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What Are Keywords And How Do I Use Them?

dreamstimemedium_12713431You’ve probably heard the term “keyword” before, but you may not know what it means or how it applies to your blog or your website’s traffic. Here’s what you need to know about keywords and how to use them in your articles and on your blog.

The Definition of A Keyword

The most simple definition of what a keyword is, is a word that lets search engines know what your article or your website is about. For example, if you have a website orblog about how to train dogs, your website keywords may be “dog training” or “puppy training.” Say on your blog, you post an article on the correct kind of leashes to use when training a dog. Your article keyword may be “puppy leashes” or “dog leashes.” You can also have long tail keyword phrases, such as “how to train a puppy.”

What A Keyword Does

A keyword tells the search engines what your website or what a particular article on your website or blog is about. Search engines do this by calculating how many times a particular word is used in your article – for example, if you use the phrase “puppy training” several times in your article, the search engine is naturally going to determine that your article is, in fact, about puppy training. It’s a bit more complicated than that though – you don’t want to use a word too many times, or your article may get flagged as spam. The search engines will assume that because the article is chock full of a single keyword, that it doesn’t offer any valuable information and won’t rank the article.

Search Engine Optimization

Using a keyword in a strategic way throughout the article or on your website is called search engine optimization, or SEO. There are certain algorithms and calculations that search engines do to determine how to rank your article, and strategically using the keywords you want your article to be ranked for means you are optimizing it for the search engines. Some simple examples of SEO techniques that make search engines happy are using your chosen keyword:

  • At the very beginning of your title
  • At the very beginning of your description
  • At the very beginning of the article, in the first paragraph
  • Somewhere in a subheading in the article
  • Towards the end of the last paragraph
  • Approximately one time per 100 words throughout the article
  • In a link

Choosing The Right Keywords

So now you have a basic understanding of what keywords are and how to use them in an article, however, you don’t want to just pick any word and use it as a keyword. A search engine is going to rank your article hopefully very highly for your chosen keyword, but if no one searches for that particular word, you’re still not going to get any traffic. You want your article to be ranked highly for keywords that have a high search volume, or are entered into search engines thousands of times a day by different people. For example, the keyword “classes for puppy training” may have a lower search volume than “puppy training classes,” so you would want to use the latter keyword instead of the former.

How To Perform Keyword Research

There are many free keyword research tools available, some better than others. A particularly popular, free keyword research tool is SEOBook. You simply create an account and can get instant access to a searchable keyword database that will allow you to enter in your chosen search term and give you the search statistics on that particular keyword, as well as a list of additional similar keywords and their search statistics. Search as many possible keywords in your website or blog’s niche to determine which ones you should be writing articles to target.

Keywords can actually give you a ton of great ideas for articles – for example, if you have a list of 20 highly searched keywords in your niche, you’ll want to write a post targeting each one of these keywords. This allows you to provide the information that people interested in your niche are looking for and will help increase your blog’s traffic. If you ever get stuck on a writing topic, simply go back to your keyword list and come up with a new approach or a different headline that you can center around a particular, highly searched keyword.

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