Keywords, key words, key-words. They are in everything that we do. In terms of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are they important, and what role do they play?
Definition - key word is a word or a phrase that a user (someone searching the web) would use to find content they are interested in reading.
Google and other search engines look around the web for content and determine how to turn 'text' into relevant search results. This process is lovingly named indexing.
Search engines peruse the content on the web collecting words and turning them into a web of indexes so when we type in a search phrase (i.e. SEO keyword relevance) a set of results is returned that contain articles that are relevant, or match, with the subject we are interested in.
Definition - relevant results are how well your content matches the subject being searched for.
How does this help us understand how to use keywords, or if they are even helpful?
Keywords are pulled from our content and are one of the primary, or key, ways that help create an index. The more keywords that we have that relate to what our readers are looking for, the better our relevance will be.
The inclination is to think, "Should I have more keywords so I have a higher rank?"
Of course you should, however, a user might search for the same content using synonyms, for example: SEO tips, SEO tricks, and SEO hacks, might all be similar ways to find the same pages, so be sure to cover synonyms. There are at least three other concerns: repeating the same word over and over can make your content not so interesting -- meaning, that readers will bounce out, lowering your rank; covering too many topics in a single article makes categorization of the content tricky and waters down the ranking. Lastly, ensuring that your content is long enough to keep the reader's attention for at least one or two minutes helps reinforce the ranking, proving that you've got critical content that readers are interested in.
There are other ways to reinforce the keywords on your page. One of these ways is to use the 'alt' field on images. The alt field is used when the picture cannot be viewed, this can happen when a search engine is indexing your page. The pictures won't be loaded but the alt fields will. This is an 'invisible' way to help add to the page's relevance.
These are a few considerations when putting together your content: use keywords and synonyms, keep your topics focused and long enough to capture the attention of your readers, and use the 'alt' field on images to reinforce your content relevance.
Keywords aren't the only aspect to making great ranking pages … Next Up bounce rate or how long readers stay on your page and how it affects your rank.
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