The Importance of Keywords in SEO: A Beginner’s Guide

One of the most common tips you will receive for writing a blog post is to have a focus or target keyword. Many bloggers are still not aware of the importance of keyword targeting, and how some very simple keyword research can help with this important aspect of blogging.

Keyword in SEO

It’s true that writing quality posts will help you to drive traffic, but have you ever asked yourself why you are still not ranking in Google searches for any keyword, or why your quality posts stop getting traffic after some time has passed?

Well, first you must understand that the Google bot is a machine which uses an algo to rank a site for a particular keyword. There are many factors which impact your ranking, but one of the most important factors for ranking in Google is your target keyword. You can certainly work on backlink building to increase your rank further and get more traffic for your posts.  But first and foremost, you must address the issue of target keywords.

You may be thinking that this just an SEO gimmick, but I will show you results based on my own experimentation, so stay tuned!

What is the importance of keywords from the perspective of SEO?

Google has already made it clear that they do not consider meta keywords when selecting keywords, and this makes sense because many bloggers who are new to blogging or article writing add lots of keywords in their posts.

For example, one would write the following meta keywords for this post: “keywords, SEO, keyword research”, and so on. Now ask yourself – would anyone who is searching for keyword tips and tricks want to see this article first? Personally, I would not like to rank for these keywords, because people will land here and then leave the blog. This will impact my bounce rate, and also my average time on site.

Keyword Competition

If I target my blog post for particular keywords like “importance of keywords”, it will be easier to rank.  In the example above, you can see that I searched for competition for my target keyword using Traffic Travis SEO software, which tells me that it is an easily target-able keyword.

How to search for keywords using Instant Search:

Let’s have a quick look into an easy way to search for keywords using Google Instant Search.

Based on my permalink and previous analytic stats, I found some keywords, and used Google Keyword Search Tool to find monthly searches and then check competition. I will explain this complete process in another post, but for now you can quickly use Google Instant Search to find your target keyword, like this:

When you are targeting a keyword, it could be a long tail or a short tail keyword.

Here are examples of short tail and long tail keyword searches:

  • Short tail: keyword density
  • Long tail: keyword density checker websites
Once you have found your low competition target keywords, your task is to write an SEO optimized article for your target keywords.

Keyword density and keyword placement

Keyword density is a complex topic. This Wiki article will give you a fair idea of how keyword density is calculated. Depending on the target keywords, (long tail or short tail), you maintain a particular percentage of keyword density. When bots crawl your page, they can determine from the density of the keyword, that this page is useful for users searching for a particular keyword.

Keyword targeting is important, but stay away from keyword “stuffing”, which is the overuse of keywords throughout the body of an article, as this will ultimately be harmful to your ranking.

Different SEO gurus have different ideas about keyword density, but your keyword should not increase more then 3% of your article length. I personally try to keep it between 1-1.5%, along with related search terms. One idea is to experiment with keyword stuffing for your post and see the difference for yourself. For WordPress, you can use a useful plugin call Keyword Density Checker for WordPress. You can also use online keyword density checker websites.

What does keyword stuffing do?

Stuffing your articles with keywords is never a good idea. Overuse of keywords alerts Google bots to the fact that you are “spamming” your post by stuffing it with unnecessary keywords. Google penalizes for this action, as spiders are alerted to the fact that you are trying to trick the system by using lots of keywords many times. This can affect your ranking. So be wise when you select the number of keywords you are using for SEO. Particularly since Google Panda, we highly recommend that you stop taking SEO actions which do not appear to be natural. If you are not sure about your SEO practices, use forums or ask quiestions on the ShoutMeLoud Facebook fan page.

Meta title, meta description and meta keywords:

Now you have searched for a perfect keyword and you are delivering it into a post or a page. Try also to use that keyword as part of the title of the post.

One additional tip: Try not to use numbers in your permalink, because in the future if you want to extend the article by adding plugins or sites or additional information, your number will no longer make sense.

Adding a relevant meta description will give more insight about your page to search engine bots. I suggest that you use your keyword in your meta title, meta description and meta keyword field along with an H1 tag. Also, try to write more SEO friendly articles by using H1, H2 and H3 tags. However, don’t overuse heading tags, as improper headings and too many H2 or H3 tags can lead to a negative ranking.

Still not convinced?

Here is a post which I wrote as a guest blogger on another blog, using  target keywords “Google Panda Penalty“. Read and analyze the post, and you will realize the extent of the on-page optimization I have done in an effort to make this post reach the number 1 position in Google. The article is very detailed, and I’m sure it will help you to learn to write better SEO optimized articles.

What next?

Now that you are aware that keywords play an important role in SEO, your first task is to find 5-6 profitable keywords for your next post. You can use the Google Keyword Tool, Traffic Travis or any other online tool. Write a post on your target keyword, and use any of these Google keyword ranking sites or use Free Keyword Monitor for Google, and keep track of your keyword positions. Work on link- building, and improve your article’s ranking.

If you find the information in this post useful, please share it with your friends and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

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Article By
Harsh Agrawal is a blog scientist and a passionate blogger. He is blogging since 2008 & writes about Blogging, SEO, Make money online & tech. His blog, ShoutMeLoud receives 1 million Pageviews/month and have over 700K subscribers.


