I have never written a post without researching keywords first, simply because of my belief in how important keywords are to SEO.
Keywords form the basis of my content. Most times, researching would lead me to some interesting discoveries … of what people out there are interested in. Based on what I find out (on what people are looking for), I work my way to provide them what they need or want to know.
Generally the content that I write, is usually not just based on one keyword but rather a string of related keywords. And adopting this approach to preparing my content has worked well for me although I have to admit that with thousands of blogs/websites mushrooming each day, you have to constantly work towards giving an edge to what you have to offer (through your content).
Are Keywords Important to SEO?
Past and Present
A decade ago, I used to have affiliate websites with content that get ranked fast in first pages of the search engines, even though some of the websites are new.
Things are not that easy anymore now with Google’s Panda, Penguin, etc – algorithm changes and updates that saw many websites slapped for poor quality content.
Those days, I used to write content, then post articles in some article directories that link back to my webpage. And I would see my website ranked in Google’s top pages in a few weeks, even when I sometimes repeat the same keywords in my content, leading to my article not making much sense!
I still got ranked. Well, not anymore. It’s not as simple anymore.
At first it gets frustrating but when I understood why Google (with its changes in algorithms) is doing what it does, I begin to work differently when creating content.
You see it all makes sense when you think that from Google’s perspective as a search engine, it wants to provide the best, the most relevant information to the person looking for it.
That’s where people like me (website owners) come in.
So in creating content, keywords are still integral but not in the way that we were used to. For instance, repeating a certain keyword multiple times in a post doesn’t work anymore.
Now, it’s about QUALITY.
You don’t just pepper an article with the same keyword. The whole article got to make sense and most importantly useful, relevant to the reader.
How to Create Better Content?
It’s now about creating better content – better in the sense that it serves the needs of the seeker.
Take an example of a search I performed recently on Google. I searched for “paint kitchen cabinets”.
This is a real search because I was really looking to paint my kitchen cabinets after I checked with some contractor companies that either charged ridiculous fees or downright refused to do it on account that the job is too small.
As you type in your search, Google Instant will tell you what others are looking for. In this case, I realize that others like me are also looking for “What kind of paint to use on kitchen cabinet” and “How to paint laminate kitchen cabinets”, etc.
Knowing the information through Google Instant provides me ideas on where my content should be heading.
However, although the information provided by Google Instant can be helpful, it doesn’t tell me if those keywords are worth pursuing. By this, I mean I don’t know if there are a substantial number of people who are looking for “How to paint laminate kitchen cabinets”.
Are there high number of searches on that keyword phrase to warrant it to be included in my content?
This is where the keyword research tool that I use, Jaaxy, comes in handy.
I conducted a search on it, with the results below :
Using Jaaxy, I can see that there are more than 4,000 searches for my root keyword “paint kitchen cabinets”.
But would I pursue this keyword. In an instant, the keyword research tool is telling me “No”, with its RED warning under the KQI (Keyword Quality Indicator), telling me that there are just too many competition to make my efforts worthwhile.
So I won’t bother with that keyword phrase but instead will focus on other relevant ones, based on number of searches and competition. For example, looking at “diy painting kitchen cabinets” and “painting kitchen cabinets white”, I would create a piece of content, weaving these phrases together.
The ultimate goal is of course to provide value to what a person is looking for.
Positioning myself as the person looking for information on “paint kitchen cabinets”, I imagine that I would also be thinking about the kind of material my kitchen cabinet is made of or the type of paint most suitable for that material.
So the bottomline is to give a wholesome, holistic content, the best you can, by anticipating the thoughts of the person looking for the information.
How to Choose The Keywords – Technical Side of Things
Using Jaaxy, I would first look at “Avg” that gives an indication of average searches for that keyword per month. A number above 100 is good, the higher the better of course.
Then I turn my focus on “QSR” (Quoted Search Results) which tells me the number of competiting sites using the same keyword. I would usually go for those below 80.
As mentioned earlier, I also look into “KQI” and only go for the green ones.
The last indicator I look at is “SEO” that gives an overall indication if the keyword/phrase is worth pursuing. I go for those words with SEO value above 90 because through experience, I find that content using such keywords gets ranked relatively easily.
Doing SEO right gets you the traffic that you want. Sure it IS just one of the many ways you drive visitors to your site.
However, getting traffic through SEO is organic.
I also believe that the visitors who found your content via the search engines are (most of the time) genuinely looking to find answers to their queries. This is unlike those in Facebook, for instance, who might have chanced upon your website through your FB feed. The FB user might not be looking for content that you are offering, and thus is not “targeted”.
With that rationale, I can’t stress enough the importance of keywords to SEO! Sure it might take a while before your content is ranked, but once that happens, it would stay as long as you continue to grow your website (with relevant, valuable content).