With all of the Google updates and changes to the search algorithm that have been made by other search engines, there is a lot of debate as to whether or not keywords remain important in terms of getting your online content to rank high and bring in traffic.
While the originality and length of the content that you post is paramount, keywords remain important for standard best SEO practices. What has changed is how keywords can be used on a site so that the content stands out and is found by the search engine bots in such a way as to increase the rankings of a given website and its individual pages.
3 Tips for Using Keywords
Keep the following tips in mind when you are planning your site’s pages and content to make certain that you are still getting the most out of your keyword research and other optimisation strategies.
Balance Keyword Placement and Frequency
In the past, marketers would “stuff” their content with the same keyword, to increase their page and site ranking. This strategy no longer works. It can result in your site being penalised and actually appearing further down in the search results, because the changes to search algorithms help users find better content.
Now, you want to be careful to not repeat a keyword too often in your content. In general, once every 100 to 300 words in the body of your content is best. You also want to be very careful where you actually place your keywords.
When Google bots scan your site, they break it up into key areas. Meta data and headers get the most attention, the copy in the body a page gets second priority, and sidebars and footers get the least attention.
Placing your keyword once in the Meta data and header and then once or twice in the body is the best practice to avoid being penalised and to stop your copy from being boring to read.
The Role of Semantic Search and the Meaning of Specific Words
Semantic search rolled out in a 2013 Google update, and its’ importance continues to grow. Not only does Google look at specific keywords and where they are placed, it looks at the meaning of the individual keywords and the meaning of all of the other words on your page. The search engine also looks at the meaning of the words used by individuals who are conducting a specific search.
Ideally, you will optimise your site for a specific overall meaning, or theme, and then use keywords that anchor and further develop this theme, so that you establish your authority in this area with both the search engines and your target human audience. You will also want to include local SEO practices and keywords as you build your site and create your posts. This will help you rank for the potential customers and clients that are actually looking for your products and services in your location.
Google and the other search engines are constantly updating and tweaking their search algorithms in order to make it easier for users to find meaningful, high quality results. Check back with us frequently in order to get the full details on these and other changes that will impact your ability to connect with your audience.