Keywords Matter, Keywords Don’t Matter – How To Make Sense of SEO Evolution – Business Intelligence Info

Searchengineoptimizationseemstoconfusealotofpeople。

SomesmallbusinessownersI’vetalkedtojustfrownwhenItrytoexplainittothem。

Othersdon’treallyevenwantmetoexplainit。

Theyjustwanttheirpagestorankwell。

Unfortunately,alltheconfusionisprobablynotgoingtogoaway。

Asthesearchenginesgetsmarter,therearefewerhardandfastrulestoclingto。

Techniquesthatwerewidelyendorsedevenafewyearsagocouldnowlandyouintrouble。

Thewholedebatearoundlinksisagoodexampleofthis。

Butkeywordsareanevenbetterexample。

Arekeywordsdead?

ThereareseveralarticlesaboutkeywordsbeingdeadonprettymucheverywebsitethatcoversSEO。

Mostofthosearticlescometooneoftheseconclusions:

Keywordsaren’tdead。

It’sjustthewayweshouldusethemhasevolved

Keywordsaredead。

They’vebeenreplacedby“semanticsearch”and“userintent“

Bothconclusionsareright。

Keywordbestpracticeshavedefinitelychanged。

Andthosebestpracticeshavechangedbecausethesearchenginesnowunderstandkeywordsinawaythat’smuchmorelikeahumanuserwouldunderstandthem?

ImagecourtesyofGetBrandWise。

com

Keywordsarenotdead

Butjustsowe’reallclear:Keywordsstillmatter。

Theyaren’tdead。

Aslongaspeopleasstilltypingkeywords,aka“searchphrases”intosearchengines,keywordswillstillmatter。

Thequestiontoaskwithkeywordsisnotwhetherthey’redeadornot。

Thequestionishowtousethemnow。

Iwillbegivingyousomeveryspecificexamplesofhowtodothatinamoment。

Buttounderstandwhat’schangedwithkeywordsrequiresabriefjourneyintosearchenginetheory,namelytheconceptof“semanticsearch”?

What’ssemanticsearch?

SemanticsearchisatthecruxofhowkeywordusageforSEOhaschanged。

Understandit,andprettymucheverycurrentbestpracticeforkeywordswillmakesense。

Fortunately,it’snottoohard。

Andthewordsmithsamongyouhaveprobablyalreadyfigureditout。

It’sallinthesemantics。

Inotherwords,thesearchenginesarenowattemptingtohandlekeywordsthesamewayhumanshandlewords。

Thesearchenginesarealsoactivelytryingtoidentifyanddownplaypagesthathavebeenoverlymanipulatedtorankwell。

Semanticsis“thebranchoflinguisticsandlogicconcernedwithmeaning”,accordingtoGoogle’sownresults。

Here’sthedefinitionofsemanticsearch,accordingtoWikipedia(andGoogle,too):

Semanticsearchseekstoimprovesearchaccuracybyunderstandingsearcherintentandthecontextualmeaningoftermsastheyappearinthesearchabledataspace,whetherontheWeborwithinaclosedsystem,togeneratemorerelevantresults。

Sowhatwe’retalkingabouthereisthatthesearchenginesaren’tjustlookingatthesequenceofletterswhensomeonetypes“Chinesefood”。

Thatmighthavebeentruetenyearsago,andthenitmighthaveworkedtohave“Chinesefood”ineverysubheadonyourpageandinyourtitle。

Butnowsearchenginestrytodecryptauser’sintentionfromasearch。

Theycandothisseveralways,like:

Checkingwheretheuserisgeographicallyandservingupinformationbasedonthat

Checkingwhattheuserhassearchedforbefore,andservingupinformationbasedonthat

Checkingwhatthemostcommonuserintentsare,andofferingsearchresultsthatfitthemostcommonuserintents

What’scoolaboutthisisthatsearchenginesaren’tjustdumbbotsstreakingthroughtrillionsofwebpagestofindexactmatchesfor“Chinesefood”。

They’relearningmachines。

Searchenginestrackandlearnfromourbehavior。

That’swhyIseedifferentresultsfrommyGooglesearchesthanyoudo。

Youwon’tseethesameresultsIseewhenIsearchfor“Chinesefood。

”That’sbecauseGooglehasinterpretedmyuserintentfrommypastsearches。

Searchisinfluencedbycontext

Theotherbigpartofsemanticsearchiscontext。

Thisishintedatinuserintent,butcontextalsoincludesotherrelatedwords。

Contextiswhythesearchenginesunderstandthat“rose”and“planting”arerelatedkeywords,while“Chinesefood”and“stencils”arenot。

IfyoureadarticlesorlistentoSEOwebinarsofexpertstalkingaboutkeywords,theyoftentalkabouthowweshouldnowthinkofkeywordsasiftheywereconceptsortopics。

It’sagoodwaytodescribewhat’schanged。

Butthere’saneveneasier:Startthinkingofyourkeywordslikeahuman,notlikeasearchengine。

That’snotthecompletestoryonsemanticsearch(thereareentirebooksaboutthesubject),butit’sthegistofit。

ForadeeperdiveintosemanticsearchandhowtounderstandSEOasawhole,seeourebook,“SEO101:TheBasicsandBeyond。

”Itoutlines

Themajorrecentsearchengineupdates

Howtocraftwell-optimizedcontentforspecificaudiences

Keywordresearch

Howtooptimizeeachpartofyourpages

Bestpracticesforsite-wideSEO

Specificadviceonhowtousekeywordsnow

Nowthatyou’rearmedwithsomebackgroundonkeywordusage,I’vegotthreelistsforyou:Whattodo,whattonotdo,andwhattobecarefulwithwhenyou’reworkingwithkeywords。

