What is a Keyword? How to Properly Use Keywords for SEO?

Last Updated: 15 mins By: ThemeGrill Author

Are you a beginner to SEO and wondering what is a keyword? If you want to clarify your concept of keyword meaning and how to use keywords for SEO, then you’ve entered the right place.

Keywords are the terms that you focus your content on, so as to make your content rank for them on the search results. That’s to say, they play a significant role in improving your site’s search engine rankings. Better ranking thus increases traffic to your site.

In this article, we’ll be explaining the keyword meaning. Additionally, we’ll be guiding you on how to use keywords for SEO so that your website can rank at the top. Do read the article till the end for the full information.

What is a Keyword? (Meaning)

Before talking about the keyword’s meaning, let’s define what is SEO. SEO or Search Engine Optimization means optimizing your piece of content to make it rank higher in search engines (Google, Bing, MSN, etc).

And, keywords play a major role in improving your site’s SEO. You should use them, and you should use them properly. We’ll talk about it in the sections below. First, let’s define what keyword means.

Keyword for Your Content

The term keyword comprises two words “Key”+ “Word” which itself denotes that the word is a clue to something. Hence, it’s the word that represents the overall idea of what your content is all about.

So, the keyword can be defined as the main focused term on which your content is based on. In other words, it’s the term that describes the core idea of your content. A keyword can be a single word, a group of words, or a phrase.

Another definition of the keyword is as a search term that the people use on search engines to find something. Or the words they enter on search engines to be directed to the page of their interest.

For example, if you want to eat pizza, then you may want to find out the best pizza place near you. What search terms would you use?

Example of a Keyword

Most probably, you might type “best pizza near me” on the search engines. Here, the set of words you typed into Google is the keyword. Now, Google will direct you to the web pages that best match your interest.

Importance of Keyword for SEO

Creating content is meaningless if it cannot reach your target audiences. Therefore, adding specific keywords is an integral part of SEO content writing.

It’s a significant word that communicates between the search engine and your potential audience. Because it enables the search engine to better understand the type of content and increases the conversion rate.

If your keywords can orient with the search query of your audience, then it can drive a significant amount of traffic to your website. It means the amount of traffic to your site largely depends upon the type of keywords you choose. Hence, you must choose them carefully to make your content optimized for search engines. 

How to Find & Choose Keywords for Your Website?

Finding the right search terms for optimizing your content is one of the crucial steps to rank in search engines. You must invest a little time of yours for this purpose. Here’s a list of a few things that you need to focus on for choosing the right keywords for your content.

1. Define Your Goal and Perform a Research

The first and the most important rule is you need to understand the goal of your business, organization, blog post, etc. So that you can wisely choose the search terms to reach out to your target audiences.

Secondly, you should formulate some questions related to your goal. Such as:

  • What exactly is the intention of your business/ organization/blog post?
  • Who exactly are your audiences?
  • What makes your business/ organization/blog post different from the others?

Answering these questions takes you one step closer to the relevant keywords that will fulfill the search query of your potential customers.

Additionally, you can also perform research using Google itself. By doing so, you can find out what kind of search terms Google suggests. For instance, if you type “what is a keyword” on Google you can see different relevant results as follows. 

Keyword Research Using Google

These relevant suggestions by Google provide you with ideas to find the best keywords for your content.

Also, Google displays more other related searches at the end of its search results for the same seed words. Thus you can explore them too.

Keyword Related Searches

2. Focus on Search Intent

Your audience might have various intentions of visiting the web page. Such as informational intent to gain certain information on different topics. Navigational intent to navigate to a certain category page. Transactional intent to buy something instantly.

If your content’s keyword can match the search intent of the audiences then you can gain large organic traffic to your website. This is exactly why it’s important to look from your audiences’ perspective. You should focus on the search intent of potential customers and refine your search terms accordingly.

3. Search Volume

Search volume can be defined as the number of times that a particular keyword is searched for on Google over a certain time. It determines how popular the particular search query is based on how many people are searching for it on the search engine.

Search volume is one of the essential factors that you should focus on for your piece of content. Because you wouldn’t like to use the keyword with no organic search at all.

Searching for the keyword with a large search volume might help you drive more attention to your site. However, it’s essential to determine the competitiveness of those words too. Since search volume and competitiveness are interrelated.

Finding the search volume can be easily done using free or premium keyword research tools. Here, we’re using SEMrush to determine the search volume for the term “WooCommerce themes”.

Keyword Search Volume

4. Analyze the Competition

If a certain keyword has an impressive search volume it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to use the same words. The more search volume, the more will be the competition with other websites using the same keyword.

You’ll need to come up with something that is extraordinary to outnumber the existing top websites. Hence, it’s a good idea to look for words with high volume and low competition.

