When we talk about keywords for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), what are keywords?
A keyword is a single word, or a two or three word phrase that is searched for by people who are searching for something or other in the search engines like Google and Bing. If no one searches for that keyword then it is a poor keyword. If it is searched for by millions of people then chances are that there a gazillion posts about it, which means that you have to either be very lucky or a known authority on the subject for someone to decide to look at your post in amongst the gazillion others.
Just to round this out, a keyword could mean a longer phrase, but there comes a point where it is too long to be searchable in a meaningful way, unless there is a very good reason to go beyond three words – such as in ‘The 1812 Revolutionary War’
Google uses semantic understanding to crawl content. Therefore, when Google sees keywords and synonyms and similar phrases in the content, it builds a picture of what the content is about.
In the same vein, Google will get a clearer idea of what the content is about if the keywords are at the beginning of the article. So it is a good idea to think how to begin an article with a sentence or two that use the keywords in a natural way to introduce the topic.
Long-tail keywords are phrases that are more directed and specific compared to broad general keywords. A broad, general keyword would be ‘motor car’. A long-tail keyword would be ‘1954 Ford Capri’, or ‘The 1812 Revolutionary War’
The more you can think of and use keyword phrases that are specific to you AND that people search for, the more you will tailor your content to people you want to read it.
The Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress websites analyses text for readability and for its SEO and will tell you how well the text reflects what the keyword phrase is about.
Should You Work Backwards
This seems to be heading towards the idea that you should work backwards, nailing down your keywords and synonyms even before you begin to write a draft. Which raises the question of whether you want to write about what interests you or do you want to write about what will get read?
Here are some keyword tools to help find the strongest keywords, and synonyms and similar phrases:
Yoast Suggest: https://yoast.com/suggest/
“Using this tool you can get some ideas on new long tail keywords: just enter a keyword and this tool will expand the keywords the way Google would show keyword suggestions.”
Also, just use Google itself and input your desired search term a character at a time. As you do so, look down the list of possibles that Google suggests as you type. Some might be useful as synonyms to use in your content.
Also, to find synonyms, just use Google. For example, ‘painful synonyms’ will bring up synonyms for the word ‘painful’
‘Answer The Public’ https://answerthepublic.com suggest you put in one or two search terms and you can tell by the response how ‘search-worthy’ your search is, and it gives you ideas for sentences to construct around your search terms.