Anybody who has a website these days and has looked into website marketing, has inevitably come across the terms SEO keywords or SEO key phrases. Knowing what these words really mean, and how SEO analysts use them to boost your website’s search engine results, may be a whole other story.

To start, I will explain how search engines work using Google as an example as it is the most commonly used search engine to date.Google Search Engine Optimization

Search engines have a job – and that is to give you, the searcher, what you are looking for. You the searcher, in your quest for information, will type a particular set of words into the search engine to find your results. The search engine doesn’t want to let you down, so it observes a criterion in scanning websites; searching for the perfect results. One of those piece of criteria is whether your website has a particular set of keywords or phrases that the searcher has used to look for you with.

Now, you might say, ‘I don’t want my website to look like it is full of search terms’. You would be correct in questioning this. This practice is referred to as keyword stuffing. You and your website could be penalized for doing this. So how many times can one keyword be used on a page without a site getting penalized? It is commonly believed that 9% to 15% is a rational ratio. To evaluate the number of keywords in your text, there is a formula, or one can simply Searching for Keyterms is a Search Engine's Jobuse free software available online to evaluate their keyword density in contrast to the number of words in the text.

Hiring professional writers who can integrate keywords naturally into your text is key. You don’t want your pages to appear as spam, and yet you do want it to meet Google’s algorithms. Understanding how Google searches pages is not truly known by anybody, as it is kept somewhat under wraps. Although, through experience, I can tell you the software is able to observe general relevancy in addition to the keywords.

The second element to all of this is that the value of keyword density will hardly ever come from your main content, but rather from the optimization of all the other factors on your page. Keywords are not only taken into consideration from your main text, there are other elements Google’s spiders scan, they include:

  • Page title
  • Meta Tags
  • Meta Description
  • Images Description
  • Headers Tags

Having a blog with fresh content full of keywords and keyphrases is also very important in the SEO world.

Which Keywords and Keyphrases Do You Use?

But which keywords or phrases do you use, you might ask? Maybe you have an inclination of how people are looking for you, but do you know for sure the words you have in mind are exactly what the searcher is using? If not, your SEO specialist can analyze this for you, as well as discover more words and phrases you could be using.

Let’s say for example you sell vacuums. What will your potential buyer type into the search engine to find you? Will they type ‘vacuums’ or will they type in ‘vacuums for sale’ or even ‘cheap vacuums’? The word vacuums alone has over six million websites competing for it. So, the next step a SEO analyst will take is to find phrases used frequently by others. These phrases will be those that are not as competitively sought after by website owners. By doing this, it gives your website a leg up and a better chance to move to the top.

Sure you could pay for keywords paying for what is commonly referred to as, Pay Per Click. But what we are discussing are organic results – the results that show up in search engines for free. Ultimately every company wants to show up for free on the first page of a search engine. Ideally every company will also want to be at the top. This organic process can save companies tens of thousands of dollars.

Search engine optimization is always changing and evolving, but one thing that has remained most consistent, is the continued value and use of keywords.

Pamela Ravenwood is an SEO analyst and consultant with SEO Essential Solutions. Ms. Ravenwood specializes in social media, increasing website rankings and website analysis.