SEO is nothing new in the website design game.
We all understand it on it a fundamental level: How our pages are structured determines how easily they’ll be found in search. But many website owners don’t understand the intricacies of this process or why they’re not getting the SEO results they feel they deserve.
Web crawlers, or automated scripts employed by organic search providers like Google, travel around the internet with the goal of absorbing data and categorizing files. When queries are input into the search engine, this aggregate data is assessed as a whole and the most relevant results are produced for the user.
As this process shows us, the core of SEO is communication. What you put out will determine what you get back. Naturally, the more targeted and clear you can make these communications, the easier it will be to appear in search.
Keywords Have Power
As all of us know, SEO is complicated and is influenced by a variety of on-site elements:
- URLs and internal linking structures
- Page title tags and headlines
- HTML/XML sitemaps
- Site navigation and total number of pages
With so many variables contributing to SEO, why focus on keywords?
According to Google’s SEO Starter Guide, a cornerstone concept for quality SEO is to not make SEO your number one priority. Instead, Google suggests that website owners design their pages based on their audience’s unique needs, with SEO as an afterthought. Basically, cater to the people, not the machines.
This brings us back to keyword inclusion. Part of the reason keywords are so powerful for SEO is their wide range of application. Keywords can be included in URLs, web copy, title tags, metadata, headlines, and just about anywhere else you can think of. Keywords provide essential information to web crawlers about what type of content appears on your site.
Naturally, the website owners who understand this and apply unique keyword phrases throughout their page will generate the best ROI from their SEO efforts. And of course, determining which keywords will have the most impact is done through—you guessed it—keyword research.
Find the Keywords Your Audience Uses
Broadly, keyword research a multi-step process that helps website owners identify the relationship between specific search queries and their page.
When applied inwardly, keyword research can tell site owners how their current user base found their site and which search terms drive the most traffic. This process is handled with the help of Google analytics (or other metric-monitoring software) and is an essential part of keyword research due diligence.
When applied outwardly, keyword research helps site owners discover which search terms are being used by their target audiences and which terms they may want to include to increase their page rank authority.
When done correctly, keyword research provides valuable insight into how site owners can communicate with web crawlers—as well as their customers. Quality keyword research produces two primary effects, both of which directly support the growth of a business:
- A better search engine page ranking that directly improves a site’s chances of being found.
- An increase in traffic quality. The users who arrive via targeted keywords will have stronger intention to buy and will be more likely to continue down a website’s marketing funnel. Thoroughly researched keywords allow websites to connect with the audience members most likely to find value from that website’s unique services.
As stated above, a keyword’s primary function is to facilitate communication among a website, a search engine, and the customers doing the searching. Naturally, the more research put into this keyword choice, the more value they’ll provide.