Key Words and Phrases: Why Your Website Needs Them to Get More Customers

The key words and phrases in your website content will either work to get more customers or not.

The reason why the words you use are so important, is because they determine, together with a few other factors, like adding content regularly, whether you will get traffic or not via search engines like Google.

When search engines feature your pages on their results page, you get eyeballs on your website without having to pay for them.

Now, you can keep paying for advertising to bring clicks to your site, or you can work to attract traffic via search engines, but ideally, you will use both techniques to drive more traffic to your website.

This article will explain what key words and phrases are, and why you need to grasp understanding of them so that your website will work to get more customers = higher profit.

What are key words and phrases?

Key words and phrases are the words and phrases used that people type into the search box of a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo to get results of what they are looking for.

In the example below, the user is looking for restaurants in Port Elizabeth, with the search term, “restaurants port elizabeth”.


“Restaurants port elizabeth” is the key phrase used in the example.

Why website owners need to learn about key words and phrases

Search engines are all about words: every time someone tries to find something online, they use certain words to tell the engine what to look for.

Now here’s where it gets important for you: search engines can’t feature your website on their search results page if they don’t know what your site is about, and whether it will be a good “fit” for the user’s search. The only way an engine like Google can see whether your website will provide the best answer for their user, is by knowing what your site is about with the key words and phrases used on it.

Using certain words – researched words – is a large part of what is termed, “search engine optimisation” – by using good words in your web content, you make it easy for engines to choose your pages to show their users.

The thing is that you can’t just use the words you think you should use, because your website is not supposed to be all about you; it has to be designed for the people you are targeting – those who will buy your solutions.

So the tricky part is understanding what key words and phrases are, why they’re important, and how to use them on your website to attract more traffic.

Understanding the different types of keywords

In order to be effective, the key words and phrases used on your website have to speak the language of your target persona. This is because you don’t just want anyone on your website; you only want those who are “qualified” to buy your goods. And so, you have to use the words those people use.

Keywords are all about your customers, so it’s really important to think about the different routes potential customers take when searching for your offerings.

Besides, Google is big on user experience, so as far as SEO goes, it makes sense to model your priorities on what’s important to them.

Your customers will more than likely move through these stages on their journey from initial research to brand loyalty:

  1. Research stage: this is the first step when your potential customers start searching for options to address their needs. So if you want to attract them to your site at this stage, you need to use the key words and phrases they would use in this stage. These phrases usually consist of two words. E.g. “running sneakers”.
  2. Consideration stage: when they have done their research to find out options, they will then move on to thinking about which option is best. Consideration keyword terms are usually 2 – 3 words. An example of these words would be, “best air sneakers”.
  3. Purchase stage: your potential customer has made up his or her mind and is now ready to purchase. The terms used are typically made up of 3 or more words. An example of a phrase used in this stage would be, “cheapest air sneakers”.
  4. Loyalty stage: your now-customer has made their purchase and is now ready to be loyal to you. The search terms used in this phase would typically contain your and your competitors brand words. Example: “Nike air sneakers”.

As you can see, at each of these stages, different key words and phrases are used.

Common key words and phrases mistakes

The most common mistakes people make when doing keyword research are:

  • Using one-word keywords
  • Using a phrase that is not focused enough
  • Using keywords that are not focused on what you offer
  • Terms that are too specialised and which nobody searches for
  • Terms which are not used much
  • Highly-competitive terms that have way too much competition

The goal to finding key words and phrases that work

The trick is finding keyword search terms that:

  1. Are popular as search terms
  2. Not many of your competitors are using
  3. That your specific target persona is actually using to search

It doesn’t help if you find awesome keywords that many people are searching for and have a low amount of competition, but if your target audience is not searching for those keywords, they are no good.

So, one of the keys to using words that work, is to first conduct target persona research, so that you know what words are being used by them, and which you can also use to attract them.

Related: How to Get Better Leads Using Target Personas

The formula for successful keyword research

The keywords you choose should ideally be the phrases internet users most use, but which most of your competitors are not using.

In other words:

Many searches for the keyword phrase +

low competition =

great keyword/phrase.

If you consider all the websites in all the world that are related to your industry and competing for online traffic, you can understand that finding keywords and key phrases to use in your content, but which don’t have a high competition rate, may not be an easy task.

Learn how to do key words and phrases research.

That’s because many others may have gone before you, and have already snatched the best keywords and keep working to keep the best keywords.


Performing keyword research requires technique which has to be learned, but once understood, can be used to optimise just about all your online marketing activities, because everything online is about the words you use.


Author: Claire
Not just a writer, Claire specialises in increasing your website traffic and online sales through the use of smart, search engine optimised content that is targeted towards a certain audience. She specialises in compiling online content for SaaS, Telecoms, small business and marketing. Claire comes from a background in marketing and service operations analytics focusing on the customer experience.