Keywords are the terms that you want to rank for in search, whatever they may be. You may hear ‘keywords’, ‘key phrases’, ‘search terms’, ‘index terms’ or perhaps even ‘descriptors’ – in the context of search engines and SEO, they all mean the same thing.
What your keywords are depends upon what your website is, what it’s for and what you’re trying to achieve. Here’s an example: a plumber with the website www.davetheplumber.com may want to rank well in searches for:
- plumbers near me
- emergency plumbers
- my water’s not working
- someone broke my sink
- there’s a ferret stuck in my plughole
Keyword and competitive research are vital first steps in SEO. Before a site can be optimized we need to figure out just what terms people use when searching for a product or service; we do this by studying search behavior and analyzing competitors in the same business to see what they’re doing, and then we make sure our client is doing the same things better than they are.