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Keywords - SEO Keyword: What Are SEO Keywords?

When someone uses a search engine, they type in one or more words describing what they are looking for. These words or phrases are known as keywords.

How Better Keyword Research Gets You Better Results

Your SEO keywords are the key words and phrases in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site via search engines. A website that is well optimized for search engines "speaks the same language" as its potential visitor base with keywords for SEO that help connect searchers to your site.

In other words, you need to know how people are looking for the products, services or information that you offer, in order to make it easy for them to find you—otherwise, they'll land on one of the many other pages in the Google results. Implementing keyword SEO will help your site rank above your competitors.

This is why developing a list of keywords is one of the first and most important steps in any search engine optimization initiative. Keywords and SEO are directly connected when it comes to running a winning search marketing campaign. Because keywords are foundational for all your other SEO efforts, it's well worth the time and investment to ensure your SEO keywords are highly relevant to your audience and effectively organized for action.

Settling on the right SEO keywords is a delicate process involving both trial and error, but the basics are easy to understand. Here we’ll walk you through researching what your customers are looking for, discovering those keywords that will help you rank on a search engine results page (SERP), and putting them to work in your online content.

Finding Your Best Keywords for SEO

Most beginning search marketers make the same mistakes when it comes to SEO keyword research:

  • Only doing SEO keyword research once,
  • Not bothering to update and expand their SEO keyword list, or
  • Targeting keywords that are too popular, meaning they’re way too competitive.

Basically, SEO keyword research should be an ongoing and ever-evolving part of your job as a marketer. Old keywords need to be reevaluated periodically, and high-volume, competitive keywords (or “head” keywords, as opposed to long-tailed keywords) can often be usefully replaced or augmented with longer, more specific phrases designed not to bring in just any visitor but exactly the right visitors. (Who visits your site – particularly if they’re people who are actively looking for your services – is at least as important as how many people visit.)

And you’ve got to diversify. Here’s a tongue-twister that’s absolutely true: diversity is a key word in the keyword world. You’re not going to stand out if you find yourself using all of the same keywords as your competitors. Not only should you try new keyword tools and keep track of the results, but you should feel free to experiment based on your own research – who else uses your keywords? And how do you make yourself stand out? By providing great content that truly answers the questions your prospective customers are asking with their keyword searches.

Keyword Research Resources

Where do we get all of this knowledge about keyword demand and keyword referrals? From research sources like these listed here:

  • Google Adwords’ Keyword Tool
  • Google Insights for Search
  • Google Trends Keyword Demand Prediction
  • Microsoft Advertising Intelligence
  • Wordtracker’s Free Basic Keyword Demand

Google's AdWords Keyword tool is a common starting point for SEO keyword research. It not only suggests keywords and provides estimated search volume, but also predicts the cost of running paid campaigns for these terms. To determine volume for a particular keyword, be sure to set the Match Type to [Exact] and look under Local Monthly Searches. Remember that these represent total searches. Depending on your ranking and click-through rate, the actual number of visitors you achieve for these keywords will usually be much lower.

Other sources for keyword information exist, as do tools with more advanced data. At SEO San Jose, we use our own tools and softwares specific to the type of our customer's businesses.

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