywords. In digital marketing, keywords are terms and phrases people use to search for something on the internet, whether it be information, products, services or more. Anytime you jump on Google (or any search engine) to find something, the phrase you’re searching is a keyword.

Having played an important role in SEO for years already the role of keywords remains unchanged, despite the evolution of search results. Why are keywords important for SEO? They feed into a website’s entire strategy. Understanding how people are seeking out your content is key to getting it in front of them in the search results. 

Let’s take a closer look at keywords and their importance, identifying the right keywords for your brand and where to use those keywords.

Keywords feed into your research, your competitor analysis and your on-page optimisations. To better understand how, let’s dig a little deeper into each of these key areas. 

Keyword research is one of the first steps in any SEO strategy, or even PPC strategy. When you perform keyword research, you are building a greater understanding of the audience you are targeting and what search terms they are using in order to find the content they seek.

Keyword research also helps you to understand your own business and content better, arming you with the knowledge of what keywords you should be looking to incorporate into your content to attract your target audience. It also gives an insight into how your website is currently performing; are you ranking for the keywords your audience is searching? Is the content that ranks for these pages getting the right engagement? Knowing these answers helps guide the next steps for your content.

No matter which industry or niche your business operates in, it’s vital that you gain some insights into your competitors. After all, these websites are all vying for the largest piece of the search engine pie; it’s them you’re up against to get your fair share.

Tools such as AHRefs and SEMRush can also help with competitor research; input your competitor’s domain into either tool and you’ll gain access to their current rankings. However, if you’re in need of a more budget friendly approach, then play around with the search results yourself.

One way you can determine who your competitors are for organic search is to enter the keywords your brand wants to target and see who crops up in the top positions. Sites that show up across multiple keywords are ones to keep an eye on. Once you have a better understanding of the search landscape and of who the competition is, you can start to delve deeper into their websites to get an idea of the content they’re producing that’s earning them a top position in the search results.

When it comes to SEO optimisations, why are keywords important?

We know that consumers use keyword phrases to find the content or information they’re looking for, so whether you wish to optimise existing content on your site or you’re creating new content, referencing your keywords on the page will still play a pivotal role.

However, the key is for content to read naturally. Long gone are the days when black hat SEO tactics like keyword stuffing were effective. These days, it’s all about providing a positive user experience first and targeting the search engines second. Therefore, you’ll want to sprinkle primary and LSI keywords naturally throughout the content without over-using them.

Over the last several months you’ll have seen that generative AI is also on the rise and is being incorporated into search engines, whether as an AI tool like Google Bard, or as a feature in the search results. With big changes to come still, understanding how generative search works will be important for the future success of your SEO strategies.

When conducting keyword research, you want to make sure you pick the keywords that best fit your content. Making sure you have an SEO strategy in place that focuses on the keywords that best align with your brand is key to growing traffic to your site that converts. Focus on the wrong keywords and though you might grow traffic to your site still, it won’t be from the right audience. So people may visit only to exit, reducing your site’s engagement and limiting the number of conversions you get out of this traffic growth.

To help identify which keywords are right for your brand, a competitive keyword analysis can help. This will give you an idea of what your competitors are doing and if there are any opportunities your brand can jump on board for. 

But when selecting keywords to focus on, it’s about striking a balance between the metrics. Keyword search volume (how popular a search term is), relevance and  keyword difficulty competition are all metrics you should be considering when reviewing any keyword research. Striving to rank for a keyword that has a high search volume but also high competition can be extremely difficult. Targeting keywords with moderate search traffic and lower competition is generally more effective in the short-term. It also gives you a foundation to build on when progressing your strategy to target more competitive search terms.

Variety is key when selecting keywords. Therefore, you’ll want to target different keyword types in order to attract a good cross-section of your market. Don’t just focus on keywords that sound relevant to your brand and ones that have favourable metrics. Consider the long-tailed keywords; these are keywords where the search volume is typically quite low, but the user intent is very specific. The specificity of the query can often make them easier keywords to target. 

Consistently review the keywords you’re targeting, to ensure they still remain relevant for your brand. You also want to keep an eye on your market as a whole in search; which keywords are showing a growth in interest and which show a decline in search trends? Pay attention to how the language your audience uses evolves over time to make sure your brand is keeping up and staying relevant with your target audience. Otherwise, you may find you website falling to the wayside.

Now that you know how to research the right keywords to use and have acquired a list of relevant keywords, you need to know where to use these keyword phrases in on-page SEO optimisations and content development.

Here is a list of some key areas where keywords can be used effectively:


• Title tag

• Meta description

• H1 (the main heading)

• Subheadings (H2s – H6s)

• In the body of your content

• Image alt tags

In answering the question – Why are keywords important for SEO? – we’ve been able to clarify that keywords still play a pivotal role when it comes to being found in the search engines. With the right keyword research and implementation of those chosen keywords, you can devise SEO strategies and optimisations that will increase search engine rankings and website visitors exponentially.

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