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What are keywords?

What is a Keyword?Keywords wordcloud

What is a keyword (or keywords)? A keyword in terms of Search engine optimisation, is a word or phrase relevant to the content of a page. So for instance relevant keywords for this page might be “keywords”, “what are keywords” or “what is a keyword”. A keyword is what you would type into a search engine when looking for specific content.

What is the role of keywords?

In the early days of search engines, keywords were the main “ingredient” in matching your search term to a website. If a search engine crawled your website and found the searched keyword, the page would be served in the results. Webmasters and SEO professionals started to abuse this, and would simply “keyword stuff” the page with all the relevant keywords they could think of. Now days Google (and most others) are far more advanced than that. The results are served by an advanced algorithm, although keywords are still important in SEO there are also other factors that are considered. When you are writing webpage content, you need to do so with 2 or 3 keywords in mind. But ultimately, if you are writing well about the subject, relevant keywords should naturally be present. Tactics like keyword stuffing no longer work and will quickly see your site being penalized or de-listed.

What is Keyword stuffing?

Keyword stuffing is a “Blackhat” SEO technique, where you would fill your webpage with loads of keywords in an unnatural way. This could be by stuffing the same keyword in the content lots of times or lots of similar keywords. When keyword stuffing is used the content would read very badly and would sound very unnatural. No-one tends to bother with keyword stuffing these days as it is well know not to work with modern search engines.

Keyword metatags

Keyword metatags are a type of metadata used to add relevant page keywords. This too is an old technique that is really used that much. It used to be used as a way to let search engines know some relevant keywords to give them a “clue” as to what your webpage is about. Keywords were “invisible” to the user, so it didn’t matter if you stuffed keywords in the metatags. This too was abused by SEO’s.

Search engines are far cleverer now. As long as the content is on topic they can easily work out what a webpage is about.

Long-tail keywords.

What is a long-tail keyword? a long-tail keyword is a keyword phrase with at least 3 words. Long-tailed keywords can me quite powerful for small blogs or a blogger just staring out. For a new blog, you would have an impossible task if you were trying to rank number 1 for a highly competitive keywords. For example if I wanted to rank a new blog for a keyword like “SEO” it would be nearly impossible. However, to rank a new blog for a keyword like “SEO for small gardening businesses” is possible if I wrote a targeted post. Of course the amount of people searching for a long-tailed keyword is far less, but it is better to be number 1 on Google for a keyword that is search 10 times a month than being spot 300 for a search term search 1000 times.



About Nathan Churchman

Being an SEO Expert, IT Manager, Blogger and a Dad, isn’t always easy, but I love them all. I’ve been involved with SEO and Blogging since 2003, watching both evolve and trying to evolve with it.

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