Key Points

  • Keyword Importance: Keywords are essential for driving search engine traffic and landing on the first page of Google.
  • Ranking Factors: Focus on content quality, backlinks, and mobile-friendliness for better Google rankings.
  • Improving SEO: Use keyword research, on-page optimization, and technical SEO to enhance search rankings.
  • SEO Monitoring: Regularly review and adjust optimization tactics using tools and expert partnerships for effective SEO and monetization.

SEO keywords. They’re something every publisher and content creator needs to understand.

At their core, keywords are just that: words and phrases. But behind this benign phonetic appearance is a whole world of algorithms, search engine rankings, and stiff competition.

As a publisher or digital creator, it’s not enough to craft killer content. If you want readers to get to your site, you need to master the art of organic reach, and that’s all about SEO. 

Let’s explore the world of keyword rankings, dive into some actionable strategies to improve your SEO presence, and learn about what SEO tools you can use to optimize not only your rankings but also your revenue.

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Why Keyword Rankings Matter

Less than 1% of searchers move past page one of Google. 

To get to those users and drive them to your content, you need to master keyword rankings. While we might not know the ins and outs of the Google search algorithm, we know that its whole goal is to help users find relevant content fast. 

Keywords? They’re the beacons that light up your site as a relevant source of information meaning the right keywords make all the difference. 

Here’s an example: let’s say you're a publisher in the tech space writing blogs on everything from the newest iPhone to trends in the gaming industry. To produce relevant search results, Google will crawl through the digital frontier, looking for sites with content that revolves around tech topics. When a user searches for “the best smartphone,” its goal is to spit out the most relevant and helpful information. 

If that publisher targets keywords like “best smartphone,” they’ll have a higher chance of hitting that first page of results.

Now, if they’re not targeting keywords, they’ll be way down in the search results. 

There are a few different types of keywords, and each ties to a specific type of search intent:

  • Informational keywords target searchers looking for information.
  • Navigational keywords help searchers find a specific page.
  • Commercial keywords target users who want to investigate brands, products, or services.
  • Transactional keywords help searchers complete an action, like making a purchase.

The right mix of keywords will help Google better understand the content on your site. The more relevant, helpful, and original Google thinks your site is, the higher in the rankings you’ll be. And the higher in the search engine rankings you are, the higher chance you’ll get that sweet, sweet click from the user.

Search Engine Ranking Factors

So, how does Google make the magic happen? Now, this is a bit of a black box of information. While we get breadcrumbs every once in a while, there isn’t some exhaustive list of search engine ranking factors to go by — far from it.

Add to this the fact that Google changes its algorithm as often as the seasons shift, and you can see why even SEO experts get confused.

We know that Google calls their algorithms “ranking systems.” Many of these systems apply to all search queries and some only target specific types of searches. These ranking systems take in a whole host of factors and signals. 

Smaller updates? They happen almost daily. Big core updates? Those take place every few months or so.

Now, some Google keyword ranking factors have been confirmed. Others are considered pretty concrete by SEO experts, and the rest, well, they’re mere speculation. 

Let’s take a look at some of those confirmed factors:

  • Content Relevance: Is your content relevant to the query?
  • Content Quality: Google uses various means to assess content quality.
  • Backlinks: These are relevant links from other sites.
  • Physical Proximity: For local SEO purposes.
  • Mobile-Friendliness: How does a site perform on mobile devices?
  • Page Performance: These revolve around Core Web Vitals like page load speed.
  • HTTPS: Another way of saying security.

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Strategies for Improving SEO Keywords

Now that we understand why keywords are important and how Google ranks content, what are some strategies you can use to strengthen your chances of hitting those top slots on the search engine results page?


Keywords need to be relevant to your content. But that’s only one ranking factor you need to understand.

In the world of SEO keyword research, a few other factors paint a clear picture of how effective a specific keyword will be for your content. The first is search volume, or the number of searches a specific keyword has, and difficulty, how competitive it will be to rank for that keyword.

