What Is A Keyword In SEO? Keywords Explained!

what is a keyword in seoToday I want to talk about keywords! What is a keyword in seo?

I think when people start out online, it can be quite a confusing thing to get your head around keywords – even though, in reality, it’s quite straight forward.

What makes it all the more easy however, it having a good keyword tool to play with.  I use the Jaaxy keyword tool on a daily basis and find it very beneficial.

You can play along with me now, as you can sign up to a free trial of jaaxy here – and get 30 free searches.  So, you may as well give it a go.

You could also use the Google keyword planner tool – which is free to use but takes a bit getting used to.

So, let’s start with the basics first….

What is a keyword?

Well, whatever someone types into the search box of a search engine is a keyword.

You can use those exact phrases that people are searching for in the search engines and create posts or pages around them.

By choosing the right keyword to target, we can increase our chances of ranking for those terms on page one of the search engines.

By targeting the terms that people are searching for, we essentially fulfil the needs of the searcher, by responding directly to that query.

For example – in the title of this website, I actually have two keywords.  But the main one I’m looking at today is: “what is a keyword in SEO?”

what is a keyword, jaaxy

Jaaxy tells me that this exact keyword has around 199 searches per month.

It also tells me that – if I were to rank on the first page of google, that I could reach around 34 visits a month from this keyword and the competition to this keyword is low at 17, (the closer to zero the better).

It also has a green light there in Jaaxy, which means good to go and an overall score of 93, (100 is the highest).

While this all seems fine, this shouldn’t be the end of your research.

You should also go and plug the phrase into the search engine to check out the SERPS.

SERPS just stands for the search engine results page.  While something may appear to have low competition, you will want to check out what pages are in the top results there, to determine whether you have any chance of outranking them.

I use a moz bar, (free chrome extension) to assess the competition in further detail.

You want to see if you have a chance ranking against the sites on the first page – if all the results far outweigh your own domain and page authority, then you may want to rethink going for that keyword.

moz bar

As you can see above, both the page authority, (PA) and domain authority, (DA) are very high, (100 is highest). This is the same story all the way down the front page for this keyword.

Now, this should say to me to choose something else – however, as I won’t only be relying on the SEO to drive traffic to this particular post, I’m sticking with it anyway.

In General… Go For Low competition Keywords!

By researching what people are typing in and targeting phrases that have low competition, (a low amount of websites targeting them) you can increase your chances of appearing at the top of the search engines and somebody finding your website.

When it comes to SEO, choosing the right keywords, (and ranking for them) can make the difference between having a successful and unsuccessful site.

If you’re targeting a keyword that you’re ranked for on page 9 of Google, very few people, (if any) will find your post.

Choosing Relevant Keywords:

You also need to make sure though, that the keywords you target are highly relevant to your post.

If you choose a keyword about how to make money from blogging, but then actually end up talking about how to create a niche website… then who ever finds your post is not going to get what they were searching for.

Make sure you choose a keyword that fully relates to your post – you want your visitors to leave your site with all the information they came for and not need to go elsewhere to find that information.

Long-Tail Keywords Now = Rewards Down The Line!

A short tail keyword would be something basic like MONEY… Or WEIGHT-LOSS…

Type “money” into google and…  1,550,000,000 come up.  I don’t fancy your chances of ranking under the term “money” any time soon.

However, what about… How to make money online?  This is a long tail keyword, albeit — a highly competitive one.

If I check this out in jaaxy….

how to make money online for beginners

As we can see above, the top keyword, “how to make money online,” has a tonne of exact searches per month, (162985) but is also highly competitive – the red circle indicates that this is not a good keyword to go after.

The one below, is an extra long tail keyword: “how to make money online for beginners.”  This has considerably less people searching for it per month, but has lower competition and is something you’d have a better chance with.

If you’re using Jaaxy, you generally you don’t want to choose a competition with less than (Avg) 50 searches per month – nor over 300 QSR, (competing pages per result).

In the above example, there are 121 searches and a QSR of 200.  This isn’t brilliant, but it’s one heck of a lot better than the first option!

By checking the SERPS for this keyword though, the competition is still pretty high even for this.

Well, this is just the way it is if you’re targeting keywords in the “make money online” niche!

BUT, lets say you do target the longer tail keyword and rank well.  As your site matures and progresses into an authority site, you start ranking for short-tail keywords too.

So, choosing long-tail keywords doesn’t mean that’s all your going to rank for forever, it actually continues to get better over time as your site matures.

Choose your long-tail keyword wisely now – and this can pay off for you in future.

Where To Place Your Keyword:

So, we’re going to do some keyword research in a moment.  But before we do, it’s important to understand where you will place your keyword once you know it!

It’s important that you don’t keyword stuff your keyword all over your article, or it will just seem unnatural – if google picks up on this, you can also be penalised.

