Understanding Keywords

Understanding Keywords

Understanding Keywords

for Online Content Creation


Understanding keywords – how they work and what search engines are looking for – is critical in your content being found online.  Whether you’re writing an article for an article directory site like EzineArticles.com or you’re creating content for your own or a client’s site, you need to have a solid understanding of keywords – and that’s what this post is about.

When it comes to understanding keywords, you first need to know what a keyword is.  The dictionary definition comes close enough for our purposes:


“an informative word used in an information retrieval system to indicate the content of a document.”


In this instance, the information retrieval systems are the search engines.  And the only way they have to know what type of content you have on your site (or whatever online content you’re creating) is by way of keywords or keyword phrases.


The term “keyword” can be used to describe one word or several words.  Technically, several words together constitutes a keyword phrase but we’re lazy marketers and so we tend to call two, three, four or more keyword phrases simply keywords.


If I’m in the sleep niche, for instance, my main keyword is likely NOT going to be the keyword “sleep” as it’s just too competitive to rank for.  Therefore, you’d want to focus on a less competitive and more targeted term – like maybe “natural sleeping remedies” or “alternative sleep solutions”.  Whatever keyword you’ll be targeting, you’ll need to do your keyword research in advance.


DON’T waste your time going after a keyword that you haven’t researched – you’ll end up wasting endless hours creating content for a keyword that you may have zero chance of ranking for (like the term “sleep” for example).


Although there are dozens upon dozens of different keyword research tools out there, Google’s very own Keyword Tool will give you more than enough information.


Understanding keywords is not that difficult if you think about it the right way.  Just think of it as the search engines taking whatever someone types in and then searching the entire web for pages containing that term (one or more words).  So if someone typed in “buy nike shoes online”, the search engines are going to bring back pages which contain the term “buy nike shoes online”.  The top sites that come back for “buy nike shoes online” may not be the best shoe sites on the Net.  But their site and pages are keyword optimized so that they rank higher in the search engines than other sites who may have, say, a better shoe selection or cheaper prices.


If you’re writing articles, each article, just like each of your pages on your site, needs to be optimized for a particular keyword.  So if you want to write about bartending, start with the term bartending in the Google Keyword Tool and then look through the results for ideas for other keywords related to bartending.  As a general rule, the lower the number of searches per month that a keyword gets, the easier it will be to rank for.


So if you’re just starting out creating a site, try to collect as many keywords as you can for your niche.  As a newbie, you’ll want to look for terms that have between 100-1000 exact match searches each month.  These will be a lot easier to rank for and will start the trickle of traffic coming to your site.  Once you get better at understanding keywords and how to rank for them, you can start competing for more general keywords which have a larger number of searches each month.


After reading through this post, I hope you have a better understanding of keywords and how the search engines view keywords.  Keep in mind that this post barely scratches the surface of understanding keywords and properly optimizing your online content.   Keep an eye out for follow up posts where I’ll break down the research phases in a lot more detail.

If you have anything to add about understanding keywords or any comments or questions, feel free to post them below.



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Leave A Reply (4 comments so far)

  1. Kathryn Maclean
    6 years ago

    Thanks for this article on keywords. I am taking an SEO course and we are talking about keywords. This made it a little clearer for me. I posted your post on my facebook feed for others to see.
    Thanks again

    • Reese Richards
      6 years ago


      I’m glad you found some use in my post. I know I had a hard time wrapping my head around keywords when I first started learning about them. Thanks for the share on FB.



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