If you're a publisher in a popular niche, you’re going to face some stiff competition on popular keywords. 

A keyword ranking checker tool is your friend here. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner or paid options like Semrush to gauge which keywords you should target. Try to strike a balance between search volume and difficulty. 

Once you have your target keyword list, it’s time to craft content.


Google is looking for high-quality and relevant content. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and to trick the algorithm into putting your page higher. Nowadays, that’s a recipe for SEO disaster. 

You'll be in good shape if you craft killer content that gets right to the user’s query. Of course, that’s only the start. 

On-page optimization is anything you can do on-page to boost your search result rankings.

This includes:

  • Site content
  • Keywords
  • Images
  • Title tags
  • Meta descriptions
  • Headers
  • URL structure
  • Internal linking 
  • External linking
  • And much more

Master each of these, and you’re on your way to the top of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).


Backlinks are the often forgotten aspect of any SEO strategy. Basically, a backlink is when a website links out to yours. In addition to driving brand awareness and traffic, backlinks can also boost your SEO performance.

Many sites get backlinks naturally; others have to put in the work of reaching out to potential publishers and asking them to link to their sites. 

Sites with the highest number of total backlinks usually rank the best in Google.

Do all backlinks pack the same SEO punch? Well, no. Quality matters, just like with other ranking factors. So, if you’re interested in developing a backlink strategy, be sure to only target high-quality sites with high domain authority in your niche.

If you can get placement on these, you’ll be in great shape.

You’ll also need to avoid toxic backlink practices. These include:

  • Paying for backlinks
  • Using link exchanges
  • Using automated programs
  • Forcing keywords into anchor text in a spammy way


Technical SEO revolves around the backend of your site. This includes everything from sitemaps and SEO-friendly site structure to website speed and mobile-friendliness. 

This aspect of SEO is important because it impacts your site performance, which, if you remember, is one of those confirmed ranking factors. If your site isn’t accessible to search engines, they simply won’t rank — regardless of how awesome your content is.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Make sure your site is easily crawlable, as this is how Google finds your content.
  • Create an SEO-friendly site architecture that’s easy to navigate.
  • Be sure to submit your sitemap to Google.
  • Master indexing and make sure your pages are indexed.
  • Use HTTPS.
  • Always work to improve page speed.
  • Make sure your site is mobile-friendly.

Technical SEO is quite complex, so don’t stress if some of these terms go right over your head. Start with the basics listed above. If you tackle just the fundamentals, you’ll still be ahead of most other publishers in your niche.

Measure, Monitor, and Stay Updated

If you’ve got a great SEO keyword strategy, a handle on on-page optimization, and an understanding of the basics of technical SEO, you’re off to a good start. 

Search engine optimization, though, is not a static process. It’s dynamic, ever-changing, and somewhat mysterious.

To make sure your SEO strategy is working, always monitor site metrics. Using tools like Google Search Console and Analytics will help you get a clear picture of how your pages are performing. A keyword rank checker tool, such as Semrush or Sitechecker, is also essential.

You’ll want to regularly revisit your keyword strategy, fine-tuning which ones you target and the content that supports those keywords.

Experimentation is your friend. Try something new, and see how your metrics react. If it’s working and you have the data to back up your strategies, you’re working that SEO magic. But, as the space changes quite regularly, you’ll still want to stay active on what changes Google is bringing to the table.

At the end of the day, being proactive in your approach to SEO and keywords is critical.

Get Monetization Ready with Playwire

So, what do you do with all that traffic? If your SEO keywords are pushing your pages to the top of the SERP, it might be time to consider monetization.

Turning that traffic into revenue is its own art. The last thing you want to do is alienate your new audience with a ton of irrelevant ads or paid promotions that turn them back to the front page of Google, looking for a better option. 

That’s where Playwire comes in.

We’re your all-in-one monetization partner. We’ll bring the tools and expertise; you bring the killer content. 

Contact the team today to learn more about your ad tech tooling options.

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