I have been here on HP over 3 years, and still don't fully comprehend the concept! I get that they are words and/or phrases that reflect the content of your article, aren't tags, and that they're not to be 'stuffed'. Apparently I have some block to this, since some of my articles have keywords, and some don't.
Please give me some examples of titles or concepts that would 'be' a keyword!
Keywords are what your webpage is about (this is a search engine definition). In the beginning they let us tell them what the page was about with meta tags on a page. You'd put a tag in the header of the page that says... keywords="keywords" and then the search engine knows that your article is about keywords. Unfortunately, people figured that out and started putting popular search terms (like "sex") in their keyword tags on a page that was really about keywords.
So the search engines decided to ignore the tags and look at how many times a word was used in the actual text of the article. The most frequent words in the text were considered "keywords". (Then clever people invented "SEO" to stuff the keywords into your article as many times as they possibly could - so the search engines had to come up with an upper limit to how many times a word could be repeated as well.)
So, if I were going to create a page on "keywords". I'd want to make sure it was in the title (which it is here...). And then I'd want to mention it a few times in my article (probably once or twice a paragraph) so the search engines would pick up on my topic. On HubPages, I'd pick it out on the tags section too (because that provides at least one backlink to the article that uses the keyword in the link, another thing the search engines look for).
After all that, I sit back and hope that when someone Googles "keywords" my article might come up in their search results (the main purpose of the keywords - to make your article show up for a given search term).
A keyword is subjective. A keyword is whatever word you think a reader would use to find your hub. You determine what word you think a person would enter into a search query to find your hub, then you write your hub according to that word. You write your hub with that keyword sprinkled throughout, because that is the key/critical word that represents your hub.
For example, if you write a hub titled, "How to Ride a Bike". Think about the title. What would people enter into a search query to find your hub? Would they enter the words, "How to"? Would they enter the word "Ride"? No, because entering those words into the search query would not give them anything close to what they are searching for. If a person entered "How to Ride" they still wouldn't find your hub. If a person entered "Bike" Again, they would not find your hub. However, if a person entered, "Ride a Bike". Bingo! "Ride a Bike" is your keyword phrase. Now, you want to use that phrase sensibly throughout your hub.
If your hub is titled, "All About Bikes", then your keyword would be "Bikes", because the words "All" and "About" are words that, most likely won't help people find your hub. On the other hand, you could use the title as the keyword phrase and then people who type in "All About Bikes" would certainly find your hub. You would want to use the title throughout your hub as that is being used as the critical (key) phrase of your content.
I hope this helps.
Loved your example, MarleneB, it explains the phraseology necessary or simply the terminology that goes in to choosing these words. But are you saying that 'How to' and that sort of thing is not important in keyword development?
"How to" is important to the extent that those words may be words used to find your hub. When people are doing a search, sometimes they include those words to help them find what they are looking for and sometimes they don't. You, the content creator, has to decide how critical it is to include "How to" as your keyword structure.
If you have a hub titled, "How to Tie Your Shoe", then of course you can use the words, "How to Tie Your Shoe" throughout your whole hub, as that whole phrase is your keyword phrase. When you are writing content, you usually don't write "How to..." every time you use a keyword.
If you have a hub called... "MarleneB Types on Her Computer Every Day", you want to determine what words people would type into a search query to find that hub. People are not going to type "How to" because it's not a hub about how to do something. If it is a hub about how to do something, then they may type in the words "How to", or they may just type in what it is they want to learn how to do. If the hub is titled, "How to Type on the Computer", then they may or may not type in the words "How to". They may just enter the words, "Type on the Computer" to find the information they are looking for. I know that when I am doing a search, I hardly ever type "How to", yet I do still find what I'm looking for. If you are going to be using the words "How to" throughout your content, then the words can, of course be considered part of your keyword structure.
Whenever I am considering what keywords to use, I change out the word "key" and replace it with the word "critical". If I think a person is likely to type in the words "How to" in order to find my hub, then I include it as my keyword base and try to use that whole phrase all through the hub.
Wow, you're good, MarleneB! Fabulous explanation-and I think I'll begin to use your trick of substituting 'critical' for 'key'. Critical words...yes!
Thanks, lorlie6. My only hope is that it helped. It took me YEARS to finally get the concept of keywords. I just got it about a month ago. Now, when I think in terms of what people are most likely to type to find my hub, I use that as my keyword or keyword phrase, and then I use that keyword throughout my hub. It's what you believe people would TYPE to FIND you. THAT's the keyword. It's a round about way of determining keywords, but that is what works for me. Web geeks would explain it differently and I would still be in the dark if I followed their explanation.
Thank you for your clear and very helpful explanation of what a keyword is and how to use it.
Let me clarify a bit. A keyword can be any word or phrase. Full stop. "Dog" is a keyword. "Blue dog" is a keyword. "Blue dog with an itch on his butt" is a keyword. The question is -- will any of these help you get traffic?
