Internet Writing - What Are Keywords?

by vikksimmons

Internet writing requires writers to become web savvy. Successful Internet writers know how to use keywords, how to find keywords, and how to optimize keywords for search engines.

Writing for the internet poses fundamental problems for everyday writers and budding entrepreneurs. They quickly realize they need online writing help. Keyword research is the first big barrier to online success.

The problem is that every how-to-do-keyword-research article anyone finds, whether intentional or not, assumes a baseline of knowledge or understanding that many readers simply don't have. The core concepts have been missed.

Do I Really Have to Do Keyword Research?

Keyword analysis is a necessary skill

public domain

I know this because it happened to me. I struggled with the concept of writing for the Internet for many years. I was one of the early bloggers before all this keyword research and search engine optimization stuff came about. Back then we were lucky just to figure out how to get our words up on that strange invisible highway known as the Internet. Keywords? Never heard of them. Early online writers simply transferred their tried-and-true writing skills to the new medium without giving any thought to whether it would work. Why wouldn't it? 

In the end I realized I couldn't remain in denial. Keywords are the fundamental building blocks for online writing success. 

Understanding Keywords Requires a Flip in Thinking

Keyword research can be summed up pretty quickly if you can wrap your mind around a few core principlesHere it is in a nutshell and it's what I have to remind myself every day. 

  • It's not about me - What that means is that it's not about how I view my writing or what I'm trying to say. It's all about the viewer/reader. So it's not how I think someone will search for my topic, it's about what they think. That means my ideas may be squat in value when it comes to search engines. 
  • My first reader is the Google and Search Engine bots. So, just like in publishing when the gatekeepers are agents and editors, I have to please the Google bots or at least tease them my way with breadcrumbs (keywords) so they will happily index my article and allow their users access to my writing. 

  • My second reader is not really a reader. They are searchers first. If my article or blog post or whatever cannot be FOUND in a search, then it will NEVER BE READ. So I have to understand how the users of search engines use them to find my topic or whatever bit of information I'm trying to share. It's not MY Way. It's the Searcher's way. 

  • The person doing the search types in specific words or questions or phrases that THEY think will provide them answers. The Google and search engine robot/spider thingees have already crawled around and gobbled up my words and indexed them. IF my words don't match that searcher's words used in their query, the Google and the search engines cannot cough up my article because the words don't match. Hence, I won't get found, my article won't get seen in a search, and my words won't be read. 

  • If I want to be read--and as a writer that is my main mission--then I MUST change the way I think. It's not about hooking the reader first with my wonderful blast of verbage. It's about getting the right words that people who are using the search engine are using to find my topics and information. 

  • ONLY after I have them at my article, can I expect them to read it -- and be dazzled, of course.

That is it in very basic layman's terms at least for me. I absolutely could not wrap my head around anything else anyone was telling me about keywords and SEO stuff and all that arcane seo gibberish until my understanding flipped. 

Everything is upside down. You have to "get" that. THEN and only then will keywords and SEO make any sense and then and only then will you be motivated to mess with the stuff. 

Do I know how to do keywords and SEO? Not really. I'm in the baby steps phase but I am now on the path and can see some small light. . . . 

What Is a Keyword and How Do I Find One?

Before you do keyword research

Before you can come to grips with why keywords matter so much in online writing it helps to understand what a keyword is. For generations "keyword" meant a main word or concept "of great significance." We were taught to identify and use keywords to build out topics and articles.

Another meaning of keyword had to do with a specific word that would be the "key" to breaking a cipher or code. It was the lynchpin that led to understanding specific coded language. 

In some ways that is how it is being used today. Keywords in internet writing language are the "keys" to understanding the entire concept of writing searchable, findable content. Without keywords, an article or blog post or sales page drfits to the bottom of the Internet search pile covered up by millions of articles generated daily by onlne writers for their online consumers. 

So keywords continue to have significance today but the way in which keywords are used is completely different. 

Learn the Keyword Flip

Keywords used in online writing are not words that the writer defines. They are not the words that might come to the writer's mind when planning an article or sales page. No, keywords in today's web savvy world are words that others use. 

