What are keywords? How does Google and other search engines use them?

These are very common questions from people starting to optimize their website for better search results.

Keywords are usually defined as words used by a search engine (Google) in its search for relevant websites related to that word. These words are important for the essence of the website. For example, if you are using a search engine to find a certain company it is logical that the keyword in this case is the name of the company. If you don’t know the exact name of the company you can use some other keywords that can help you find it like location of the company, industry, products or services that the company is offering etc.

15 or 20 years ago when the internet was not a powerful medium like it is today, website owners ignored these keywords because there was not much competition. Today, almost every company and many people have their own websites and online presence. This is why people are turning more and more to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and it is not unusual to hire a professional to do SEO for you. Although social networking sites are getting more and more popular each day, the fact is that most websites get their visitors mostly through the search engines.

With this fact in mind you probably have a good idea why so many website owners spend time doing keyword research. Keyword research is used in order to attract a targeted audience. There are many keyword research tools and some of them are even free like Google Adwords Keyword Planner for example. You can use it to find out which keyword or keyword phrase (long tail keyword) is suitable for your website. You can also see how many monthly searches one keyword brings and even the level of competition for a certain keyword. If you are able to find the best keywords (the ones that suit your website the best) then this will be a big step for better ranking in the search results.

Remember that you don’t have to optimize your website in exactly one keyword or keyword phrase. You can use several keywords, of course as long as they are related to the content you are offering to the visitors. Search engine like Google easily track relevant websites by calculating keyword density and relevance. However, overusing keyword especially in an unnatural way can get you penalized by Google. What does this mean? Using your keyword in an unnatural way (inappropriate places in the text or even on the website), plagiarizing articles in order to get new content etc., can make your website rank very low.

Content is an important part of a website and SEO.  Both for the text that the reader can see and the hidden text like meta tags.  That’s why many people are paying a lot of attention to content they post and update their websites frequently for improved search results.