What are Keywords?

computer with the word keywords highlighted

Welcome, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and those that have been following our series breaking down SEO into it’s smallest parts! Today, we’re diving into the world of keywords and their critical role in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you’re looking to boost your online presence and attract more customers, understanding keywords is essential. So, grab your water or your coffee, and let’s embark on this keyword adventure!

What Are Keywords?

Imagine you’re a librarian, and your job is to categorize books so that readers can find exactly what they’re looking for. Keywords are like the labels you’d put on those books. In the digital world, they are the specific words and phrases that people type into search engines when they’re looking for information, products, or services.

For instance, let’s say that you run a cozy little marketing firm in San Antonio, keywords might include “best website design in San Antonio,” “logo design in San Antonio,” or “San Antonio SEO near me.” These are the phrases potential customers might use to find businesses like yours.

Why Keywords Matter

Keywords are the bridge between what people are searching for and the content you provide. Here’s why they are crucial for your business:

  • Visibility: Using the right keywords helps search engines like Google understand what your website is about, making it more likely that your site will appear in search results.
  • Targeted Traffic: Keywords attract the right audience. If someone searches for “gluten-free bakery in Portland” and you’ve optimized for that keyword, you’re likely to draw in people specifically looking for gluten-free options.
  • Competitive Edge: By researching and using effective keywords, you can stand out from competitors who may not be as SEO-savvy.

The Role of Keywords in SEO

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how keywords fit into your SEO strategy:

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the first step in your SEO journey. This involves identifying which keywords your potential customers are using. Here are some tools to help you get started:

  • Google Keyword Planner: A free tool that provides insights into keyword search volumes and trends.
  • Ahrefs: Offers in-depth keyword analysis and competitor insights.
  • SEMrush: Provides keyword suggestions and data on how difficult it might be to rank for each keyword.

When researching, aim for a mix of:

  • Short-tail keywords: Broad searches (e.g., “website design”). These are harder to rank for, but it can be done. Recently, a blog post for a Concierge Client of ours ranked for the term “Winter Itch.”
  • Long-tail keywords: More specific searches (e.g., “best website design in San Antonio”). These often have lower search volumes but higher conversion rates because they target more specific queries. a dog reading a computer

On-Page SEO

Once you have your keywords, it’s time to sprinkle them thoughtfully across your website. Here’s where to place them:

  • Titles and Headers: Incorporate keywords naturally in your page titles and headers.
  • Meta Descriptions: These are the snippets of text that appear under your page link in search results. Make sure they’re compelling and keyword-rich.
  • Content: Use keywords within your blog posts, product descriptions, and other content. Aim for a natural flow – avoid keyword stuffing (cramming too many keywords unnaturally).
  • URLs: Include keywords in your page URLs where possible.

Off-Page SEO

Keywords also play a role in off-page SEO, which includes actions taken outside your own website to impact your rankings:

  • Backlinks: When other websites link to yours using keywords in the anchor text (the clickable text in a hyperlink), it signals to search engines that your site is a trusted authority on that topic.
  • Social Media: Use keywords in your social media profiles and posts to increase your visibility and drive traffic back to your site.

Tips for Keyword Success

  • Focus on Relevance: Ensure your keywords are closely related to what your business offers. If you run a bakery, targeting keywords about automotive repair won’t help!
  • Analyze and Adapt: SEO is an ongoing process. Regularly check how your keywords are performing using tools like Google Analytics and adjust your strategy accordingly. We incorporate a robust reporting process into our Concierge SEO programs.
  • Think Like Your Customers: Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What phrases would they use to find your products or services? Use those insights to guide your keyword strategy. You might find that the terms people use to find you aren’t the same as the terms you use.


Leo toasting the reader

Keywords are the backbone of SEO. They help search engines connect users with the most relevant content, which, for you, means more visibility, more traffic, and ultimately, more customers. By understanding and leveraging the power of keywords, you can enhance your online presence and give your small business the boost it deserves. If you find yourself wondering how your site is performing, don’t forget to run a free audit using the tool found on the Strottner Designs Homepage.

And here is the part you knew was coming, in the event you’ve read our other posts…this is the third in our SEO 101 series. We’ll probably have 20 posts in total, by the time we’re done, and all of them address factors that are critical to SEO success. If that seems overwhelming, you’re not alone, and we are here to help. Email us at support@strottner.com to see how we can take this burden off of your shoulders, get your site ranking, and help you grow your business!