Keywords Basics

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What are keywords?

Keywords are the words, or combinations of words, that cause your website to show up on search engines (such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing). They are among the most important things for you to understand if you want to increase traffic on your website.

How do I use keywords to my advantage?

The best way to use keywords to your advantage is to know the words and phrases people are likely to use when searching for the content your website provides. Once you have identified the words and phrases people are likely to use, do your best to incorporate these words and phrases into the content on your site. Make sure the words and phrases are included in the content in a fluid manner, however, as search engines can mark your site as “spam” if they feel you are using keywords that are irrelevant to your content, simply to drive up your traffic.

Can I designate specific words or phrases as keywords?

Most websites allow you to use meta tags to designate certain words as your “keywords.” However, this is inadvisable, as search engines no longer use meta tags in their compilation of search results, and in fact, this may even increase the likelihood of a search engine labeling your site as “spam.”

I’ve heard search engines don’t use keywords anymore; is this true?

In the 1990s, search engines relied heavily on meta tags in order to distinguish keywords, and thus, to determine site rankings in search results. However, this led to “spam” sites tagging relevant keywords en masse, but providing no content on the site to go along with the keywords. Since then, search engines have changed their approach, and in 2009, Yahoo – who had been the last search engine still giving serious weight to meta tags – switched away from meta tags altogether, meaning that meta tags are no longer a valuable way to increase visibility through search engines. However, this does not mean that keywords, in general, are not used by search engines – and while search engines do not make their processes public, studies have shown that using keywords effectively, in the content of a website, greatly increases the chances of the website showing up in searches!

Where should I put my keywords?

Using keywords in the title of posts on your website, and in the description of your website, will help quite a bit in giving your website search engine visibility. But in the long run, the best thing you can do is know the keywords you feel will be beneficial, and incorporate these keywords into the content you add to your site!

How do I know which keywords to use?

It can be difficult at times to know which keywords will most effectively bring readers your way, but one of the best things you can do is conduct searches for the content you are planning to write. As you use different keyword combinations, you will be able to figure out the words and word combinations people are most likely to use, and will also be able to get a feel for where your content will show up in a search as you use certain words and phrases.

What else can I do with keywords to increase my search engine visibility?

Studies have concluded that one of the best ways to increase your ranking in search engine searches is for others to link to your site – and the best way to make this happen is to provide valuable content! As you provide valuable content, others will link to you using the same keyword combinations you use in the content itself, and this will help you to keep climbing higher in those ever-important search engine rankings!

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