Being Freed
Being Freed
Being Freed

What are Keywords?

Keywords are signposts, strategically used in pages & posts. They categorize content so search engines understand its purpose.
Keywords Search SEO

Are keywords important?

In one word: yes.

Keywords help in SEO by telling search engines the primary focus of content on a page. Keywords are the clues your website gives search engines so they can point viewers to your site.

Most of the time, users interact with keywords by typing them into a search engine as a query.  Samples of this are:

They’re the query words you put into the search box so the engine can give you results. The more specific you are, the more focused your results will be.

Google query for "queer website designer"
Here’s an example of the search query, “queer website designer,” in Google

Types of keywords

Keywords can be single words or multiple-word phrases (for example, see Indeed’s list of 19). For this article, I’ll focus on three types of keywords: exact match, mid-tail, and long-tail.

…are one or two words that give broad results.

If you want to have a website built, you might search “website”, or “website designer”. These will get you millions of results but won’t get you what you want: it’s too broad. Single-word keywords are better for encyclopedic searches like for a celebrity, a type of tree or animal, or a historical event. Search “Zoë Lewis” and you’ll get Zoë Lewis’ website. Then you should listen to her music because it’s wonderful.

…are around three words and they draw a more focused result.

Say you want to find a queer website designer. You could search just that, “queer website designer”. In an incognito window, I just did that and the top result was Queer Design Club. That’s great! I’ve just found a listing of queer website designers. I’ve narrowed down the results, but I’d still need to search within this site to find someone I like. Mid-tail keywords are useful for finding narrower results while maintaining a number of options. Parenthetically, now that I know they exist I’m going to create a profile :D.

…are longer phrases which give even narrower results.

Still in my incognito window, I searched “queer website designer scuba”, and the top result was my Behance board with the Bottom Dwellers logo I built . The second result is the Queer Design Club. I then added the word “ukulele”, and my Who’s Freed? page was now the eighth result. This is an excellent example of how a detailed long-tail keyword can be used to find a very specific type of service.


Keywords in backend

The previous section talked about keywords from the user’s point of view.  Now let’s talk about how to incorporate keywords into your site.  You’ll do this in your SEO plugin, image descriptors & captions, and in copy.  In the images below, I’m using my Projects page as a sample.

Focus Keyphrase

Yoast says, “The focus keyword or keyphrase is the search term you want a page or post to rank for most.”  It’s the distillation of the page into a few words.

Yoast Focus Keyphrase
The focus keyphrase section of the Yoast plugin panel


Also called a subdomain extension, this is the end of the page’s name (see my post on domain names here).

The meta description section of the Yoast plugin panel
The slug section of the Yoast plugin panel

Meta description

This is a synopsis of the page that appears in search engine results.  Keeping this to around 155 characters means that all the words should show up in search engine results.  Here’s the meta description for my projects page, as seen in Yoast then in a Google result:

Meta description results
Meta description as seen in a Google search result

So all together, the Yoast panel for my Projects page looks like this:

The Yoast panel for my Projects page
The Yoast panel for my Projects page

Keywords in copy

Now that you’ve told your SEO plugin what keywords you’re using, you need to work them into the copy on your website. Insert them into headlines, captions, and plain text. Don’t overdo it, but make sure they’re in there several times so when Google crawls the page, it’s sure to identify the purpose of the page.

Is this type of writing going to win you a Pulitzer? Nope. But that’s not the point. The point is to draw eyeballs to your page so you can get your message across.

How do you find appropriate keywords?  Research.  And you can learn more about keyword research here.

A side note: according to Google support, keywords are not case-sensitive.

Keywords in images

Add keywords to your media images via file name, alternative text, caption, and description.  I want this image to draw results for the keyword logo, so I have that in the Alternative Text and Description.

A screenshot of my media file for Olympic Oasis logo, showing the Alt Text, Description, and Caption
The WordPress panel for the Olympic Oasis logo image on my projects page


Content is everything a user sees when they visit your website, i.e., words and images.

A keyword is a clue your website gives search engines so they can point viewers to your site. Keywords work by telling search engines the page’s focus.

A search engine is an internet search tool such as Google, Firefox, Safari, Ecosia, etc.

A query is a question you ask a search engine.

Search results are the pages a search engine offers up for your query.

Exact match keywords are one or two words that give broad results.

Mid-tail keywords are two to three words long and draw a more curated result.

Long-tail keywords are phrases of more than three words which home in on a specific profile of site.

The backend is the part of your site that users can’t see; the nuts and bolts that make it. It’s like the backstage of a theatre.

A slug is the end of the page’s name.  This page’s slug is the bold part of this link:

A focus keyphrase is the distillation of the page contents into a few words.

A meta description is a synopsis of the page.

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Freed scuba diving with her ukulele

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