2018 SEO, Part 4: Keywords and Meta Data
Published: January 24, 2018
Author: Nicole Lavallee
The keywords you use for your pages, and how you use them, are important factors in your ability to generate traffic to those pages. In this post, we’ll cover the basics of keywords and meta data.
Keywords are terms that people use when searching for information on a search engine. A keyword/term can be a single word (e.g. cards) or a group of words/phrase (e.g. deck of cards, how to shuffle cards). Keywords are used in on-page body content and meta data.
Meta data includes page titles and meta descriptions.
Meta descriptions are the short ‘page summary’ information that shows up under the page title and URL in search engine results.
Which keywords are best?
The best keywords to use for a page are dependent on the page’s unique purpose. If your page is about different ways to shuffle a deck of Tarot cards, you will want to use keywords that are relevant to this theme.
At the same time, it is important to have an understanding of the search volume of the keywords you choose to use. If you optimize your page around keywords nobody is searching for, the likelihood of anyone finding your page through organic search results is low.
Similarly, if you choose to optimize your page around keywords that are very broad, your page will face some stiff competition to rank for those terms. You want to be mindful of terms that could have multiple meanings/uses as well. For example, “cards” could pertain to a “deck of cards” or “greeting cards”. If you did manage to rank for this particular search term, your page may not even be what the user is looking for. The odds of generating traffic to it, and reaching any conversion goals you have set out to achieve, are not favorable.
Striking a balance is key. You want to select keywords that:
- Have search volume
- Are highly relevant to what your page offers
- Meet user intent/need
- Are unique and not already in use elsewhere on your site
- You want to avoid creating internal competition among your pages!
Keyword Research Tools
There are several keyword research tools available that provide insights into search volume and generate ideas for other potential keywords to target. Two that are widely used in SEO are:
One resource that can be used to understand user intent/need is answerthepublic.com.
For pages that already exist, you can use Google Search Console to gain insights about the keywords/terms your page already has visibility for and see how effective they are at generating traffic to your page. This may help you discover optimization opportunities.
After you have identified keywords that users are searching for and that best encapsulate your page and its unique purpose, you will use them in the body copy on the page and incorporate them into your page’s meta data
In this example, keywords that were used in the meta data include:
- How to shuffle tarot cards
- Shuffling tarot cards
Keywords in Action
Use of relevant keywords consistently for your page gives clear signals to users and search engines about what your page has to offer.
With time, through strong keyword selection and the magic of search engines, you may even find that your page is getting visibility (and traffic!) for related keywords/terms that you did not specifically target: