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Keywords are the key to getting your business noticed in the digital realm. Think of them as name tags that let searchers know who you are and what you’re about. They affect content marketing when applied to everything from blogs to social media posts to website copy. Even video can use them for SEO. Understand and use keywords to unlock the potential of your online presence.

Focus Your Efforts

A keyword or key phrase is what someone types into Google or another search engine. Obviously, you want your business to appear first in SERP. The way to do this is by understanding and using the same language searchers are using.

Short and long tail keywords are two terms for the kinds of searches done online. If you were searching for a new appliance, “washing machine” would be a short tail keyword. On the other hand, searching for “front load Maytag washing machine” would be a long tail keyword. Short tail queries are one or two words that denote a more general search. Long tail queries are three- or four-word searches that get much more specific. A person searching “washing machine” may be in the early stages of thinking about buying a new appliance. Someone who types “front load Maytag washing machine” is probably ready to make a purchase. Long tail keywords are easier to rank for because they will be specific to your product or service.

Algorithms and Keyword Stuffing

Search engines scrape the web for keywords by using algorithms. Algorithms are changing all the time in an effort to give users the best results when they perform a search. Once upon a time, you could use keyword stuffing to get your website to rank higher. Now, algorithms aren’t just looking for certain words, they’re also looking at whether the words are used in context.

Keyword stuffing and spamdexing can lead to penalties or even the removal of a website from search engine indexes. Stuffing is generally considered an unethical practice and is often used to drive traffic to fraudulent or malicious websites. If someone clicks on your content because it matches their search, they expect to find relevant information. Hidden keywords and click bait will only frustrate the user and reflect poorly on you. The potential for extra traffic is not worth risking the reputation of your business. There’s a better way.

Best Practices

While we don’t suggest stuffing, keywords still need to appear repeatedly to be effective. For example, the keyword for this blog is—you guessed it—keyword! This word or a phrase containing this word needs to appear throughout the blog and in context for it to rank in a search result. If it’s overused, it can adversely affect the search ranking. Plugins like Yoast are designed to help with SEO and will flag when a keyword is used too much or too little.

So how do you capitalize on keywords? Think like your customers. If you were looking for the product or service offered by your company, what would you search? Brainstorm the literal words you would type into Google. Now use those words to populate your online content and attract the customers most likely to engage with your business.

It’s important to do your keyword research. If you concentrate on words that are very popular, you may get lost in the crowd. Words and phrases that are too specialized can narrow your search results to a trickle. Using keyword suggestion and research tools can highlight the words that get a lot of searches in your field. They can even suggest related words and phrases you can use for better search engine results. It’s also a good idea to include both short and long tail keywords in your content to capture a wider range of queries.

Video and Keywords

Keywords are important even with video. A video can make your website easier to find even in a universal search. Remember how we said algorithms are changing all the time? Video has benefited from those changes in the last few years. Taking the time to optimize your video for search results pays off. To find out how to optimize video, read our blog on Video SEO.

Unlocking SEO Potential

Is it time to rank your online content so you can get ranked by search engines? Look at your digital presence and make a note of the words that appear frequently. Then consider the language customers are using to find your business. Also look at customer feedback, including questions and comments. All of this information can help you focus your keywords for better SEO. Good luck and we’ll see you on Google.

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