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What are Keywords? How do you use them for SEO?

What are keywords?

Keywords are words that best describe the contents of your website, blog post or article. They're also known as focus keywords.

Keywords are essential for search engines as they allow them to tailor the search results to relevant information.

The entire goal of search engines is to show users web pages that answer their questions, or simply match the user's search intent.

Here's a practical example of why specific keywords are important.

Imagine you're a baker. In order to bring more eyes to your site and boost organic traffic, you look up some SEO tips. You create a blog apart from your main web page where you sell your services which talks about different ingredients, emerging trends in the baking world, etc.

The title tag for your article is: 5 Types of Gluten-Free Flour. Google then crawls your blog to understand what it's about.

You didn't choose keywords that made sense for this specific post, and you made a fundamental error of only including "gluten-free" 4 times. But you do, on the other hand, mention the words "oven" "colander" and "spatula" quite a bit.

Keywords can be individual words, phrases or long tail keywords. But no matter what, you need to tell the search engine what people will find on your page if you want a chance of making it on the first page of Google.

Generally speaking, people searching for this main keyword expect to see the same language, which in this case is "gluten-free." If it's only mentioned a few times, it can very easily confuse Google or other search engines into thinking it doesn't have great importance.

Just a note here that the other extreme would be keyword stuffing, which is a dated practice that SEO experts do not recommend.

So, now what? You certainly have questions like:

  • What is a good keyword research tool?
  • How do I find relevant SEO keywords?
  • Where do I add keywords?

What are keywords in a website?

Keyword is the word that helps the web to recognize the subject you're covering. Algorithms can analyze search queries and search term usage across different pieces of content.

Keywords in SEO is the term used for searching for information on an online website. It is also the language of websites that Google uses in determining and sorting the content. . Keywords are words used on a web site for matching searches with a search.

Where to add your keyword?

You can also use the same key phrase across the entire text. Keep adding keywords with some modifications if possible and putting readability first!

Use can use your main keyword in your introduction, image alt text, meta description, heading and subheadings, URL, and the title of your post.

Search engine optimization has come a long way throughout the years to include things like NLP, or natural language processing, to better understand SEO keywords and long tail keywords, so it's crucial that you add your keywords in moderation, and where it makes sense.

Understand what people search for, don't just try to rank for popular keywords. Avoid keyword stuffing, and prioritize readability.

What are the benefits of long tail keywords?

Keyword difficulty is a factor in most SEO tools and commonly discussed within the SEO community. It basically represents your chances for raking for your target keyword. It also factors in search volume, or, how many people actually search for said keyword in the search queries.

While it may be tempting to go for popular target keywords with lots of traffic, the benefit of long tail keywords is that they tend to have less competition and a better chance of aligning with the search intent.

The best keywords are those that match user intent, are relevant, and those that you have a chance of ranking for.

How to use Surfer for Keyword research

Before you create content, you need to understand keyword research which is an SEO basic. While there are many free tools on the market, finding keywords for SEO is not a step you can take shortcuts with.

If you're a website owner, blogger or small business owner who relies on organic traffic for their business listen up. This tool is for you! Spoiler: you don't need to invest tons of money in Google ads if you know how to use Google Search Console, use Keyword Surfer and know how to navigate Surfer's Keyword Research Tool!

How to use Surfer's keyword research tool to create online content and discover the ideal keyword in SEO:

Step one: OpenKeyword Research Tool (formerly: Content planner)

Step two: select keyword

Step three: type in your keyword. Remember, long tail keywords will help you niche down and match the appropriate search term.

Step four: select one of content clusters and open a Content Editor.

Another useful tool for keyword investigation is Ahrefs!

If we take our "gluten-free flour" example and type it in, it will tell us the keyword difficulty, monthly search volume and traffic potential

What is keyword difficulty?

At the top of each content cluster within Surfer's Keyword Research Tool, you'll want to check the KD or keyword difficulty. This is a number that tells you how difficult it is to rank a word organically on Google.

This is based on competitors' websites and their respective domain authority.

What is monthly search volume?

This is the other metric you see at the top of the content cluster box. This number tells you approximately how many searches per month for this specific word.

It is a factor to consider. Going for the highest MSV isn't always the best idea as it means you'll have a harder time standing out amongst the other websites competing for prime real estate on the SERP.

Use Surfer's Keyword Research Tool to then write your article which factors in all the keywords you selected in the keyword research.

Search intent

Imagine selling robot vacuums to the Internet. If you look at the search volume for robot vacuum this sounds like a good keyword. Easy, no? You don't need to take the time to find keywords, right?

Keep reading...

If someone searches for a robotic vacuum, then you'll sell the vacuum, and you'll sell it. Is there anything wrong? How does it work? The problem is most people looking for the keyword are not ready to purchase. The company is only interested in the reviews of the best products. Most of these websites have curated lists of top vacuum robots from consumer reviews websites.

This is why Surfer shows the search intent in the Keyword Research Tool: it forms part of a bigger content strategy.  

Use keywords naturally

If you try adding a few keyword phrases, you also need to ensure that you use them naturally. The keyword must have clear logical sentences and explain a particular topic to the reader. Don't put a key phrase in a text that has no sense.

But it doesn't stop there. Make sure the key phrases in your text get the best distribution in their context. Don't fall for the myth of LSI keywords and include all keywords in a paragraph and you think you've finished the optimization.


In order to appear under relevant search results you must choose the right keywords, but also understand the search intent, keyword difficulty and traffic potential. In this article we mention two tools that can help writers like you discover new keywords: Ahrefs and Surfer.

Google has come a long way, so randomly placing your keywords throughout a text is not the best way to optimize your content. You want the visitors who find your site to have a good experience.

Just because a keyword is difficult doesn't mean you shouldn't try to rank for it, and just because there is a high search volume doesn't mean that you'll get organic traffic to your site.

To optimize your content creation process, you'll have to zoom out and consider all the ranking factors of a given keyword.

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Screenshot of Surfer SEO Content Editor interface, displaying the 'Essential Content Marketing Metrics' article with a content score of 82/100. The editor highlights sections like 'Key Takeaways' and offers SEO suggestions for terms such as 'content marketing metrics