What are Keywords?
Keywords are ideas and topics that define what your content is about. In terms of SEO, they’re the words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines, also called “search queries.” If you boil everything on your page all the images, video, copy, etc. down to a simple words and phrases, those are your primary keywords.
Why are keywords important?
Keywords are important because they are the linchpin between what people are searching for and the content you are providing to fill that need. Your goal in ranking on search engines is to drive organic traffic to your site from the search engine result pages (SERPs), and the keywords you choose to target will determine what kind of traffic you get. If you own a golf shop, for example, you might want to rank for “new clubs” but if you’re not careful, you might end up attracting traffic that’s interested in finding a new place to dance after dark.
Keywords are as much about your audience as they are about your content, because you might describe what you offer in a slightly different way than some people ask for it. To create content that ranks well organically and drives visitors to your site, you need to understand the needs of those visitors, the language they use and the type of content they seek.
What are long-tail keywords?
Keywords can be broad and far-reaching (these are usually called “head keywords”), or they can be a more specific combination of several terms — these are often called “long-tail keywords.”
Singular keywords might appear to be your ultimate goal as they often have temptingly high search volume. However, they usually have extremely tough competition. You may want your boutique-clothing store to rank for “clothes,” but it’s going to be tough to rank above Zappos and Nordstrom.
On top of that strong competition, singular keywords can be infuriatingly vague. If someone is searching for “dog,” you don’t know if they want a list of dog breeds, information about dog food, a place to buy a dog collar, or just a site with cute photos of dogs.
Long-tail keywords usually have more clearly defined intent. For example, “best organic dog food for a puppy,” or “inexpensive dog walkers Boston.” You’ll also find that long-tail keywords have less competition, with room for a smaller site to break in and make their mark on the SERPs. (Refer to Chart)
As keywords define each page of your site, you can use them to organize your content and formulate a strategy. Ideally, you want each page on your site to target a unique primary keyword.