COMMENTs ( 28 )

  1. says

    Dear Harsh..Thanks a lot for your useful information!
    I am facing a major problem related to long tail keywords & i am not able find solution for it. Please guide & support me.Thank You!
    My doubt is “can i change the sequence of words in long term keywords??”
    Suppose my keyword is MUMBAI TOURIST ATTRACTIONS and if i used variation as TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN MUMBAI. Then YOAST does not counts it as focus keyword.
    Please suggest what to do in such cases. Your response is highly appreciated.

    • says

      Yoast won’t count that as a Focus keyword as it looks for exact match. Though you can definitely tweak the sequence & it would be ok. At times changing the Long tail keyword sequence makes it sound more natural.

  2. says

    I’m confused about meta keywords. I stopped using it and eliminated it from my blog. After that i lost almost 30% of my search traffics. Should i start using meta keywords again? Can anybody help me?

  3. Muhammad says

    thankyou harsh for such a good information you provide here. I want to ask, I’m using SEMrush now to find High CPC keyword. and there is keyword with lesser search volume (usually below 1k) but with less competitiveness (less number of the search result). which one is better for SEO: KW with lesser search volume and also lesser competition. or KW with high search volume ( > 1000 ) but also with a higher competition? thanks in advance :)

  4. Nirmal Kumar Pandit says

    Actually, it fact that keyword is the most important thing for improving traffic to your particular post at your website. at the time of blogging you must see, what is should be your keyword and visitor tries it to find out in google or anywhere.

  5. gitesh says

    how many keywords can i add in one post, if i add more keywords it is known as black hat seo…. and google panda effect can also taken.

  6. Chetan says

    I want to ask one question, How to target price in India like that keywords? i have check lots of bloggers blog and wordpress blog they dont concentrate keyword density, but these blog rank in google first page how??

  7. vicky sadhu says

    @harsh 1st of all great post, no doubt it that! now i have a query..i have seen many post in many other popular blogs like tech crunch and many more blogs where they use 2-3 keywords in post URL and different title in post title [] plus different keywords in post title. so is it good to use three different title in a post? as i never seen that in SML post [might be am wrong].

  8. Jay says

    I do keyword Research for my niche blog and I did put my keyword in Google top 10 but I don’t know why it still don’t give me a lot of traffic [it’s insurance related keyword] why such thing happens in seo. give me some quick light. Thank You

  9. stargaterich says

    Keywords are only part of the equation. Anyway, it is always a good practice to pay attention to keywords so that you can are more likely to get rank and index by the search engines. On the other hand, the practice of using relevant keywords have the negative effects of causing you to join the herd whereby new keywords are not explored and might result in loss of opportunity. For instance, there might be some long tail keywords or even the main keywords that are not highly competitive but which shows signs of increasing trend. If you try to stick to popular keywords only, you might miss on the early boat for new keywords which you can rank for highly since you are the early birds to include that in your article titles.

  10. Ashesh says

    When I post a blog, within a few second the article ( link) is searchable in google. But after few days like 1 or 2 days it comes down. Hope you will write about this as well in ur next blog.

  11. NS MUKUNDAN says

    Keywords were important earlier. But few month back Matt said that Google is no longer considering meta keywords while indexing. But still using keywords within content works.

  12. Ashish Gupta says

    its really a big help for the beginners…cause in the beginning its difficult to know each n every thing…

  13. Gaurang says

    Very informative article as Keyword placement is the most important perspective in getting a huge traffic from Search Engines.

  14. Rahul says

    Thanks for the post harsh. Keyword Research is the main thing. Without that your Content will never be found by mass audience no matter how well you right.

  15. Gautam Doddamani says

    great guide bro. i too keep my keyword density above 1% and use wordpress seo by joost devalk for best results. on the contrary keyword stuffing is a nuisance on any blog PR’s. informative article no doubt! :D

  16. Damanjit Singh says

    Keyword research and placement plays an important role in SEO. But normally most of bloggers do not pay attention on keywords. Anyways thanks for this informative post.

  17. Rajan Bindra says

    Hello,Thanks for the info i was not fimiliar with the importance of keyword and this article help me a lot.Hope to see next posts from you soon.

  18. Bilal Sarwari says

    Good work Harsh Agrawal, you have explain very well importance of keyworks, this post will help many new bloggers as well as experts.

  19. Sandeep Singh says

    A perfect guide for begineers mate ! Although many are there in this industry for a long time, they still dont know completly how to use keywords.

  20. vivek says

    i want to ask from you sir that there is any blogger trick to increase my website presence in Google.just like you explain for wordpress

  21. vivek says

    i had written many good and interesting post but never got +result from seo. and really i had never gave importance to keyword in post thank you sir for such a nice post and excellent way of explaining it..

  22. Janis says

    Thanks for the tip. This is very helpful. I was really confused on the density of keyword. For now on, I will use 3%-5% on my post.

  23. Harshad says

    Keywords are important in a post, but not always! I’ve many posts which doesn’t even rank in top SERPs and have no competition what so ever to same keywords/phrases.
    Getting back link to such keywords may help but still not so sure about it.

    Anyway nice article. ;)

    • stargaterich says

      Keywords are still important because the search crawlers and search engine spiders are but mere software that search the Internet to build a database of indexes which will be use to rank search terms. I agree though that backlinks are powerful indicates to the search engines but again then , backlinks to what key search terms? The search engine must use some means to associate what the user type in the search box to the what it will return to the user.