KeywordDos

Varyyourkeywords。

Thedaysofinsistingthatonestatictermbeusedthroughoutapageareover。

Tossthatideaout。

It’sfarbettertowriteyourpageslikeyouwouldnaturally,withoutasearchenginebotoveryourshoulder。

Specifically,thatmeansusingtenses(write,wrote,written,forexample)andrelatedterms(like“penned”,“authored”,“composed”)。

Thinkofyourkeywordsmoreastopicsorconcepts。

Thisviewpointmakesyoumorelikelytocreatecontentthatincludesyourkeywordsbutisn’tchainedtothem。

Placeyourkeywordsstrategicallythroughoutyourpage。

Don’toverdoitandalwayskeepthebestinterestsofyourreaderasyourprimarygoal,butaddingkeywordsinafewstrategicplacescanincreaseyourpagereadability,andincreasethelikelihoodthatasearcherwillselectyourpagevsacompetitivepagewhentheyarelookingforinformation。

Formoreinformation,checkoutCriticalRulesforSEOSuccess。

Title。

Eachpageonyoursiteshouldhaveauniquetitletag。

Ifpossiblethekeyword(coreconceptofthepage)shouldstartinthefirst10characters。

Metadescription。

Eachpageonyoursiteshouldhaveauniquemetadescription。

Youwantthegivethereaderaquicksummaryofwhattheywillfindonthepage,andincludingthekeywordisagoodwaytodothis。

Alttagsarethetagsusedtodescribeimages。

Theirhighestdutyistohelpvisitorswhocan’tseetheimagetounderstandwhattheimageistryingtoconvey。

H1–H6tags。

H1tagsareheadlinesandgivethereaderaquickunderstandingofwhatisonthepage。

H2–H6tagsaresubheadersandgivethereaderaquickwaytoskimthepageandstopatthesectionthatisrelevanttothem。

Alsoaddkeywords(carefully)to:

Filenames

Directorynames

Blogcategories

KeywordDon’ts

Donotfocusonkeyworddensity:It’sover。

Stopcountinghowmanytimesyouuseyourkeywordonapage。

Donot“stuff”oroverusekeywords。

Here’sanexampleofkeywordstuffinginanalttag:

imgsrc=”sampleimage。

gif”alt=”CRMsoftware,CRM,CRMsoftwarecompanies,bestCRMsoftware,CRMservices,CRMcompanies”

AgoodALTtagwouldn’tbewrittenatalllikethat。

Itwouldbewrittentoactuallyhelptheuser。

KeepinmindthatALTtagcopyalsosometimesgetsgrabbedbysocialmediaplatforms(likePinterest)asdescriptioncopy。

AndkeepyourALTcopyshort:Therecommendedmaximumlengthis65characters(includingspaces)。

Here’sgoodalttext:

imgsrc=”sampleimage。

gif”alt=”UseourCRMsoftwareguidetodecidewhichsolutionisbestforyou。



FormoreinformationonkeywordstuffingandwhatGoogleconsidersirrelevantkeywords,seetheirQualityguidelinesarticleaboutirrelevantkeywords。

Donotfocusonrankingforonesingle,chosenkeyword。

Therearetensofthousandsofsearchesoccurringthatincludeyourkeyword,orthatyourpagemightrankfor。

(Yourpagecanrankforakeywordthatyoudon’texpect。

Itdependsonthemeaningofyourcontent,andthetermsthesearcheruses。

)Justobsessingoverthatonekeywordwouldactuallycostyoutraffic–andalotofit。

Remember,16to20%ofsearchquerieshaveneverbeensearchedforbefore。

That’showmanyvariationsofsearchesare。

Don’tjustrestrictyourselftoonestatickeywordbecausethat’swhatpoppedupinakeywordtool。

Remember:Optimizeforconcepts,notkeywords。

Becarefulwith:

Forexample:MarianneSmithisaworld-classcopywriteratABCAgency。

Intheexampleabove,“copywriter”isthe“anchortext”。

Anchortextisjustthewordsthatarehyperlinked。

It’sokaytosprinklekeywordsintohyperlinks/anchortext,butdon’toverdoit。

Andyou’llbebetteroffifyouvarythatanchortext。

Forourexample,wecouldhave:

MarianneSmithisaworld-classwriteratABCAgency。

MarianneSmithisaworld-classwordsmithatABCAgency。

Ifthiswasanauthorbiographyattheendofaguestpost,thebestpracticeistoskipthekeywordaltogetherandgowiththeperson’snameorcompanyname,likethis:

MarianneSmithisaworld-classcopywriteratABCAgency。

MarianneSmithisaworld-classcopywriteratABCAgency。

Formoredetailsonhowtoplaysafewithinboundlinks,checkGoogle’sQualityGuidelinespageaboutLinkSchemes。

Conclusion

Keywordsdostillmatter,butthey’renowshapedbytheircontextandeachuser’ssearchintent。

Simplythinkingofkeywordsasstaticthingsnowwillhurtyoursearchengineoptimizationwork。

Instead,thinkofkeywordsmorelikeconceptsortopics。

Trytounderstand–anddeliveron–theintentoftheuserwhotypedthem。

Whatisthequestiontheyareasking?

Howwelldoesyourpageanswerthatquestion?

AndrememberthatkeywordsarejustonepieceoftheoverallSEOpuzzle。

Wantmoretipsabouthowtooptimizeyourcontentforthelonghaul?


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