Keywords are at the heart of search engine optimization and for new and established online businesses they are an integral part of driving potential customers to the site. It is very important to understand the basics of how they operate as they play a very important part in getting your site indexed and recognized on the major search engines as well as helping you to rank highly in search results. When used correctly they can be a fantastic source of organic, non paid for traffic to help your business.
Your keyword should describe your business, product or service in the best way possible. It is important to get into the mindset of the customer and ask yourself what you think they would type into a search engine to find your site. The length of the keyword or keyword phrase is not important if you think that this will lead a potential customer to your site.
The longer phrases are known as, 'long tail keywords' and often have more relative success as even though they are less frequently entered into search engines it is more likely that a customer will arrive at exactly what they want when they hit your site. An example would be a customer typing in, Tennis Racket, 'which is a short keyword phrase that would bring millions of results meaning you are unlikely to be able to rank for that keyword. However, if you used the long tail keyword phrase, 'Head TiS6 Titanium Tennis Racket,' you would be much more likely to be able to rank for that as there will be fewer people searching for this term.
Competition for keywords is another important consideration when planning your SEO strategy. High competition will mean that there are a lot of people trying to rank for the same keyword and low competition will mean the opposite. This is quite self explanatory but it is of paramount importance to do your research into this area before you start to try and rank your site. It is important to remember a high competition keyword may have the financial backing and support of a major international or national company behind it so it is unlikely you will ever rank for it no matter how good your site and search engine optimization is.
This is only a basic introduction to the use of keywords. The most important thing to remember is to be realistic with your SEO expectations and always research thoroughly before investing both your time and money into a project.