Are You Confused About
What Exactly a Keyword Is?

What is a Keyword?:

People (surfers) use the internet to find information to solve a problem, fulfill a need, satisfy a desire, or answer a question.

They use search engines (ex., Google, Yahoo! Search, Bing) to identify web pages that have the information they seek (your "content"). They find these web pages by typing a "keyword" into a search box.

In many, even most, cases, a keyword is NOT a single word. It is more than one word. It's a phrase, a question, a description-- a combination of several words. The whole phrase or combination of words is your keyword.

Search engines use automated software programs known as spiders or bots to survey the Web and build their databases. Web documents are retrieved by these programs and analyzed.  Data collected from each web page are then added to the search engine index.  When you enter a query (keywords) at a search engine site, your input is checked against the search engine's index of all the web pages it has analyzed.  The best urls are then returned to you as hits, ranked in order with the best results at the top.

How Surfers’ Search Using Keywords

Keywords for surfers is the term a surfer enters into a Search Engine when searching for something. These would be words like...

"Jewelry" and "Handmade Jewelry" and "Wire Wrapped Jewelry" and “Start A Home Jewelry Business”

The term "keyword" includes single words as well as multi-word phrases. Most searches are not actually single-word searches. Why? Because most searchers quickly learn to enter two or more words in their searches in order to get better (more precise) results. We call that entry a "keyword" even if it has 5 words in it.

Surfers use the Web to find information. When a surfer searches for a certain keyword, the engine delivers a "Search Engine Results Page" (SERP). This page is a list of relevant and good-quality Web pages. Each listing offers a title, a brief description and a link, like this...

Most surfers do not go past the 2nd or 3rd page of search engine results. So you have to hope that your page(s) are ranked among the Top 10 (no worse than the Top 30). When a surfer enters a keyword into Google, Yahoo! Search, Bing, s/he finds your relevant Keyword-Focused Content Page near the top. And then...

S/he reads the title and description (provided by you). Then she clicks on that link to visit you.

This is called organic, natural or un-paid traffic and is the very best traffic that money canNOT buy...

  • It's "information" and not an ad. It is, therefore, more credible and visitors do not feel "pitched" on arrival (people raise their guard when they click on an ad).

  • It's highly targeted. Your visitor is obviously looking for the information you are providing as they entered a relevant keyword, read your page's title and description, then clicked. It does not get "warmer" than that!

  • It's free.

The earlier (or higher on the page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors (traffic) it will receive from the search engines. This gives a website “web presence.”

"What's the difference between an ad and a high ranking?"

When you search at the engines, you'll see ads and high-ranking pages. The high-ranking pages (discussed above) are the actual editorial or "organic" search results. If they were newspapers, they'd be the news. They are what the surfer seeks. They are the real search results, the ones that the engines have determined are the most relevant and have the best quality, given the search term entered by the surfer.The ads, of course, are prominent. The engines do have to make money, after all. Ads often appear above, to the right, or below the actual editorial listings... or all three! Spot the ads here...

Engines do try to make the ads appear as regular text listings as much as legally possible. But the law forces them to split ads off from the editorial listings somewhat. And they have to label them as "Sponsored Links" or “Ads” and make it easy for the surfer to distinguish them from search results (screenshot above).

Surfers surf for the editorial results. They learn to sort out the "editorial" from the "ads." But, if the ad is highly relevant to a surfer, s/he will likely see and click upon it.

Otherwise, they click on the editorial listing.

In my example above, a surfer typed “beading designs” in the search box, because both those words are in my “Site Concept Keywords” (beading design jewelry), and with the page being properly optimized the search engine results ranked my home page as the top result. The surfer, obviously looking for information on beading designs, will see her search term in my title, in my description about this page and in my website link. I am pretty positive that this surfer will feel that this site has the information she is looking for and click on it to read all the information I supply about beading designs.

"Why don't the engines provide only ads?"

For the same reason newspapers provide news. If newspapers provided only ads, people would not read them -- they'd be flyers! People don't like ads. When Search Engines and newspapers provide the right ad to the right person at the right time and in the right place, people do in fact act upon them. If that didn't happen, the engines would soon be out of business.The good news (if you are an affiliate advertiser) is that surfers do click on ads. And the better news? While newspapers have to create their own content, Search Engines let you do it for them. It takes millions and millions of small businesses to create the incredible kind of diversity that could cover every conceivable search.

Webmasters Look at Keywords From a Different Point of View

Search engines drive traffic to niche websites based on the specific keywords matched through a keyword search. However, for potential customers to reach the specific website, effective keywords or keyword phrases must be in place to direct them right to the site. The aim of evaluation is to narrow down the list of keywords or long tail phrases (keyword phrases) to a targeted list of words or phrases most commonly used within the niche. The significance in using niche keywords and phrases is that it brings high-quality customers to the specific websites for the products or services desired.

