Understanding the Importance of Keywords

No doubt you have heard the words ‘keyword density‘ bandied about like they were the answers to all your problems. But, do you really understand what the term means and why it should be something you take notice of?

Understanding Keyword Importance
The "Key" to a Successful Business

Keywords have long been, and hopefully will continue to be a large part of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Search Engine Optimization is the process that is taken to ensure your website is recognized by the search engines, in other words it’s what gets your website noticed.

While SEO is made up of many different components, keywords are definitely one of the most important aspects. Lets go through it in more detail.

When someone goes to ‘Google’ or another search engine and they are for example looking for a local plumber. Lets say the searcher is based in London for arguments sake. They type in ‘Plumber London’, and get a list of results based on this search. If you don’t have the words ‘plumber’ and ‘London’ mentioned regularly within the text of your site then there is no chance the searcher is going to see your website presented in the list of results.

You have just lost out on valuable business.

Now keywords are not just limited to the text within your website, they should also be prominent in the meta tag descriptions, alt tags and headings (that’s a whole other article), but if you concentrate on the content first then you will be well on your way to increasing the traffic to your site and in turn increasing your sales.

The most effective way to choose keywords is to check out your competition. Where are they appearing in the same search? If you find your competition is reaching near the top of the search results, then that should tell you they are doing something right. A handy tool for determining what keywords your competition is using is www.alexa.com, this site is used by SEO enthusiasts globally to determine what keywords are best to use for any given business. Type your competitions URL into the search box and you will be presented with some very interesting info. From here you can see which words direct the most traffic to each page on the site. You will also see suggested keywords which you can take advantage of.

Not everyone will have the capacity, the know how or the intention of doing the keyword placement themselves, so there’s no harm in hiring a professional to do this for you. To be effective the keyword density should be between 1 and 3% of your content, any more than this and your site could be flagged as spam. Any less than this and the keywords won’t be picked up.

So now you know the basics, go ahead and check out your competition. That is of course unless you are happy to hand them the business. Remember online business turns into offline business in most cases so you could be losing out big time if you choose to ignore your competitors’ online success.

Matt is and SEO Consultant and partner in a London-based SEO Agency.  As well as blogging on SEO related topics, he writes for a number of his clents, including, amongst others, No.1 Traveller, operators of a Heathrow Airport Lounge.