A keyword, in search engine optimization, is a word that captures the subject matter of an article. Keywords are also referred to as a title tag, to give some examples. A keyword is often used by search engines to help them categorize web pages. In information retrieval, keyword terms constitute a controlled vocabulary used in electronic bibliographic records for indexing.
For some search engines, the keyword is the principal indicator of relevancy. The level of importance of each keyword is determined by the user’s intent. If the user is looking for information on a particular subject, then the keyword should be specific, while if the user is searching for general information on all subjects, then the keyword should not be too general. One other important factor in determining the level of relevancy is called the word count or the word per line. The word count is the number of times a keyword appears on a page and the percentage of that word count that occurs within a line of text.
Other factors that influence keyword relevancy are related to the target audience. For instance, a very narrow keyword phrase that targets the baby boomer generation of people may yield different results than a more inclusive phrase that targets older generations of boomers. The words that are most commonly used as synonyms of certain keywords are also of importance, including the word “cancer,” “disease,” and “cholesterol.” Other synonyms that are frequently seen are “manly,” “girlie” and “unshaven.” As the number of words in a phrase increases, fewer synonyms are available to capture the exact meaning of the phrase.
The keyword difficulty of a phrase is another indication of its competitiveness with other phrases. A difficult keyword can take more work to rank well in the SERPs. One reason for this is that keyword difficulty is a factor in the calculation of the page rank. A lower number, or a lower rank, for a phrase can decrease the number of people who would likely click on the advertisement and increase competition. A higher rank and more clicks would result in a higher CTR (click through rate) and potentially a higher rank at the top of the results page.
In addition, a high minimum score in a search engine’s search engines can mean a higher CTR and potentially a higher ranking at the top of the results page. Keyword difficulty is often determined by the search engine’s own definition of difficulty and by the amount of competition for each phrase. A keyword is easy to rank for if it receives few competing entries and receives enough votes to survive within the search engine’s rankings. If a phrase receives a lot of votes but receives low competition, then it may be difficult to compete for a top rank using the keyword. An ad must remain competitive in order to return visitors and generate traffic.
Keyword competition is also determined by the number of searches performed for each keyword. Search engines continually analyze search terms and change their list to make room for new search terms that are popular. This change occurs on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. For every keyword that is ranked highly there will be many other keywords that receive low numbers or no traffic. The result is that some of these keywords will never receive any traffic and never rank high in the results pages of the major search engines. Therefore, these keywords will never receive the attention of AdWords advertisers because they will never receive any clicks.