Keywords are the words and phrases that describe a page. Keywords are also the words that search engine users to find the pages they want. Search engines, in essence, retrieve information related to the user‘s keyword based on the keywords in web pages. If a user types the words “digital camera” into a search engine, he or she will get a long list of websites that contain the keywords “digital camera” somewhere in their pages.

Search engines rank pages based on how much they relate to keywords. There are millions of sites online that use the keywords “digital camera,” but some are more related to those words than others. One site may be devoted to digital photography with reviews and information about digital cameras and how to use them. Another site may mention digital cameras briefly, but the site itself concentrates on travel. When a user types a keyword or words into a search engine, he or she has a certain expectation. They want a site about digital cameras specifically, not travel pages that mention digital cameras. If the user had wanted travel, they would have typed “travel” into the search engine. If that user wanted to know information about how digital cameras relate to travel, they could have typed “digital camera travel” into a search engine.

This is the essence of keywords. They are a way to boil down the topics of a website into single words and phrases. Search engine users will then type the topics for which they want to know more information into search engines, and then the search engine will match this information with websites that have already been indexed by the search engine. The job of search engines then becomes to match the user‘s keywords with a website‘s keywords. Since the search engine keeps a large database of information about various sites online and the keywords used on these sites, they can match this information together relatively quickly with the aid of their algorithms.

Keywords are dependent almost entirely on the text within a website. Imagine that someone created a very basic website with a page title, pictures, and information about digital cameras. When a search engine spider went through that page, the program would see many uses of the word “digital camera” on that site, obviously making that phrase a keyword for that website. The spider will also get other keywords from that website, too, based on the text of that site. Spiders will take a count of the words and phrases on a website and, after disregarding common words and articles like “a,” “and,” and “the,” will use the most common words and phrases to determine keyword, which might include “tripod,” “megapixel,” or “lens,” as well.

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