SEO for Small Business: What are keywords and why are they important?


Keywords are the heart of search engines. They can be defined as the common search phrases that people type into a search box when they visit a website like Google. Google uses these keywords to match searchers with websites.

How does Google know which keywords are associated with each website? It keeps an index of most of the millions of websites in existence and it continuously updates this index 24 hours a day. When a searcher types in the keywords “red golf shoes”, Google searches its index and returns the results the webpages it feels are the best match for “red golf shoes”. These are typically webpages that have “red golf shoes” prominently mentioned. In other words – the keywords on the website page match the keywords the person typed in the search box.

So, what does this mean for businesses?

It means if you don’t have the right keywords on your website pages, then Google will never view you as a “best match”. To put it another way: Google is the match-maker and your business will never get a date without keywords!

Keyword Abuse Makes Your Job More Difficult

Not only do you need the right keywords on your website, you also need to know exactly where and how often to place them. Why is this? Because Google is trying to weed out “link farms”. These are websites that attempt to manipulate keywords to lure searchers in, but don’t have any real content — just links to other sites. What they want you to do is click one of those links, because they make money every time you do. Google knows that searchers get annoyed by these pages and so it tries really hard to prevent people from abusing keywords. So it monitors where on your page your keywords occur, how many times the keywords occur and other details. A tell-tale sign of a link farm is “keyword stuffing” where the keywords appear too many times in too many spots.

So when it comes to keywords, you need to know:

  • What are the keywords that will allow searchers to find your website
  • Where you should put the keywords on the page
  • How many times these keywords should appear

Our next post is the first in doing the on-page SEO for your site yourself – starting with keyword research.

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