To analyze the competition, you should look for the keyword difficulty. Keyword difficulty defines how difficult it is to rank for a certain word or phrase. In the following example, the phrase “best free WooCommerce themes” has a difficulty of 61%. Meaning it’s 61% difficult to rank for this phrase.

Keyword Difficulty

5. Focusing on Long Tail Keywords

Generally, there are two types of keywords called head terms and long-tail terms. Head terms are short, having high search volume and high competition

On the other hand, long-tail terms have a longer length as the name itself suggests. They’re descriptive and have a more clear intent. They get few clicks or lesser search volumes. However, there’s less competition thus playing a significant role in SEO strategy.

For instance, “WordPress plugins” is a head term that is short and has a broad meaning. On the other hand “best real estate WordPress plugins” is a long tail term that has a more specific meaning.

6. Use the Keyword Research Tools

Using keyword research tools is essential because it further assists you in finding targeted keywords. These tools solve your query on how to find out what keyword a website is using. They help you dig deeper to find the best possible relevant search terms.

Besides, they also provide other important information. For instance, SEMrush enables position tracking, understanding traffic analytics, performing advertising research, and many more.

We’ve listed some of the best research tools that you might consider using for finding suitable keywords.

5 Best Keyword Research Tools for 2021

i) Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer is one of the best tools for researching keywords. The tool suggests 1000s of words or phrases so that you can come up with great keyword ideas. You can also save or list them to segments for future purposes. Besides, you can easily analyze keyword difficulty.

It provides data from 171 countries. The tool also has advanced SEO metrics like return rate, clicks per search, % of clicks, and so on. It supports other search engines apart from Google such as YouTube, Baidu, Bing, etc. to find the estimated volume of keywords.

Pricing: Lite $99/Month, Standard $179/Month, Advanced $399/Month, Agency $999/Month

ii) SEMrush


SEMrush is a magnificent tool that allows for discovering great keywords and knowing their traffic potential. It enables you to improve your on-page SEO by providing ideas to improve your site’s health and SEO performance. You can also optimize your site’s local SEO to reach out to more local customers.

With this tool, you can even create content, optimize it, and develop content strategies for marketing. Market analysis helps you know your position in the market and get ahead of other competitors. Besides, it assists link building to further strengthen your backlink profile.

Pricing: Pro $99.95/Month, Guru $199.95/Month, Business $399.95/Month

Google Trends

Google Trends is a precious keyword research tool that is available for free. Though it’s free it has got much useful functionalities. Therefore, if you’re a beginner and on budget, you can use this tool without any second thought.

This tool is very simple to use. You can enter any seed word of your interest in the search bar and find out the popular related searches. For better results, you can even find the keywords by location. So that you can optimize your site for local searches and attract more local customers.

This tool also gives you insight into what’s trending on Google. Additionally, you can find the popularity of the specific keyword by year. It also enables you to discover long-tail terms to improve your site’s SEO.

Price: Free.

iv) Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is another free yet powerful tool by Google. You can discover tons of search terms once you enter your seed keywords. But it’s not limited to that you can enter up to 10 seed words or phrases at a time. Besides, it also enables you to enter the URL as the seed to find out the relevant searches.

You can also find the search volume. Most importantly, you can understand your keyword forecast. Meaning, you can forecast the rate of conversions, the number of clicks, impressions, etc. likely to be gained for your specific keywords.

Price: Free.

v) Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz Keyword Explorer is one of the best keyword research tools. Apart from suggesting related keywords, it also allows saving the lists. You can enter both seed words and URLs as seed words. Also, you can analyze how much search volume can be received with more than 95% accuracy.

You can check keyword difficulty and organic click-through rate to predict potential traffic to your site. Further, you can perform a competitive analysis to see what keywords your site ranks for and gain ideas about your competitor’s important head terms.

Pricing: Free up to 10 queries/month, then $99/month for Standard plan.

How to Properly Use Keywords for SEO?

Till now you’ve known keyword meaning, its importance for SEO, and how to find them. Here, you’ll know how to properly use them for the best SEO results.

Let’s get started.

1. Inclusion in Title Tags and URLs

Title tags are the first thing that effectively communicates with your target audience. It also allows search engines to better understand the type of content. Hence, the inclusion of keywords in the title tag is a must.

Using Keywords in Title Tags

Similarly, it’s a good idea to add them to the URLs. Since URLs also act as a clue to reach out your content. 

Keywords in URL

If you still don’t know what a website URL is check our beginners guide to what is a website URL.

Also, it’s better if you keep your URLs short rather than long and complicated. Simple, short URLs are SEO-friendly as they’re ready to understand for both users and search engines.

