Keyword Selection Impacts Web Content & SEO

Keywords are the cornerstones of successful search engine optimization. To achieve a high-traffic website, you need to have the right keywords, used in the right way. Here we’ll go over why they matter, and how using them cleverly can mean the difference between a top-ranking site and one that’s stuck at the bottom of the Google shuffle.

Getting down to the basics, keywords are search terms. They are the words that Internet users type into their browsers to find the information they want. Once the user types in the term, the search engine “looks” through all of the Web pages on file to bring up the ones that best fit the query. Typically, the pages at the top of the list will contain the exact keyword that the user searched for. Two or more keywords in a row make up “key phrases,” which work in a similar way.

With this system, it is vital that a page contains the specific terms that people are typing in, or else it won’t come up in search results and readers will never get a chance to see it. The idea may sound simple, but there are a number of factors involved.

First of all, every keyword  or phrase has a different search volume. Far more people look up “cheap car insurance” than, say, “Zeno’s paradox.” It may seem tempting to use the most popular keywords or phrases to attract the most hits. However, this doesn’t always work for smaller websites, because those top keywords have plenty of competition. A search for “cheap car insurance” brings up about 50 million web pages. “Zeno’s Paradox?” Just around 31,000. A modest site is going to have better luck ranking in the less-competitive search.

There’s also much more to keywords than simply choosing the right ones. If you want to rank well in the search engines, you’d better have excellent, original content to back those terms up. Google knows how long users stay on a page; if people are repelled by poor writing or irrelevant information, they will click away as fast as they can, hurting your rank.

How many keywords you should use is another major consideration. The term “keyword density” refers to the ratio of keywords to other words in the text. A page with one keyword per 100 words has a keyword density of one, and so forth.

Some websites practice something called “keyword stuffing.” This involves cramming as many keywords as possible into the content, with little to no relevant content in between. Search engines have long caught into this trick, and penalize guilty sites.

Finding the right keyword balance is a delicate art form, and it can take a long time to master the game. However, well-planned keyword placement can elevate a website above the competition, leading to more views, more credibility, and ultimately more money in the bank.