A writer used to plan an article or write about a topic using their own baseline of knowledge and how they would approach the subject. Today that won't work for online consumption. You may use words that others don't know, concepts they may not have heard of, ideas that are foreign. So before you write, you must find the keywords others use when searching for information on your topic. Then use those words in your article, in the titles and heading, in the url of the posted article so that your readers will find what you wrote. 

Why Keywords Are Important to Internet Writing

Blame it on Google and search engines

Yes, I say blame it on the Google. The great Gobbler of Words that roams the Internet highway searching out specific words that Initernet users type in to find things. Google's robots know not what they eat. They simply eat. They eat and index. And that index becomes the map that we all must follow if we are to be successful writing for the Internet. 

Keywords - Friend or Foe

Isn't language important? Sure. What about content? Absolutely. But without using keywords your writing may suffer not death, but worse, be ignored by the search engines when users search to find answers. 

Despite how it may feel when you first come up against the great keyword wall, those pesky keywords are your friends. They are beacons to light the way for your potential readers to find your work. They are waving hands at the Google bots and search engine crawlers to signal that you have important information for them to index and give to others. They are the grease on the skids to help your pages rank high in searches. They are that imporant. 

The Benefits of Using Keywords

Keyword searches

Keywords link the writer to the reader. They are the conduit that allows you to write something that your target audience will find. It's that simple, that necessary, that important. 

Keywords make the following things possible:

  • Your article, page or post reaches its target audience and, hopefully, is read.
  • Finding the target audience can translate into success and, for the online seller, sales. 
  • Visibility is increased whether its for your blog, website or online store and sale pages.
  • The creation of a brand and its awareness is raised.
  • Your expert status is defined. 

If you're not sure about that last one, go to Google and do a search on your name. Then look to the lower left column and click on "more search results." Click on "Wonder Wheel." This is a fantastic tool It will iinstantly mindmap your name and your expert status according to the Google bots and all those search engine crawlers will be revealed. 

How are you doing? If Google doesn't see you the way you see you, it's time to get focused, find the right keywords and use them. 

How Google Defines "Vikk Simmons"

Wonder Wheel Tool Reveals All
Wonder Wheel - Vikk Simmons
Wonder Wheel - Vikk Simmons

Learn How to Find Keywords

Keyword tools should be in an online writer's toolbox

Once you understand what a keyword is and why it is so important that you master the concept, the hundreds of articles on keywords, keyword tools, Google Keyword Tool, WordTracker, keyword research, keyword search, and keyword search engine optimization will suddenly become clear. 

The purpose of this article is to explain the core concept that makes keywords so fundamental and so necessary to online writing. Here a few links to some in-depth articles about keyword research and keyword searches. 

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Updated: 03/04/2013, vikksimmons
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mysteeqz5 on 07/04/2012

This was really helpful.

sheilamarie on 05/16/2012

Vikk, this is so helpful. Thank you.

terrilorah on 04/11/2012

Love the way you made it so very easy to understand. Thanks!

Sherry E. on 03/27/2012

A judicious article that really helped me understand keywords and why they are SO important. Thanks for helping me grasp this difficult subject.

vikksimmons on 03/24/2012

Thanks, everyone, for your generous comments on the article and my style. That means a lot. Making peace with keywords was a long journey for me so I totally understand your pain. :)

humagaia on 03/06/2012

An excellent explanation of the path we must walk to gain enreaderment - setting beacons for the bots to know that we have produced an heir that our target audience should be told is born.
Loved it.

Mujjen on 11/22/2011

Very good explanation, I have sent it to my friend! We have to learn to think in a different way, not only write and post.

SharileeShares on 11/21/2011

This is such a great explanation of keywords. Love your easy to understand style. Thanks!

Yeirl on 11/18/2011

Really useful information...thanks! I guess I have to make peace with keywords.

vikksimmons on 10/18/2011

Thanks everyone for all your comments. I'm so glad this article is helping folks with a subject I struggled with so-o-o-o-o long. ;)

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