Keywords are one of the most important factors when it comes to search engine optimisation. But why? And how do you know which keywords are the right ones? Here is where you can find out more about keywords.
What is a keyword?
Keywords are single or several words which the user enters into the search engine as a search term. The search engine compares the keywords with their index (search engine register) using an algorithm to show the user the respective search results. To ensure the user finds certain content via their search request, it’s necessary that the website in question also contains the words being searched with.
Keywords play a leading role when it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine advertising (SEA) – for small enterprises and large corporations alike. When leveraged correctly, they can help to place a product or service prominently in the search results list.
The different kinds of keywords
Keywords can be organised into certain categories in a number of ways. For instance, keywords can be divided according to the user’s intention: into informational, navigational or transactional keywords. The search engine recognises the intent behind the search request and navigates the user to the right website for them. If they want to buy something, they are guided to a shop; if they want information, they land on a website with advice or a tutorial. Good keywords should be in line with the functional objective of the landing page.
At the same time, keywords can be classified according to their content: as money, brand or compound keywords. Due to its focus on transactions and brand awareness, this categorisation is particularly interesting for search engine marketing by companies who have online sales and marketing:
- Money keywords are terms which are often searched with and frequently combined with a purchase. For example: “Buy shoes” or “Printing machine deals”. If an SEO’s main goal is to push sales, money keywords play a vital role.
- Brand keywords contain brand names such as “KSB”, “Siemens” or “Jungheinrich”. They are normally used for an informational search, when the user would like to find out more about a brand or a company. When leveraged within the scope of SEO measures, they can reinforce brand awareness – for instance, by creating a connection in the minds of the users between the company’s own brand and high-quality text or informative content.
- Compound keywords are longer keywords which are a collection of various keywords. They contain prepositions and conjunctions and, as a result, are more concrete and precise. They may also include money and brand keywords. Users frequently use such search terms with the intention of buying a product from a certain brand – such as “Buy KSB pumps” or “Buy Still automation solutions”. In principle, they are focused more on information and not direly geared toward a planned purchase.
Using keywords: what to look out for
The use of optimal keywords can serve to improve search engine optimisation on the website and ensure successful search engine advertising. When it comes to SEO, there is on-page and off-page optimisation:
- On-page optimisation: Keywords on a company’s own website help search engines to index the website in certain categories and show it in the search results. The important thing is that the keywords appear in the website’s title, as well as in the meta description, the headlines and, if possible, in the so-called alt text and images too.
- Keyword density: The keyword density describes how frequently a keyword appears in an article. If a text consists of 500 words and the keyword appears five times, the keyword density lies at about 1 per cent. However, this value only plays a secondary role for Google in 2020, as relevant content has become much more important than keywords. For search engine optimisation, the keyword should appear several times in a text – however, the author should absolutely make sure the text is readable.
- The meaning of metadata: When the search engine searches for suitable hits, it first reads the metadata – in other words, the information that describes the content of a website or an article and which is also shown, in part, to the search engine user in the search results. Important terms, keyword combinations or phrases in the form of popular questions should be reflected in the short meta title. The meta description should complement the title by containing alternative keywords and inspire the user to go to the website. In addition to text, other content like buttons, images and videos can be equipped with metadata.
- Off-page optimisation: When it comes to off-page optimisation, the idea is to use keywords on the website of other companies. You need to ensure, however, that the keywords appear in the anchor text of backlinks. Backlinks are links which lead to your own website from another website. Search engines identify these backlinks and use them to judge the relevance of a website. Ideally, this is rewarded with a better ranking in the search results.
- SEA: In the area of search engine advertising, the success of Google Ads or Bing Ads depends mainly on the use of the right keywords and their function.
Finding the right keywords
Research on keywords is based on the most frequently used keywords by the target group being addressed. They can be determined with the help of various tools. In addition to the primary keyword, which is often used by many websites from the competition for ranking, secondary keywords or keyword combinations on your own website can lead to a good ranking. They can be identified with the use of keyword planners.
In addition to frequency, time is also a relevant component of search activity – enabling SEO measures to focus on the peak of search intensity. In line with this, you should consider offsetting search engine optimisation by two to three months for it to be effective and achieve a better ranking. They therefore need to be completed with the necessary lead-up.
Even before using specialised analysis tools, the use of possible keywords in the Google search field can offer an initial orientation. Google Suggest gives tips on combinations of terms which are often searched for. The number of hits, however, does not provide information on the search intensity – it merely provides a value for orientation, letting you know how many websites include these terms or combination of terms. They hence have to be evaluated again with the help of keyword planners.
Three suitable keyword tools
The following three keyword tools are particularly recommended:
- Semrush is an especially comprehensive tool which goes far beyond just keyword planning. The integrated Keyword Magic Tool is a true help when it comes to searching for keywords. Here, a single main keyword is all it takes to tap into an entire universe of similar search requests. For the Interactive Marketing Awards 2019, Semrush was honoured as best digital tool.
- Ubersuggest scores points thanks to its many functions. For instance, users can see the monthly search volume over the last 12 months in order to identify seasonal peaks. Local keywords, too, can also be checked. What’s more, the tool shows how easily or difficultly the author can rank in organic search results with a certain keyword, and what is would cost to be in paid Google Ads. Additional similar keywords are also shown.
- The Bulk Keyword Generator is mainly interesting for companies that have not really paid attention to website optimisation to date. Instead of searching for keywords themselves, they can use the tool which automatically provides suggestions based on the company’s category, the kind of company and its region. Especially for newcomers is this process very easy.
Study on ranking factors: how relevant are keywords really?
In a current study, Backlinko examined which ranking factors are truly relevant for Google. In terms of keywords, it was confirmed that the vast majority of well-placed websites use meta titles that are in line with the respective keyword being searched. For the precise placement in the ranking on the first page, however, there is no significant difference if a meta title is keyword-optimised or not.
As a result, the keyword in the meta title is indeed also responsible for a placement on page one in the search results, but once the URL is placed there, other factors are essential for additional improvements in the ranking.
Keywords are the main element of search engine marketing. When used correctly, they can significantly increase traffic to a company’s own website. The wrong use of keywords, however, can lead to a poorer ranking for the website in the search engine. For this reason, it’s important to know before creating a website with content, or broadcasting search engine advertising like Google Ads, which keywords are truly helpful for SEO or SEA measures and where they should be leveraged: on-page, off-page or for SEA.