Keywords are individual words or short phrases that website owners target. When you search using Bing or Google, you use keywords – the results that are churned out are the results deemed to be the most relevant by the search engine. Keywords matter because you have to research them very carefully in order to ensure you’re pursuing traffic that’s going to achieve your desired outcome.
Keywords matter when writing your website’s content – although it’s not good practice to stuff content full of keywords that you’re targeting in the SERPS, it’s a good idea to ensure they feature once or twice where possible. Keyword research is important in terms of SEO and PPC – in both circumstances users searching for a specific keyword will hopefully see your website as one of the results. Therefore you need to be targeting relevant keywords that will bring in high quality traffic for your website.
Some website owners build their sites without paying any attention to keywords whatsoever. This isn’t a big issue until it comes to marketing their site – they then realise their content isn’t fit for purpose. We’re not saying that you should go “black hat” and try to game the search engine results – but you should definitely bear in mind the keywords you’re targeting when building a website and publishing content on it.
There are lots of premium tools out there that people use for keyword search, but the truth of the matter is that Google’s Keyword Tool is often sufficient when it comes to drawing up a list of words to target. Some people fall into the trap of not understanding broad versus phrase versus exact matches. Some people also fall into the trap of believing the competition rating is indicative of SEO results (it’s not, it’s indicative of PPC results only) – but that’s not to say the Google Keyword Tool is useless. If you just want to know you’re targeting keywords that people actually look for in search engines, the keyword tool is all you need – and it doesn’t cost a dime!
Lots of people chase after “buying keywords” – these are usually terms like “cheap <product name>” or even “buy <product name>”. The composition of these keywords means that people are likely to buy the product they’re looking for once they hit your website. These keywords are usually very competitive because every website owner wants a steady stream of traffic that’s ready to buy!
There are certain keywords you might not want to target in your SEO campaign or a part of your PPC exercise. If you sell high end headphones for example, you wouldn’t want to target searchers looking for things like “free headphones” or “cheap earphones”. The chances this traffic would convert into a sale are very slim indeed.
Keywords matter because if you’re spending hundreds or thousands of dollars attempting to generate traffic to your website, you need to be sure that you’re going after keywords that will actually convert. You must also ensure that your website’s content is properly optimised for the keywords that you’re targeting – if you’re chasing keywords that your site is not relevant to, there’s no chance at all that it will rank well.