Below we have taken some paragraphs of an article published at Semrush about the definition, importance, usage, and type of keywords.
"In terms of search engines, a keyword is any search term entered into Google (or another search engine) that has a results page where websites are listed.
Keywords are search terms that a website owner or SEO professional will use to optimize a website in the hopes of ranking at the top of Google’s results for specific keywords."
Keywords are important because they can be targeted with marketing. When your website is listed at the top of the results for a search, that keyword acts as a free source of website traffic for you. If you have an advertising budget, you can place pay-per-click (PPC) ads on specific keywords. That is how Google Ads operates; advertisers bid for the space at the top of a results page for specific keywords. Generally speaking, there will be more advertisers focused on a keyword that implies some sort of monetary action that will be worth paying for the price of the ad.As you develop a marketing strategy for your website, you will need to choose specific keywords to target with your website. Through search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing, you can acquire high rankings organically (not via ads). All of your remaining keyword needs can be covered via advertising through Google Ads.
For an online business, keywords are your strategy; they are the battles you choose to fight in hopes of out-doing your competitors and directing the people using search engines in your market to your site instead of theirs. When you look at the keywords that a website has rankings for (aka their keyword portfolio), you can see the website’s strengths and the area where they excel over their competitors. When we look at all of the keyword positions that homedepot.com ranks for, we are able to understand what their website is about and what products they are marketing online. Keyword research is the process of finding the right keywords for your own website to target. You don’t want to target the most popular keywords about your product/industry; those would be too competitive and expensive to advertise. You also don’t want to target keywords that no one is searching for. So how does one go about keyword research? It is important to understand the qualities that we use to define a keyword’s value.
The main qualities of a keyword include:
Search Volume of a Keyword: Search volume tells you how many times a keyword is searched on Google. Semrush measures this metric in average monthly searches by location. This metric lets you evaluate how popular a specific query is and how much potential traffic you could direct to your site with a high position. Obviously, investing in a keyword with a tremendous keyword search volume has the potential to attract more visitors to your website. But, this is easier said than done. Volume isn’t the only thing that determines how hard it will be to actually rank. To help you understand that, you will need to look into a keyword’s level of competition.
Competitiveness of a Keyword: No matter how impressive the search volume of a keyword is, you should be mindful of the competition. The more sought-after a keyword is, the more likely there will already be tons of websites and marketing agencies vying for the top spot. Most keyword tools have a way of measuring competition — on Semrush, there are two metrics:
Keyword Difficulty — This metric tells you how competitive it is to rank organically at the top of the results page. This is based on how strong and reputable the websites are that are already on the first page. To outrank what is already there, you need to provide something better in the eyes of Google.
Competitive Density — This metric tells you how competitive it is to rank an advertisement at the top of the results page. This is based on how expensive the bids are and how strong the current advertisers are.
In general, Keyword Difficulty helps you manage your SEO campaign, and Competitive Density helps you prioritize your advertising campaign.
Price of a Keyword: Speaking of advertising, every keyword has a price — a “ cost per click” (CPC) that tells you how much it costs an advertiser every time a searcher clicks on their ad after searching the keyword. When you’re planning an advertising campaign, evaluating the CPCs of your target keywords is necessary for managing your advertising budget and estimating the cost of a campaign. Is it worth it for you to pay nearly 4 dollars to get a person that searched “loans” on Google to visit your site? That is the question you would need to answer.
Word Count of a Keyword: Word count refers to the number of words in the phrase; “loans” has a word count of 1, while “what plants grow in the desert” has a word count of 6.