What Is A Keyword

This is a common question from our clients. It’s common knowledge that keywords are important for SEO, but as for what a keyword actually is and how they should be used, for most people, that’s a mystery.

Let’s Find Out

This blog will walk you through what a keyword is, how to use them and some of the most common mistakes of keyword optimization.

General Keyword

A word or phrase used to help a search engine understand the subject matter of your content and who it is for.

Example: If you are writing about how to make chicken soup, a keyword could be “recipies” or “best chicken soup recipe”.

A keyword in the form of a phrase.

Example: For a blog about hiking tails, a keyphrase might be “Good hiking trails near me.”
Long-Tail Keyphrase

A Keyphrase that uses 3 or more words.

Example: See Keyphrase example.
Short Tail Keyphrase

A Keyphrase that uses 1 to 3 words.

Example: “Custom Hats” “Basic Muffin Recipe”.

In technical terms what actually makes something a keyword or keyphrase is not only its content, if you write 2000 words on a webpage or in the description of a video. The thing that identifies a specific word or phrase to that platform as a keyword, is the tag you assign to it.

Because it’s a computer that is reading through the content and not a human being, it lacks the ability to take into account the context of what you’re writing and without context, no one word is more important than another. To a computer, the phrase “we have 10 tables outside” holds the same amount of importance as the phrase “best restaurant in LA.”

You have to wrap your keyword or phrase in a specific tag to help the computer identify that this is the word or phrase that summarizes my content and identifies the audience who should see it.

The tags in question are what are referred to as header tags, a header tag is HTML code specifically reserved for identifying the authority or importance of a keyword or phrases.

When you wrap a word or phrase in a header tag two things occur.

1. The content inside of that tag is now assigned a hierarchical value of 1 through 6, 1 being the most important and 6 being the least important.

2. The text inside of the tag is automatically enlarged.

Think of the ranking system built into header tags as a highlighter. Header tags are the only tags used to identify keywords or keyphrases, all other tags share an equal but lesser level of authority.

Now that we’ve identified what a keyword is, let’s talk about doing keyword research identify what keywords or phrases want to use. There are many different tools both paid and free, that you can use to identify the best keywords for your content. Regardless of the tool you choose to use, always be looking for the same things.

You want to identify keywords with the highest amount of traffic the lowest amount of competition the level of buying intent and the overall objective of the search.

You want to identify keywords with the highest amount of traffic the lowest amount of competition the level of buying intent and the overall objective of the search.

Let’s talk about each one of those data points individually, traffic refers to the number of people that search a specific keyword or phrase each month. Competition refers to the amount of people or businesses also using the same keywords that you will be competing with both organically and in paid advertising.

Buying intent refers to how motivated the individual searching is to convert into a client or customer, and finally, objective refers to the searcher’s reasons and end goal.

While traffic and competition both have hard data available to help you identify the best possible keywords , buying intent and search objective both requires some critical thinking.

When determining a searchers buying intent you need to consider context, for example let’s look at the difference between the keyphrase running shoes and where to buy running shoes.

While both key phrases do you have a centralized Focus running shoes only one has high buying intent. The person searching where to buy running shoes is seriously considering making a purchase, which makes that key phrase more valuable.

To determine a Searchers objective you need to consider specificity, consider someone who searches for chicken soup. That person could be searching where to find the best recipe for chicken soup, or they could be searching for the book chicken food for the soul, or could be searching for the history of chicken soup. For that reason if you’re a recipe blogger trying to attract traffic to your chicken soup recipe you would be better off targeting the key phrase chicken soup recipe.

The last thing to consider ties back into competition, I’d like to call this datapoint a reality check. What I mean by that is that when you are determining what key phrases to use you need to be realistic with your chances of ranking for that particular key phrase, and this is where the term longtail keyphrase becomes applicable.

