The way search engine optimization works is changing extremely rapidly and the importance of keywords seems to have all but disappeared with the emergence of long-tail keywords. Earlier, digital campaigns used to rely very much on keywords because search engines used to collect keywords contained in the web pages to establish a profile of the website and rank it in the search results page. Depending upon how high they were ranked in the searches conducted with specific keywords, companies could gauge their SEO success. This was a very simple relationship that made stuffing keywords and observing the ranking extremely easy.
Keywords are Important In Content for SEO?
However, rampant misuse and black hat practices regarding superfluous and often misleading keywords in websites led to Google downgrading the importance of keywords for page rankings. Nevertheless, according to a Utah SEO company guide, many experts still hold the view that keywords still retain a lot of importance, though the relationship with search visibility has become far more complex, and there are many other optimization techniques to follow.
Keyword Placement Is More Critical Than Frequency
In the modern context and in light of evolving search engine algorithms, the placement of keywords has emerged as being more important than their frequency. Keywords however remain important to provide information to Google regarding the nature of the web page, though their impact on the actual rankings is now less quantifiable. Google identifies key areas of websites and gives more importance to Meta information as well as information in the headers in relation to body copy. The algorithms give the least importance to footers and side bars. This classification makes it vital for companies to include company descriptors in the header and Meta data, but it is best to use multiple keyword phrases to avoid penalties arising out of repetitive use of one or some.
Google Looking For the Sense Rather Than for Definite Words
One of the main reasons why keywords got relegated because Google has evolved to such an extent that it now attempts to interpret the content of the website to form its conclusions about the purpose of the site rather than pairing user queries to keyword phrases contained in the site. According to a recent Internet marketing companies guide by examiner.com, Google has already been significantly successful in interpreting the meanings of keyword searches by analyzing the synonyms of the keywords. This effectively means that the site owners are not restricted to using the same set of keywords repetitively but can extend their vocabulary to other similar terms and still Google would be able to classify them accurately.
Semantic Searches Are Starting to Have Impact
From the release of the Hummingbird update in 2013, Google has been placing more importance on the semantics of search terms being used by web searchers. This is very similar to Google trying to make sense of the content of the web page rather than focusing on keyword phrases. For example, a search query for “delicious chicken sandwiches in Seattle” would semantically search for the meaning of the search rather than losing its way in websites that had included the words as keywords and avoiding results that can easily include stores, restaurants, festive gatherings, etc. Google is trying to provide more intelligent answers to searches by trying and interpreting the semantics of the search and figuring out the intention of the searcher rather the presence of keywords.
Site Structure Is Important
For SEO, two types of structure matters, the big picture structure is all about the way the site is laid out and its navigability. Google pushes up sites in its rankings that are easily navigable making it simple for users to locate information. A good way to achieve this is to ensure pages are titled appropriately, head bars are used to make navigation simple, and inclusion of a site map of the entire website that is bot crawl-able. Internal content should also be interlinked as the site is ranked higher when the path between pages is short. This can be effectively done by linking the pages to each other.
Small-picture structure is all about the layout of individual web pages. This essentially means adhering to the traditional structure preferred by Google comprising header, sidebars, footers, and body. Appropriate content needs to be placed in each section so that Google has it easy scanning the web pages and deriving the meaning of the content making the inclusion of specific keyword phrases irrelevant.
Author bio: Rachel Stewart is an SEO expert and author of many guides on effective SEO for marketing companies. She is called upon frequently to speak at public forums on the changing dynamics of search engine ranking parameters. 😀