Webmasters or site owners (you) look at keywords a little different than surfers and understand that Keywords have specific functions when building a website:

Seedword Keyword

This is a word or phrase you use when brainstorming your site concept, it is used for researching and gathering.

It can be broad (jewelry, fashion, hotels) or narrow (bead jewelry, fashion designer, cheap hotels) A broad keyword is great to use for generating phrases that may spark new areas of your site that you hadn't considered and it also gives you tons of narrow keywords to look into.

A narrow keyword is just a more specific, more detailed phrase of the broad keyword.

Jewelry is broad, Bead Jewelry is narrow, Photographing bead jewelry is very narrow.

A broad seedword is used for researching and gathering (it will likely bring back 800 phrases), you don't use it for a site concept keyword or page main keyword.

A narrow seedword is used for further researching and gathering, but also has the ability to fulfill many of the keyword functions. (site concept, tier keyword, page main keyword, anchor keyword, extra credit keyword etc...)

A very narrow seedword may not seem to be good brainstorm usage, but one never knows what will be brought back with it. While it's unlikely a very narrow seedword will have enough demand to be a site concept, never say never until you research it.

Very narrow seedwords do tend to make great page keywords (main and secondary) and extra credit keywords!

Site Concept Keyword

A keyword that describes in not too broad and not too narrow terms what you site it about.

“Jewelry” is way too broad to use as a site concept keyword, you'd be overwhelmed with competition, choices for tiers and content that is never ending.

“Jewelry Care” is narrower than jewelry, it covers a specific area, but just because it's narrower and not too narrow doesn't automatically make it a great site concept keyword.

Research is required before elevating any phrase into the very important function of your site concept.

Tier 2 keywords

The function of this type of keyword is to define an area (category) within your site concept with the ability to branch into a collection of tier 3 pages.

"Sell Bead Jewelry" or even "Design Bead Jewelry" are good examples of a T2 keyword phrases: they cover specific categories within a site concept of “Bead Jewelry” and can branch into a dozen or so more detailed pages which would be T3s'.

"Benefits of Magnetic Jewelry" is a bad example of a T2 keyword, its too specific, doesn't allow for branching, its a dead end phrase with low potential as a T2. It would be better used as a T3.

Tier 3 keywords

The function of this type of keyword is typically to give specific definition/information related to a category.

Say your tier 2 category was “How to Sell Bead Jewelry”, a tier 3 keyword might be something along the lines of “sell bead jewelry wholesale” or “sell bead jewelry online”, or “sell bead jewelry on consignment”.

After researching your tier 3 keywords you may find you could branch a particular topic in to more information. For example: when I started building this website I had planned to use the topic of “selling jewelry on the internet” as a Tier 3 page. But, as I was researching this topic and keyword I realized that I could write 10-20 pages of information just about selling jewelry on the internet. So I turned this particular topic and keyword into a Tier 2 keyword.

Page Keyword (main)

The function of this keyword is to tell what the page is about. The content on the page should be focused on that keyword.

One main keyword per page.

This keyword is important and is used in several places on each page. (See “How to Optimize Your Webpage”)

If your main keyword for a page is “jewelry making parties”, you should not be writing about selling jewelry on consignment on that page, keep the page content related to the main keyword you've chosen.

Page Keywords (secondary)

The function of the secondary keywords is to back up the main keyword. You want to use two or three phrases that are related/slight variations of the main keyword.

If the main keyword was “jewelry making parties” secondary keywords may be: ”children jewelry making parties”, “birthday jewelry making parties”, “jewelry making party plan”

Jewelry or parties would not make good secondary keywords, they're too broad to draw any traffic.

Anchor Keyword

An Anchor keyword is a keyword you use in a link (either by itself as the whole anchor text or with other words to form a sentence)

Each page should use that pages' main keyword at least once as an anchor keyword.

Each page should use the site concept keyword at least once as an anchor keyword that steers the visitor back to your home page.

If you are sending someone from one page to another in your site regardless of direction (up, down or across tiers), use the main keyword from the page you are sending the person to as an anchor keyword.

Anchor text by the way is the highlighted phrase that makes up a link, its the part that you click on to be taken elsewhere.

For example, you will see at the bottom of each page on this website I have several anchor text links:

    Return to top of pages main keyword (title of page)
    Return to tier 2 page’s main keyword (title of page)
    Return to Beading Design Jewelry (site concept keyword) home page

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