Go back to the example of running shoes, if you have a website that sells running shoes your odds ranking high enough to attract new customers using key phrases like best running shoes or quality running shoes, is slim to none. And that’s because you will be in direct competition with companies like Nike, Adidas, REI, and so on. However, using a long-tail key phrase such as handmade hemp running shoes gives you a much better chance of attracting new customers.

Common Keyword Mistakes
Mistake #1

The first and most common mistake associated with keywords is improper use the header tags that identify them as keywords. As we talked about before applying a header tag how much does two things, the first is that it assigns level of authority to the word or phrase inside of the tag and the second is that it makes the text larger and Boulder.

And this is where the issue lies, many new Developers or amateur content writers make the mistake of using header tags to increase the size of text rather than utilizing it to highlight the key words on the page. What you will end up with header tags containing keywords as well as header tags containing things like contact us give us a call.

When header tags are used in this way at best it dilutes your real key phrases and at worst it confuses the search engine and causes your content to rank improperly.

Mistake #2

The second mistake people often make with key phrases is too oversaturated content with them , there are many different guidelines surrounding how many key phrases to use but they all hover around a centralized theme , which is to use good judgement if it feels like you are forcing a word or phrase in where it doesn’t belong or more often than it sounds organic then you probably are and it will more than likely cannibalize your content.

Mistake #3

The third most common mistake is to give every key phrase the same Authority level , as we talked about header tags that identify words or phrases as keywords or key phrases have a ranking of 126 highest 6 being the lowest , if you use for different key phrases on one page and all of them are labeled as a header number one tag you are giving them all top priority which in turn makes none of them top priority.

There are many experts a specific order in which to use header tags but the information is often varied and supported strictly educated guesswork to like most things in life the best way to approach this is to use common sense.

Mistake #4

The fourth and final mistake I will talk about is impatience and impractical expectations, many people are under the incorrect assumption that optimizing your content with things like keywords and metadata is a Magic Bullet that will suddenly make you successful, that is not the case.

The reality is that search engine optimization whether it be keywords, meta data, or speed optimization is simply a required piece of the puzzle. Much like you need a door to enter into a room, your content needs optimization in order to be successful. But just because it is optimized does not mean it will be successful, it just means it now has the possibility.

A pig in a dress still just that, a pig in a dress. In such a highly competitive Marketplace you require an edge in order to stand out. If you are selling something that is not unique or you are offering a service that people can get on any street corner it will not matter how creative and how complex SEO and marketing strategy is, you will be just another face in the crowd.

If you are looking to improve your SEO with quality keyword research, contact us for details.


Articles About SEO, Digital Marketing & Website Design

This page is a collection of tips, tricks and insights into SEO, Web Design, Digital Marketing and other related categories. Each article has been heavily researched and is written by our owner and lead developer who holds multiple certifications in Web Design, SEO, and Digital Marketing.

We are passionate about what we do and believe information in our industry is often written in a way that is difficult to digest, because of that we have made it our mission to make every article clear, concise, and devoid of any sales tactics or double talk.


Call UsRequest Consult
Website Design Portfolio

Welcome to our portfolio of website design work! Here, you'll find a curated collection of projects, insights, and expertise in the realms of web design, SEO, digital marketing, and more. Crafted by our owner and lead developer, who holds numerous certifications in web design, SEO, and digital marketing, each showcase undergoes extensive research and meticulous attention to detail.

At our core, we're driven by passion and a commitment to clarity in an industry often clouded by complexity. We strive to demystify the landscape, presenting information in a straightforward, jargon-free manner. Our mission is clear: to provide you with transparent insights devoid of any sales tactics or convoluted messaging.

Have questions or want to discuss your project?

Call Us Request Consultation

MONDAY - FRIDAY: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

SATURDAY: By Appointment

CLOSED: Closed


True Social Marketing takes great pride in being a dedicated partner of the National Forest Foundation. With each website we build, we make it our mission to plant a minimum of 25 new trees in our cherished National Forests. Our vision is to leave this planet better than we found it, ensuring a brighter and greener future for our children.