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What is the importance of Keywords in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

1. Your readers / audience

  • To captivate your targets so that you can convert them into the intended behavior, whether it is a purchase, or signing up, etc. The main reason why you set your website up is to communicate with the marketplace / communities.

2. Search Engines (including bots / spiders / crawlers)

  • To reach out to them as they are like the librarians of the Search Engine Library - who go out there to find what books there are, index them, and arrange the website publications in order so that when someone comes in looking for a certain topic or need to be pointed to, the librarian can easily reference the right material to the user. So in a similar fashion in Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short, the need to grab attention from the 'librarians' is key to being found by users.


So how do these 'librarians' which are the spiders/crawlers/bots go through the whole indexing to match the user or your query with these?

Web spiders, crawlers, or bots play a crucial role in the process of indexing and matching user queries in search engines. Here's a simplified overview of how this process works:


  • Spiders, crawlers, or bots are automated programs created by search engines (e.g., Googlebot) to systematically navigate the web. Their primary purpose is to discover and visit web pages. They start by accessing a list of known web pages and then follow links on those pages to discover new ones. This process is continuous and can be compared to a spider crawling through a vast web of interconnected pages.


  • As the crawlers visit web pages, they analyze and collect information about each page, including the content, structure, meta tags, and more. This data is stored in the search engine's index, which is essentially a massive database that catalogs and organizes information about web pages. The index is continually updated to reflect changes on the web.

Ranking and Algorithms:

  • Search engines use complex algorithms to determine the relevance and quality of web pages in response to specific keywords or queries. These algorithms consider factors like the number and quality of backlinks, the content's relevance to the query, user engagement metrics, and more. Pages are ranked based on their perceived relevance to the query.

User Queries:

  • When a user enters a query into a search engine, the search engine retrieves relevant results from its index based on the query. This process involves analyzing the index to identify pages that are the most likely matches for the user's search terms.


  • The search engine employs its algorithms to determine which pages in the index are the best matches for the user's query. This involves considering the presence of the query terms in the content, the page's authority, the user's location (for local queries), and other factors.

Displaying Results:

  • The search engine then displays the most relevant results on the search engine results page (SERP). Typically, results are ranked in order of perceived relevance, with the most relevant results appearing at the top.

User Interaction:

  • When users click on search results, their interactions are tracked. Search engines use this data to continuously refine their algorithms and improve result accuracy.

Revisiting and Recrawling:

  • Web crawlers revisit web pages periodically to detect changes and update the index. Pages with frequent updates may be crawled more often than static pages.

Feedback Loop:

  • Search engines also use feedback from users' behavior, such as click-through rates and the amount of time spent on pages, to refine the ranking of results over time.

The goal of this process is to provide users with the most relevant and high-quality results in response to their queries. The efficiency and accuracy of search engine results depend on the sophistication of the algorithms, the frequency of crawling, and the size and quality of the index. Search engines are continually refining these processes to enhance the user experience and meet evolving search behavior.

Importance of Keywords in Search Engine Optimization

Keywords are a fundamental element of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and play a crucial role in improving a website's visibility on search engines like Google. Here's why keywords are important in SEO:

  1. Relevance: Keywords help ensure that your content is relevant to what users are searching for. When you use the right keywords, your content is more likely to appear in search results when users enter those queries.

  2. Targeted Traffic: By optimizing for specific keywords, you attract visitors who are interested in your content, products, or services. This can lead to higher-quality traffic with a greater likelihood of conversion.

  3. Ranking: Search engines use keywords to determine the relevance of a web page to a particular search query. Proper keyword usage can improve your website's search engine rankings, making it more likely to appear on the first page of results.

  4. Competition: Keyword research allows you to identify which keywords are highly competitive and which are less so. You can then focus your efforts on optimizing for keywords that offer a good balance between search volume and competition.

  5. Content Planning: Keywords guide your content creation. They help you understand what topics and themes are important to your target audience, allowing you to tailor your content strategy accordingly.

  6. User Intent: Analyzing keywords can help you understand user intent. Are users looking for information, products, services, or local businesses? Understanding intent allows you to create content that meets those specific needs.

  7. Long-Tail Keywords: Long-tail keywords are more specific and have less competition. They can be highly effective in attracting users with very targeted interests, and improving conversion rates.

  8. Site Structure: Keywords can influence your site's structure and navigation. Organizing your content around relevant keywords can improve user experience and help search engines index your site more effectively.

  9. Link Building: Keywords are often used in anchor text when building inbound links. Relevant and well-optimized anchor text can improve your website's authority and search rankings.

