SEO is a “living and breathing thing” of the Web. Changes are to be expected. And as search engines get smarter and consumers get much more sophisticated and more discerning, those changes will mean that the strategies you once held so close and so dear to your heart may no longer create the kind of results you want.
Also, the old ways may even be frowned upon by search engines, and you’re more than likely to get your website knocked off from results pages or penalised in the worst way possible.
The Relevance of Keywords
One old strategy for optimising websites has to do with keywords. Before, black hat tactics ruled optimisation works, like stuffing websites and blogs with so many keywords that content practically rendered themselves unreadable, and mostly senseless. When the search engines got wise to this tactic, the focus started to shift away from such trickeries. Instead of bombarding content with keywords, businesses used more appropriate and targeted keywords.
Today, SEO keywords still matter to the Web marketing landscape. Search engines still need those cues to determine what it is your business does or what your blogs deliver. But all indications point to smarter placement rather than frequency of keywords; the location of your keywords within a page is more critical. Key areas to place those targeted and carefully chosen words include the title tag and the header.
Placement isn’t the only new direction your SEO strategy should be taking where keywords are concerned. Instead of merely tinkering with your website for specific phrases, it’s more effective to optimise it for specific meaning.
Google Searches for Meaning — Not Keywords
Here’s where “The Matrix” becomes probable: Google now knows how to search for meaning behind the query. Indeed, these search bots are getting smarter. Semantic search has actually been in effect since the release of the Hummingbird. This new and possibly frightening development in SEO means that anyone who searches for anything can get better results.
Google no longer just looks at each keyword phrase as a block, but rather interprets long phrases. So even if your website doesn’t contain the exact keyword used by the user, if it provides relevant content, your site will still show up on the results page.
But any good search engine optimisation consultant will tell you that the placement of your keywords and the relevance of your content are not going to matter without some solid structure. Once users find your website, they have to get around and explore with ease and speed. Otherwise, they move to another site.
The focus on how and where to use keywords may have changed. But they still definitely play a role in your SEO strategy. So use them wisely, and with support from other ranking factors.