Keywords and Key Phrases: What Are They and How Do I Use Them?

Keywords and key phrases are discussed frequently in conjunction with terms like search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). These concepts have become so ubiquitous, in fact, that people often assume everyone understands them and knows how to use them.keywords-keyphrasesUnfortunately, most business owners and managers have little time to research such potentially complex concepts. Read on for a brief introduction to keywords and phrases, and an explanation of how they can help grow your business.

What Are Keywords and Key Phrases?

Keywords and phrases are those that are significant to your business objectives. They may describe the product you sell or they may represent a problem your company solves for the customer. For example, steel-toed boots is an accurate descriptor for a store that sells footwear to construction workers. These terms help you attract potential customers, so it’s also important that your prospects are likely to use these words when conducting an Internet search. A shoe store might select the phrase composite toe protection because it more accurately describes their product; however, if few customers use that phrase when searching for work boots, it won’t be effective.Your keywords must be relevant to what you do, but also to what your prospects are likely to search for.

How Do You Use Key Phrases and Words?

Now that you have a basic idea of what they are, where and how do you use these important words and phrases? Well, everywhere you can, but with a few caveats. Your website content should include the main ideas that you hope to target within reason. This is a critical concept, because your online content must be valuable and engaging. In the past, companies tried to cheat Google’s algorithms by excessively stuffing keywords into their content. The result, which you may recall, was unnatural, nonsensical and repetitive content that had little or no value to the consumer. Today, Google will penalize your site in the search rankings if you overuse key phrases (known as over-optimization or keyword-stuffing) but also if your content isn’t fresh, relevant and engaging.

How Do You Identify Keywords and Phrases?

You can make yourself crazy with this one, because the world is full of self-proclaimed experts, eager to advise you on this topic. One of the most effective ways to identify the right keywords is to see what your competitors are using. Select one or two of your most successful rivals and check out the phrases that proliferate their website and blogs.

Next, place yourself in the mind of your customers. What will your ideal targets type into the search engine when they set out to find a product or service like yours? You may also want to consult the Google keyword research tool, which is free to use but a little difficult to figure out, or one of the many paid services. If you are a location-based business, don’t forget to consider geographical terms when conducting your research.

Although these are simple concepts, proper use and execution of key terms requires significant industry-specific knowledge and experience. Before you invest your valuable time and money into doing your own research, consider trusting these tasks to an expert. Be Locally specializes in using these and other Internet marketing tools to increase traffic to your site, building your business and maximizing your return on investment. Contact us today to learn more about building your business with keywords and key phrases.


Want to know more about content writing? Our expert recommends:

Keyword Density Issues to Avoid
Why You Can’t Just Copy the Competitor’s Keywords
Why “Keywords” Really Means “Key Phrases”

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