Just What Are Keywords Anyway?

One of my readers wrote me and asked, “Just what are keywords anyway?”

So I thought I would review this basic definition and why it’s very important for website owners.

When someone wants information or to purchase something, she usually initiates a search on her computer or other device. She types a few words in a search bar.

It might be “sleeper,” “sleeper sofa,” or “comfortable red sleeper.” These are all keywords. It doesn’t matter if they are a phrase or not, generally they are all thought of as keywords.

What you, the website owner, should know is precisely which keywords most of your potential customers are typing in. You might think “sleeper sofa” is the best word, but maybe it’s “sleeper couch.” The only way to know for sure is to do the research.

There are various companies that offer this service. Google has a free tool in its AdWords tool kit. Just now I went to the tool and typed in “sleeper sofa” and “sleeper couch.” Then I submitted the keywords.


Here’s what I found. In the United States, last month:

“Sleeper sofa” was searched 135,000 times
“Sleeper couch” was searched 33,100 times*

So sleeper sofa would be a better term to optimize a page for. Of course, “sleeper couch” also got a lot of visits, so you might want to optimize for that term, too, probably on a separate page.

But wait! When Google sent me results, they also sent me additional results of related searches.

“Bed and sofa” was searched 201,000 times! That might be a term you never thought of and it yielded more searches than the two above combined. So it might be worth it to build a page for that term.

EASY WEB TIP #140: Keywords are the terms people actually use in a search. When you want to build a new page on your website, you should research which are the best keywords for a particular page. If you put those keywords on your page (just a two or three, please) and in your tags, you have a better chance of having that page do well in search results.

*Since this article was written, Google has changed the way they count searches. The old was was highly inflated, so is this example.

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