In order to get the best change of ranking for your keyword, (after all the research part has taken place) you need to do the following…

  • Make Sure the keyword is in the URL.
  • The keyword should be found in the main title of the page/post.
  • The keyword should be in your meta title and meta description.
  • The first paragraph of your page/post.
  • Use in images alt text.
  • Use the keyword as anchor text in links coming from other posts/pages on your website.

Playing With Jaaxy Keyword Tool…

If you’re not already signed up with Jaaxy, this is a good opportunity to try it out and get your 30 searches free.

So, think of a potential post that you may want to write on your blog or website related to your niche – remember that your keyword needs to be really relevant to everything you talk about…

Do you have a keyword in mind? – Remember to make sure it’s long-tail too and something that you imagine someone will be looking for.

Ok, now you can add your keyword to the search box above and have your turn!

So, I am also now going to choose a keyword… As I’m a cat lover, I thought I’d check out: “Best cat trees for multiple cats…” A long-tail keyword that’s very targeted to a specific audience – someone looking for a cat tree, (you know those big climbing frames for cats!) who also has multiple cats.

I plugged it into Jaaxy to see what came up…

best cat tree for multiple cats jaaxy search

To break this result down…

96 = Avg: the average number of exact searches this term has per month.
17 = Traffic: the amount of traffic this post may receive if you make first page rankings.
8 = QSR: the amount of competing pages with this keyword phrase.
Green circle = KQI: if there is a green circle here, it means you have a reasonable chance of ranking well for this keyword and that it’s probably worth targetting. A yellow circle would mean it would be moderately hard to rank for – a red circle means incredibly hard to rank for.
94 = SEO: This score will be out of 100, with 100 being the best you can get. This is just the all round score quality indicator for this keyword. The closer to 100 here, the better.

So, the average amount of searches per month is over the minimum of 50, which is what we want.  The competition, (QSR) is very low, which is what we want, the circle is green and the SEO score overall is good.

The next stage would be to check the SERPS…

For this keyword, the SERPS revealed a real mixture of sites and some I feel I could compete with – plus, only one result on the first page matched the exact keyword in the title.

If I had my cat related niche site ready, I’d give this one a go and review some of the best cat trees available at the moment.

Other Things To Consider…

If your aim with your blog or site is to get someone to eventually buy something, you’ll want to consider at which point in the “buyers cycle” someone is when they reach your site.

For example, Some buy it now keywords will have the highest type of conversion rate.  These include words such as “buy,” “discount,” “deal.”

Other keywords, that maybe more straightforward to incorporate naturally will include things like, “review,” “top 10,” “comparison/compare” “Best/top,” “cheap/cheapest” or specific brand names or products.

From here you can move on to informational keywords – these are very commonly searched for and while they won’t convert nearly as well into sales, but they aren’t something you can just ignore if you’re planning to create a well-rounded and helpful website.

These would include…

  • How to..
  • What is…
  • Ways to…
  • How can…
  • How do…

And so on!

Build Your Keyword List…

Spend a bit of time carefully creating a list of keywords that you can use to create posts or pages on your site.

If you spend a bit of time doing this now and again, you will never run out of content ideas.

Being able to quickly refer to a list to give you some inspiration about what you’re going to write next is one of the most beneficial and time saving things you can do – it definitely avoids procrastination.

For me, there is a dangerous time lingering between ending one post and starting another – where there can be a real resistance from me to move forward and get started with the next task.

It’s a bit like when you finish a book and it’s hard to get started on a new one?

Well, having a list of articles ready to go certainly eases that transition some what and speeds it up, rather than there just being this empty void you have to pull something out of, staring at a blank computer screen.

Hopefully you’ve got started building your keyword list today!

Did you give jaaxy a go?  If you haven’t already…

Click here for your free Jaaxy trial!

Where You Can Learn More:

If you’re struggling at all with building your site, coming up with an idea for your blog – baffled by SEO or keyword research, you could check out the community where I’m a member.

You can get started for free and learn everything you need to know to build you online business.  Read all about it here!

I hope you found this post useful, let me know in the comments how the keyword research went for you!

All the best…:)

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About the author


Hey all, I'm Nat: Blogger, runner, food loving, mother of two. You're in the right place if you'd like to: make & save money online, start a niche blog/website; or simply learn more about affiliate marketing. :) More about Nat....

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  • People who are familiar with SEO might look at this and think that explaining what a keyword is is pretty basic and silly, but I can remember back to the days when I was just starting out and I had NO idea what a good keyword was until someone eventually explained it to me.

    It’s easy to take the basics for granted when you’ve known them for so long!

    • Hi, I know – the idea of keywords and SEO can be do daunting to people starting out – even though it’s really pretty simple stuff 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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