Keywords: Search Term - What, How it Works, Types, Operators and Role in SEO
All about Keywords!
Jagadeesh Mohan Kumar Nambiar
Head of Search - SEM, SEO, Social Media & Analytics
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India
Knol Publishing Guild (KPG)
Serving the publishing aspirations of Knol writers, Planet Earth
What are Keywords?
Keywords are words that are used to search information in Search Engines that refers to a specific topic. Keywords can vary like Singular Keywords, Plural keywords, Strong Keywords, Weak Keywords, Global Keywords, Local Keywords; Misspelled Keywords, Sesonal Keywords and Long Tail Keywords.
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How Keywords work?
When you search for information using a Keyword, the Search Engine looks for all the indexed pages in the database contacting the specific word or words (Called as keywords). If you try for a Keyword 'SEO and SMO' then the search engine will look for the pages that contain the words 'SEO and SMO'. Despite you will see topics that relates to only SEO and as well you will also find topics that only relates to SMO. If you need the search result that includes both 'SEO and SMO' then you have to use an advance operator " ". Here an example advance search Keyword "SEO and SMO" to check the web search results that has all words and following the exact order of words. You can read more on advance operator section below..
Types of Keywords
Keywords are of many types that vary to the individual human behavior. Keywords are not created they are formed. Sometimes Today's Keywords will not be Tomorrow's. Even there are Keywords that get disappeared. For example, if a Keyword is based on a specific technology and the technology is outdated than people will not be searching for those words and obviously the Keywords will be disappeared or can be changed to some other form based on the versions and future technology. Likewise same for many industries. Here are the types of Keywords that can give you more idea.
(1) Singular Keywords:
Form of a word that is used to search a single piece of product or niche information. Singular Keywords had to be used according to the need and generally Keyword formation should be smart.
For example, a singular keyword can be something like - book and can't be like - Cricket shoe. People will search for shoes and not shoe.
(2) Plural keywords:
Form of a word that is used to search more than one specific object or range of information. Compared to the above example Plural keywords can be used like - Cricket shoes and it is meaningful and the simple difference between the singular and the plural is an “s” or “es” at the end of the word.
Now a day, Google and other major search engines are smart enough to find the relationship between plural and singular. Google also index and values singular keywords for some of the targeted plural keywords based on the people search behavior. That is, users who search for the plural keywords may still get benefit out of web pages that focus the singular keywords.
(3) Strong Keywords:
Strong keywords have high volume of search and it takes up from single word to even some Geo specific keywords. This depends entirely on the user volume those who are looking for the information. Promoting web page for strong keywords is not so easy as the competition would be much high and as well will have large number of results.
Here few examples for Strong Keywords:
(4) Weak Keywords:
Weak Keywords are low volume keywords but it can produce a decent reference for business enquiries. Normally more than two or more words search keyword comes under weak keywords criteria. For creating week keywords, you can try to add your location to strong keywords and measure the search volume using a keyword tool.
This will work for many industries and you can obtain a decent traffic for start and gradually you can focus strong keywords. There are even week keywords that are not location specific since those keywords might have less competition and search results based on industries you target.
(5) Global Keywords:
Global Keywords are not location specific and most of the keywords are targeted for Dot com search engines and the importance of site listing for Global keywords are not restricted to regional specific search engines.
(6) Local Keywords:
Local Keywords are location specific and the keywords can be targeted for regional search engines. Normally local keywords are specific to your languages and targeted country.
Example for local keywords
Web design London
SEO New York
(7) Misspelled Keywords:
Misspelled Keywords are formed when huge volume of search engine users have problem with spellings and make typo mistakes while searching for information. And also some spell different and it depends on country. In US the spell is 'color' and in Australia it is written as 'Colour'
One good example is 'accommodation' word. Some type as 'accomodation' and 'accomadation'
(8) Sesonal Keywords:
Seasonal Keywords occur only on certain times of the year. A good example is a greeting card site and seasonal product-selling site. Seasonal Keywords competition changes based on the volume of the search.
In Christmas period, users will be searching for Christmas greeting cards and Christmas gifts. Other than November and December these keywords will have least importance.
(9) Long Tail Keywords :
Long tail keyword are combination of highly searched keyword phrases that generates relevant phrases. These long tail in keywords can provide a significant amount of traffic and when promoted well these keywords can provide a good amount of traffic for original keywords that are used to combine to form a long tail keyword.
These type of long tail keywords are used for article title and press release heading and a good long tail keywords can generate higher conversion rate than a normal keyword (Called as short tail keyword).
Keyword Search Operators
Keywords search Operators help a lot with search and to become a real Keyword search expert you can use the following operators like,
(1 ) Plus (+) Operator
+ Operator with a word / keyword helps to search the web results with those specific keyword around content, title, Meta tags and links.
From Figure (A) you can see a search keyword "business directories" and the results would be varied based on the words directory and directories. The actual search was for "business directories" and not "business directory" but yet you can see results for both directories and directory.
When you use an operator "+" you can see changes in results as seen in Figure (B). The result shows for the word directories.
(2) Minus (-) operator
- Operator with a word / keyword helps to omit those words from search results.
When you use an operator "-" you can see the web results as seen in Figure (C.) The result will not show search terms that include the word “directories” and show only related to the word “business”.
(3) Related (~) operator
~ Operator with a word / keyword helps to find search results that are related to the search term.
When you use an operator "~" with the word “directories” as seen in Figure (D), then you can see the results that includes words like "search, guide, white pages and so".
(4) OR operator
OR operator in-between search terms help the user with the results containing either one word.
When we use OR operator in-between “business” and “directories” words as seen in Figure (E) then the web search results will be displayed containing word business OR directories.
Keywords Role in SEO
Being Keywords as one of the major factor for SEO, here an explanation in one of my Knol about how effectively Keywords can be used for Search Engine promotion.
(a) SEO copy writing - Two Ways
(b) Four Keyword Strategies
(i) Keyword Density
(ii) Keyword Prominence
(iii) Keyword Frequency
(iv) Keyword Proximity
(c) Maintaining the position.
Example on SEO Copy Writing Using Keywords
About the author
Jagadeesh M, more commonly known as Jag, is an SEO professional, enjoys teaching and recommends ethical SEO. Jag is also a moderator on Search Engine Watch Forums and SERoundtable Forums. Jag has also developed Google Gadget named "SEO Tip a Day". This can be used in your igoogle, blog as well as in your site and this will help your visitors to learn one SEO tip a day.
Jag SEO Blog is started for sharing his SEO knowledge with Webmasters, Web designers, Developers, Online business owners, SEO friends and communities. More about Jag
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