In the context of search engine optimization, SEO, a keyword is a word or phrase that describes what the web page or website is about. Keywords sum up the contents of a page and are part of a web page’s metadata that helps search engines match pages to search queries. Whilst they are still very important, they are not now the only factor in SEO, as they have been overused and created in misleading ways as people attempted to get ranked highly in all kinds of searches. The search engines have therefore evolved to take other factors into account, and to be on high alert for actions such as ‘keyword stuffing’ where the keywords are overused.

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As a simple example, if you run a flower shop in Melbourne then you will want your website to have high quality SEO using all the right keywords. Apart from having your business name, address and local phone number, you will want plenty of articles about flowers and related subjects which include your main keywords. These keywords will be things like ‘flower shop Melbourne’ or ‘flower arrangers Australia’. If you offer national delivery then the mention of Australia a few times is a good idea, whereas if you only sell within Melbourne then you will want to focus more on local districts. It’s mainly down to common sense so far as content is concerned, as the website should be interesting and related to the business for visitors, whilst also incorporating the right keywords and phrases.

So far we’ve only mentioned the content, but keywords should also be used behind the scenes. Within the code of your website you can place the keywords which you think (or know) people will search for in order to find your website. Many website-building platforms make this stage easier for you by having simple fields in which you can put your keywords. This is the so-called metadata, which also has an effect on getting noticed by the search engines. Remember, however, that keywords are simply one part of an effective SEO strategy, and cannot be solely relied upon to do everything you need.