What is a keyword phrase in SEO


In search queries, the keyword is the key word for the content they are looking for - i.e. what users enter into the search engine's search box. For line items, keywords are the keywords that trigger an ad.

The keyword could also be described as the core content of a text, as the shortest possible summary of a piece of content. Synonyms for keyword are also search term, search term or keyword. A keyword can also consist of several parts (words). One then also speaks of a keyword combination or long-tail keyword.

The job of a keyword

Even if search engines can understand increasingly complex search queries, the keyword remains ascribed a central role. Because a central term of a document is always an important reference for determining its content. In addition, the keyword in the paid area (PPC) offers the possibility of contextually aligning advertisements. The keyword is therefore the key to a piece of content, according to its name. It is not without reason that passwords are often also called keywords. Who does not remember the most famous keyword combination in literary history from the fairy tale "Alibaba and the 40 thieves": Sesame, open up!

Keyword vs. Tag

A keyword is usually a key term or a search word combination that also appears in a text. This is how the term “keyword” differs from the term “tag”. Because the keyword can describe, categorize or classify a text or content without it having to appear in the text itself.

An example: the keyword for a text about dogs can be "dog", while the keyword, ie the tag, is "mammal" and this word is not used in the content.

Keyword optimization for the user

Search engine crawlers are text-based. This means that they also register keywords on a website. So that the content is optimally prepared for search engines, there are some concepts and, in some cases, outdated measures to be taken into account when optimizing for keywords. “Simple” keyword stuffing should always be avoided.

Important: In general, the keyword fades into the background in favor of “entities” as a theoretical meta-concept, but without losing its practical meaning as a search term.

The following points should be observed:

  1. Keyword proximity: the closer the keywords are in a combination of search terms, the more relevant a section of text appears for a specific search query. Note: The influence of this concept is (rightly) discussed more critically. See also “Stop Words” (below).
  2. Keyword Density: it indicates the frequency of a keyword within a text or a website. If a certain limit is exceeded when using keywords, the text will be interpreted as spam by search engines
  3. Keywords in the meta page title: Due to its high relevance, it is advisable to use the main keyword of a website in the meta page title. However, this is not mandatory.
  4. Alt tags: Images should contain the main keyword in the alt tag
  5. Title tags: The referring anchor texts should also contain the main keyword of the target page in the internal linking
  6. Optimization based on term relevance criteria (and their weighting) such as with WDF * IDF and beyond: with this form of keyword optimization, the focus is more on the semantics and the holistic of the text than on individual keywords or on the use of other meaningful keywords for reinforcement the relevance of the main keyword.

The following aspects can be neglected in the optimization:

  • Notation: Usually, search engines today also recognize the wrong spelling of a keyword and in extreme cases even deliberately interpret misspelled words as spam
  • Stop words: The keyword proximity can be increased by omitting stop words. Yet these words are part of natural language. And you should always optimize for the user, not for the search engine
  • Stemming: Search engines also usually recognize derivatives of keywords
  • Keyword Domain: For a long time one of the "secret weapons" of SEOs, the keyword domain is no longer so important to rank well with a certain keyword. At least not if the content on it is not sufficiently relevant for the respective keyword. A keyword domain usually consists of exactly the keyword for which it should be placed well in the SERP.

Choosing the right keywords

Keywords can be determined for both SEO and SEA. In both cases, of course, it is primarily important to know what the users are looking for (search intention). In the case of SEA, the so-called Keyword Planner from Ads provides information about this.

SEOs have other options for determining the relevant keywords for a website:

  • use the suggestions of google search
  • evaluate the suggest function on Google
  • Find synonyms for keywords
  • Analysis of the actual search queries with web analytics
  • Use of keyword tools

Keyword Usage Limits

Keywords are important to classify content or to establish relevance for search queries. However, if the use of keywords is overdone, it is search engine spam. This can be expressed as so-called keyword stuffing. A keyword is being used excessively on a website. It can also be interpreted as spam if z. For example, a money keyword is used too often as anchor text for backlinks.

First and foremost, it is - and remains - important to optimize the content first and foremost for the user, not for search engines. Because in the ideal case the second occurs automatically as a result of the first. It is therefore important to use the existing (spam-free) measures optimally and to orientate oneself not only on keywords, but on topics, target groups and search intentions.