“Keyword” has always been a relevant term when it comes to content. But times are a-changing and processes are shifting. Even Google has changed their algorithms plenty of times in the past years. So if this is the case, does it mean that keywords do not matter as much anymore?
Simple answer to the question will be yes.
It is not the sole basis of ranking on search engines any longer.
Keywords, Plus a Bit More
So there you have it. Even experts confirm that keywords still matter in the business, but unlike a few years ago, there’s a lot more that you have to worry about aside from this. Here are a few other things that are just as important as your basic keywords:
Let’s say you have two different users interested in an Italian restaurant. They may be using the same keywords, but they may have different intentions. For example, one may be interested in reserving a seat in any Italian restaurant in the city, while the other could be interested in reviews for Italian restaurants in the area. They have the same keyword – Italian restaurant. However, one may be using the search query “table reservation for Italian restaurant in New York”, while the other maybe typing in “top Italian restaurants on Lexington”.
If you focus solely on keywords, you may end up sending your message to the wrong audience.
This time, let’s talk about two different people looking for the exact same thing, but in different locations. If they both type in “table reservation for Italian restaurant”, but one is in Chicago and the other is in New York, do you think they would be able to get results specific to their location? Although Google has the smarts to figure out where you are, there’s a huge chance the results will be general.
Now let’s say one types in “table reservation for Italian restaurant on Broadway”, while the other asks for “table reservation for Italian restaurant on Oak Street”. They are most likely going to get exactly what they’re looking for.
Here’s an even trickier one. If you’re interested in “production protocols”, you’re going to have to be more specific. This keyword can be used across different fields and industries, and using this keyword alone could give you very confusing answers. Are you interested in protocols in the tech industry, or perhaps, somewhere along the lines of textile?
Demographics also plays a huge role when it comes to searches. You can’t just search for a red jacket. That’s going to show you an unbelievably long list of all kinds of jackets. Try searching for “men’s red leather jacket” or “wool jacket for kids” and the search results become more relevant.
These are just some of the relevant things you should be looking at when creating content. You’ll especially understand the impact of these factors if you’re familiar with how searches were done around 10 years ago. At that time, you can just fill an entire webpage with the word “red jacket” and it will turn up on top of search results even if it does not really offer any relevant information.
Getting Ready for Smarter Searches
Today, search engine optimization (SEO) does not look at how much you use the keyword. Rather, it looks at how you use it. As somebody working with content, you should know for a fact that using the same keywords over and over is very bad for business. Nobody would want to read it because it seems like you’re banging the information into your audience’s head.
Today, search engines are more interested in looking at which pieces of content give more value to the reader. They look at which content is more relevant, and what content readers find easy to read. It’s all about what they audience want and need to hear, not what the brands want to say.
How do you maximize the use of keywords while incorporating the other factors search engines look for?
- Perform an SEO audit. Just look at all your existing pages and check what kind of keywords you have in place, especially the most frequently visited pages. Categorize these keywords and figure out other keyword variations you can add to those pages.
- Use keywords on the most important places. Keyword placement matters now more than anything. Make sure you have them on your meta descriptions, titles, URLs, content subheadings, image titles, alt text, and your content body.
- Use keywords naturally. Don’t force your keywords to blend into your content. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work – change the format, add stop words or reorganize the words on your keyword. No matter what happens, make sure they naturally ease into your content.
- Make your keywords specific. Instead of general keywords, concentrate on long-tailed specific ones that will grab a smaller percentage of the audience, but will ensure a higher percentage of action on the part of the person you have reached. This, as opposed to targeting a large crowd with a general keyword, but most of them walking away uninterested.
Keywords may now share the spotlight with a few other factors, but it doesn’t mean it has been rendered useless. It’s all about knowing how to use them all in perfect harmony.