Keywords are the building blocks of SEO. Although the days of the keyword meta tag being the golden ticket to top rankings are undoubtedly over, keywords themselves are still one of the most important aspects of good SEO. Just their application has changed. It’s not about stuffing a hundred keywords into meta tags or your copy to get rankings. It’s about uncovering the keywords that make the most sense for your business and using them in a way that drives targeted, qualified traffic to your site.
You can probably think of at least 10 to 20 keywords off the top of your head you think are relevant to your site. However, the way you think about your organization or business may be very different than how customers or the average Joe thinks about it. A financial institution might call its product an “auto loan,” but you or I would probably use the term “car loan” when searching online. Maybe we’d search for “car loans” (plural) instead of “car loan” (singular). Similarly, the terms you automatically think of may be too broad or widely applicable to be appropriate for SEO.
The best keywords have the following qualities:
- Relatively high search volume: terms people are actually look for
- Relatively low competition: terms with a small number of search results
Without the above criteria, you’ll typically land in one of two scenarios:
- You choose highly popular — and competitive — keywords. You end up with terms so broad that about a billion other sites are competing for them. You don’t stand a chance of getting a top ranking.
- You choose very narrowly targeted or niche keywords. You end up with terms that are so specific that no one actually searches for them. A top ranking is wasted because no one’s there to see it.
When you select keywords that meet the three key criteria, you exponentially increase your chances of ranking high in SERPs.