2. Inclusion in Meta Description and Meta Keywords

Meta keywords are best described as the meta tag appearing in the HTML code of a webpage rather than a visible page. Previously they were popularly used as part of the content optimization process. But now more attention is given to meta descriptions rather than meta keywords.

A meta description is a short description of your content usually in a line or two. Including your keywords in the meta description is useful to convince your audience that your content type is relevant to their search query.

Using Keywords in Meta description

You can easily enter an SEO-friendly meta description on your posts and pages. If you’re using WordPress as your website platform, then you can find the meta description field in your SEO plugin’s settings. All of the major WordPress SEO plugins have a meta field along with many other features.

For example, here’s how Yoast SEO plugin’s SEO settings look like. There’s a field to enter meta description.

Meta Description Field in WordPress by Yoast SEO

3. Use Keywords in Headers

Search engines also focus on headings and subheadings since separate HTML tags (<h1>,<h2>,<h3>) are used for headers. Therefore, it’s important to use keywords in headers as well.

For example, the keyword for this article is ‘what is keyword‘. We’ve used our keyword in one of the subheadings in the beginning of the article.

Keyword Use in Headings

You can see this heading by scrolling to the top of this article.

But please note that you shouldn’t include your keyword in every header. If you do so, then search engines will will penalize you for keyword stuffing (the excessive use of keywords). So, you can use it in only some of the headings wherever it’s appropriate.

4. Insert Keywords in Image Alt Text

Though it might seem that search engines don’t pay attention to images. Well, it’s not the truth. Search engines can read the image’s file name and alt text/description. So, it’s beneficial to utilize keywords in an image’s file name and alt text wherever possible.

For example, if your page’s keyphrase is ‘best WordPress contact form plugin‘, then it’s better to use the term in some of your images alt texts and title.

using Keyphrase in Image Alt Text, Title for Better SEO

5. Use LSI Keywords

LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. They’re closely associated with our focus keywords. Since it’s not possible to apply them each and everywhere, you can utilize LSI keywords to support your content

Using them properly makes your content better understandable for search engines as well as our audiences.

They are the keywords that Google suggests you in the ‘Searches related to’ section at the end of search results. For example, if your search term is ‘best wordpress themes’, these can be the LSI Keywords.

Google Searches Related to Your Search Term Example

6. Even and Natural Distribution of Keywords in the Article

Adding keywords is both an important and delicate part of the content strategy for SEO. Your content is your everything. So it’s important that you carefully distribute them evenly and naturally.

Uneven and unnaturally distributed keywords can do you harm rather than doing good. Since it can hamper your flow of content and readability. And it’s obvious that no one would like to read such articles without any specific direction. 

7. Avoid Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is the act of forcing your keywords at irrelevant places and an irrelevant number of times than it’s required. It used to be one of the old content strategies for SEO which doesn’t exist anymore.

It can bring about a serious impact on your search results. And you may end up with few audiences or no audience at all. Hence, it’s strictly a big no to your content.


Keywords are an important part of your content strategy for SEO. Knowing how to choose it, and how to use it for SEO undoubtedly benefits you. You can get significant traffic to your site and top ranking on the search results page.

Since the main motive behind every piece of writing remains the same i.e. ranking on search engines. It’s important to make your content optimized.

Apart from using proper keywords, there are other SEO techniques to make your website rank in search engines. Moreover, there’re the best SEO WordPress plugins that you might consider using for ranking better.

Another way of improving your site’s health is by using Google Analytics. To learn more, please check our guide on how to add Google Analytics to a WordPress site.

We believe you already have a website. If you don’t have one yet, then it’s almost late. But no worries, you can start it now! You can use our full guide to creating a WordPress site for help.

Hopefully, we’ve succeeded in making you understand what is a keyword and how to use them properly for SEO. Please write to us in the comment section below if you’ve any say on this.


ThemeGrill Author

We are a team of SEO copywriters and editors who work both individually and in the team. ThemeGrill author is where one of the editors here is working on one project personally. Write to us @themegrill_blog in Twitter.

4 thoughts on “What is a Keyword? How to Properly Use Keywords for SEO?

  1. In this blog, You have explained in an incredible way how to select keywords properly. Keywords are the most important and first step to SEO. Feels really good to read this kind of content. Keep up the good work coming.

    1. Thanks a lot for your kind words, Manish. We are really glad that you liked our article. Please keep supporting us with your valuable comments and suggestions.

  2. Keywords play a very important role in SEO. You have explained in a very nice way how to select keywords properly in this blog. It feels good to read this content. Hopefully, you will publish more blogs like this.

    1. Hi! Maria, Glad that you liked our blog. Sure, we will be publishing more useful blogs like this. Please keep coming back!

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