Marlene's definition is not completely accurate. A keyword that has a chance of bringing you traffic is not what you think a reader will use to find your hub; it's what they are using to find similar articles. It is NOT subjective; it's objective. If you're just guessing at what people are searching for instead of researching it, you might as well just throw darts at a wall.
Lorlie, every time you go to Google and you type something in, it's a keyword. That keyword can be "shoes," or it could be "where can I find shoes on sale." You just want to determine (using tools like Google's keyword tool, which is somewhat broken, or Market Samurai) which words/phrases people are using the most to find something like what you are writing.
As for sprinkling it throughout your hub, that's not completely necessary. I try to have my keyword in my title and once in the first sentence/paragraph of my article and once in the last sentence/paragraph and that's it. If it occurs elsewhere naturally, so be it.
lronher, you are right.
The other day, I was looking for information, and typed in what would be a very long "keyword phrase," "Is it safe to give Kaopectate to cats?"
While the keyword/phrase is what people ARE typing in, that doesn't mean that the search engine will read it correctly...as above...I got pages about cats, pages about the medicine, pages about safety (OSHA style), but nothing that put the two together as I had asked. (The dodge of putting the question in quotes more often than not returns "zero results found.")
While I do "sprinkle" keywords throughout my hubs (at times), it is never consciously planned; they just fall where they may, as they naturally occur in the unfolding of the article.
I would bet that the search engine was reading it correctly. It's more likely that it was such an obscure keyword, that there aren't many people searching for those words or writing using them as a keyword.
So today, I tried again, and actually got the results I was searching. I'm of the mind that Google can't make up its mind what to show on what days, and at different times of the day, you will get completely different results, or none at all.... just to make things even more confusing and complicated.... :: sigh ::
Yes, I know... I wasn't really trying to teach a full course on keywords - just trying to answer the question of "What" a keyword was. Now, if I were to go into how to select a keyword, using the keyword analyzation tool, determining which keyword would be most likely to bring in the most traffic, etc. then that would go beyond the scope of the question. I just tried to stick to answering the main component of the question.
And that's why I didn't say your definition was wrong; I just said it wasn't completely accurate. Your definition was certainly educational -- just not very helpful. I completely understand what you're saying. If you were really challenged to describe a functional keyword, I'm sure you could write a book on the subject. I couldn't; that's for sure.
What I'm trying to say is, I wasn't trying to diss you at all. I was just trying to help Lorlie.
You say the Google tool is 'somewhat broken'-can you tell me what that means? I've considered using MarketSamurai, but have used Google...
This should answer your questions, Lorlie: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/be-careful-u … d-research
This may have been answered, but the hillbilly level explanation of SEO is this; say you are looking for a cheap place to take kids in Omaha NE. If you are in an area not familiar, but you are on a budget.
On your mobile device you type, Kid friendly, cheap burgers...Vegetarian resturaunt within 5 miles of Houston, TX...you would be using Optimum SEO, if your Hub Title was "Houston, cheap family meal" with tags such as under 5 dollars, kid friendly, clean, good service, highchairs, etc.
Hope this helps without hurtin' all our hillbilly SEO log rythmn . LOL.
Thank you. I have a blog, where I break Down Government-speak to the simplest terms, so everyone may have the opportunity to be involved in environmental permitting processes...hoping to help. Smiles
After reading back over my original comment: "...in Omaha NE. If you are in an area not familiar, but you are on a budget. On your mobile device you type, Kid friendly, cheap burgers...Vegetarian resturaunt within 5 miles of Houston, TX..." this is what happens when hillbillies post answers after hitting the still. If you are on vacation in Houston, Texas, in an area you are not familiar with..." edit the Omaha, NE. I apologize for such an erroneous disconnection.
I wrote a hub about pasteurization of foods. I called it ' Process of Pasteurization' and yes, explains how it's done. Nothing fabulous and probably could do better but I thought, at the time, it was bang on what the article contained.
Loved your definition on keywords, Marlene! Totally cool! It sure beats everything I've read since writing online (2010). As for me? I am hooked on "How To." I know that sounds so dull, but when I'm looking for information, it's all about "D-U-H!" with me. keywords=crucial for me!
Arlene, thank you for your encouragement. I am glad you found my answer useful. But, I guess it is only worth half a cent. Anyway, I finally get the concept of keywords after all these years.
Since I used to write articles for newspapers and magazines, the idea was to put some clever or catchy title out there to attract the readers. Even through I am no longer in the business, it is still a tough habit to break. What is offered can be really dull stuff to me. Yet, by using the Google tool, this is the way it is done. So, you have to learn how to do keywords, and like everything else, everyone has their own opinion because of their own experiences. I don't have the years in like a lot of Hub authors. Since my learning process is very slow when it comes to online, I need to try what is offered and find what works for me.
