An ongoing debate about website optimization is whether or not keywords are of any importance anymore. The answer is a resounding yes and no. It’s all in how you use them.
Keywords are basically targeted terms that reflect how people may search for your business/product at a search engine. If you sell office supplies in Boston, SEO professionals may advise you to target a term like ‘boston office supplies’, for example.
Years ago, it was common practice to pack in keywords wherever and however possible. Site owners loaded a laundry list of keywords in meta-tagging, placed the lot as viewable links at the bottom of each page or embedded them as text the same color as the background so they could not be viewed by the human eye. As search engine algorithms grew more sophisticated, many of these practices were blackballed.
While a list of keywords in meta-tagging alone is not enough to improve a site’s visibility, keywords themselves remain the best starting point. Strong search terms identified by thorough keyword analysis should be used in your meta-tagging, page copy, within code for images and links. The difference between low visibility sites and websites that get traffic is that where and how often keywords are used follows search engine guidelines.