  10. Content Optimization: Keywords are used to optimize various on-page elements, including meta titles, meta descriptions, headings, and image alt tags. Proper optimization can make your content more appealing to search engines.

  11. Monitoring and Improvement: Tracking keyword performance allows you to see what's working and what's not. This data helps you make data-driven decisions, refine your SEO strategy, and adapt to changing search trends.

  12. Local SEO: For businesses with a physical presence, local keywords are essential for attracting local customers. Optimizing for location-specific keywords can help you appear in local search results.

  13. Mobile Optimization: With the increasing use of voice search, optimizing for conversational and question-based keywords has become crucial for mobile SEO.

In summary, keywords are the bridge between what users are searching for and the content you provide. They enable search engines to understand the relevance of your content and help users find the information, products, or services they need. Effective keyword research, usage, and monitoring are central to a successful SEO strategy.

How Indexing Works - knowing the importance of keywords in search engine optimization

Imagine you were Google's 'librarian' and had to sort everyone's websites and web pages out. How would you get it done? This is a clear example of the importance of keywords in Search Engine Optimization

Why Search Engine Optimization?
Why Search Engine Optimization?

So this is what you do as the Google spider/crawler:

  1. You ask everyone to ensure that each book comes with Keywords, which are clearly labelled in various places of the book (i.e.: website) so that you know where the sort it in the library.

  2. So if it is a book on Indian cuisine, you would want keywords that reflect that then you sort it in the appropriate library section.

  3. Then when someone comes to ask you about Indian cuisine, you go back to the same section and pull it out for the user request to best match their needs.

It is in similar concept to how Search Engine Indexing works. 

Search Engine Optimization process
Search Engine Optimization process

Check out the short video below to bring a bit more depth into the librarian-search engine analogy.

Now that you have an idea what the importance of Keywords in search engine marketing in Digital Marketing are, next, lets take a look at 


Drawing up your SEO keywords.

How to draw up your SEO keywords using SEMrush

Drawing up a list of SEO keywords using SEMrush involves keyword research, analysis, and selection to identify the most valuable keywords for your website. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do this:

1. Access SEMrush:

  • Log in to your SEMrush account or sign up for one if you haven't already.

2. Keyword Research Tool:

  • In the SEMrush dashboard, click on the "Keyword Research" tool. This is where you'll find data on relevant keywords.

3. Enter Your Seed Keywords:

  • Start by entering a few seed keywords related to your website or the content you want to optimize. Seed keywords are broad terms that describe your industry, products, or services.

4. Analyze Keyword Suggestions:

  • SEMrush will generate a list of keyword suggestions based on your seed keywords. Review the list, and you'll see data like search volume, keyword difficulty, and more for each keyword. Pay attention to keywords that are both relevant to your content and have a decent search volume.

5. Refine Your List:

  • Use SEMrush's filters and sorting options to refine your list. You can filter by keyword difficulty, search volume, competition level, and more to prioritize the most valuable keywords for your strategy.

6. Competitor Research:

  • Enter the domains of your competitors into SEMrush to see which keywords they are ranking for. This can provide insights into keywords you might have missed.

7. Long-Tail Keywords:

  • Long-tail keywords are often less competitive and can attract highly targeted traffic. SEMrush provides long-tail keyword suggestions as well.

8. Keyword Metrics:

  • Pay attention to keyword metrics like search volume, keyword difficulty, and trends. Balance high search volume with lower keyword difficulty to target keywords that are both popular and achievable.

9. Keyword Intent:

  • Consider the intent behind keywords. Are users looking for information, products, services, or local businesses? Align your keyword choices with the intent of your content.

10. Create Lists:

  • SEMrush allows you to create keyword lists to organize your findings. Create different lists for various topics or content pages on your website.

11. Export Your Keywords:

  • After selecting your keywords, you can export them as a CSV or Excel file for easy reference and sharing with your team.

12. On-Page Optimization:

  • Use your selected keywords for on-page optimization. Incorporate them naturally into your content, headings, and meta tags.

13. Content Strategy:

  • Use your keyword lists to plan your content strategy. Create content around specific keywords and topics to improve your site's relevance and authority.

14. Monitoring:

  • Continuously monitor your keyword rankings and adjust your SEO strategy as needed to maintain or improve your positions in search results.

SEMrush is a powerful tool for keyword research, but remember that successful SEO is an ongoing process. Regularly revisit your keyword lists, monitor rankings, and adjust your content and optimization strategies to stay competitive in search results.

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