And, I want to add that you do very well. I was just thinking about that this morning - how with other forms of writing you have to have a title that would catch a reader's attention. You could be cute, fun, whimsical, and proud of your title. It's still the same way with print media, but online writing is different. I mean, we could still do the catchy title thing, but we'd barely have an opportunity to be read. Nowadays, we have to think about keywords and how they are placed in our content because the robots can't read and so they just count the number of words in the article and how many times a keyword is used and that's what makes it relevant. Oh well, if we want to be successful as internet writers, we have to conform to the prescribed methods set in place by the big bad search engines.
You have to watch what you write about, as well as your motives for writing. I only 'got a handle' on keywords within the last year, myself. However, I tend to write on topics that interest me, and about which I already have some knowledge, therefore requiring minimal research.
The Catch-22 here is, are you writing about something people actually want to know? I feel that is my own downfall, and why I'm not raking in piles of money for my hubs. I will not write about things of no interest to me, so you'll not find any of my hubs to be about fashion designers, the next hot video game, or any other such things.
For example, today I just finished and published a hub about Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. Did I do a good job with it? I believe so. Are there keywords sprinkled throughout? Yes. Is it going to be a hugely popular topic everyone and his brother is searching for, just dying to know the ins and outs? Doubtful.
But, I enjoyed writing it, and if some people enjoy it as well, and/or learn something new and interesting to them, then my purpose is satisfied, keywords notwithstanding.
In the example that DzyMsLizzy gives, you can still make the most of your keywords even if you think they're not searched often. For example, if you wanted to publish a recipe for hot chocolate, go ahead and plug the term into a keyword tool. With just a few minutes of research, you might learn that the term "hot chocolate" is rarely searched, but the term "hot cocoa" is heavily searched. The terms are basically interchangeable but you might find that one is used much more often than the other. You could use the most popular term in the header and place the secondary term in the subhead to try and catch that traffic as well. (BTW, just a random, made-up example I used there.)
LOL. I'm sorta worried that I'm giving keyword advice. Yikes!
You have made good points about not ditching creativity, or the joy of writing, to hit top SEO: only submitting title and tag of what people are buying. :0)
Yes, you could use those 'keyword phrases' that people might use to search for that term. But you'd only be guessing. If you go to the Google Keyword Tool, try typing in the phrase you think they're looking for, and see what comes up...you may be surprised.
It's fairly simple to use the keyword tool, though I won't explain here. There's lots of useful sites to teach you how to use it.
For example, if you type in "How to tie my shoes", you'll see a bunch of listings below, and how many monthly searches there have been recently. These results are based on what users have actually typed into the Google search box, not just similar phrasing.
For this particular phrase, you might see 750 or so, per month. Now if, instead, you type in "How to tie your shoes", you'll see a huge increase, to about 6,000 searches. This is the phrase you want to use in your title, in order to reach to most viewers. You should also use that phrase (and variations on it), 2 or 3 times in a 1000 word article. Google's search algorithm has gotten pretty smart at putting related stuff together, so the more you can fully cover a subject, including related issues, the better your standing in the search results, when someone goes searching for that 'keyword' phrase.
Just don't go for a ridiculously high search volume (10,000+). There's way too much competition for that phrase, and you won't even make it to the tenth page of search results (no one searches past the first 3 or so pages). Hope that helps a bit more...
Thank you for your wonderful explanation about how to look at competition. That is another area that has escaped my comprehension for a long time. No one ever really says how to relate to the results found in the keyword tool. I often wondered how much is too much competition. Now, with a number, I can guage and discern what keyword might work best for the subject I'm writing. Thank you - a lot.
A keyword is anything a person types into the Google search bar. The end.
Oversimplified perhaps, but if what a user types into Google matches ANY of the words in your hubs, in any part, and thereby finds your hub, those are the keywords that are relevant to that user.
I know it took me for freaking-ever to get the difference between keywords and tags through my skull. But keywords "sort of" just happen in the course of writing your article....although you can plan them out...
Tags, you put deliberately into a separate listing area, off to the side of the actual Hub capsules, and they can be changed, added to and tweaked virtually forever.
I'm finally, finally, finally feeling more comfortable with keywords and using the tool offered by Google. I'm always open to what others have to say, and I'm glad you opened this thread.
So am I, Arlene! Hubbers are notoriously helpful in giving advice-and since this keyword issue is quite dicey in definition, the posts here are invaluable. When folks have differing opinions, it comes together beautifully-at least for me. I'm an information junkie, anyway-always trying to understand the 'why' of things.
Lilly, I enjoyed your input/explanation. I am a river rat from the Sacramento River Delta in California. This is my version of being a hillbilly. LOL! Can't forget about those roots. About this time of year, I'd be skidding my bicycle over rotten pears as entertainment.
BTW, I want to thank each and every Hubber for their input-amazing stuff.
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