When it comes to internet marketing, the only rule is that rules don’t tend to stay in place for too long. As soon as you’re starting to get the hang of all this search engine optimization stuff, Google tweaks its algorithm, and you’re back to the drawing board.
But, no other topic is as debated as the importance of SEO keywords. Are they still relevant in 2019 or should we forget about highly targeted words and phrases?
The keyword debate isn’t exactly new. Webmasters have been discussing their relevancy as ranking factors for quite a while now. It all started with the news that Google is trying to understand more about natural language, and will try to incorporate it into the list of its search engine ranking criteria. And, the thing is, it’s getting pretty good at that.
From Google’s perspective, the change means offering a better user experience. The more the search engines understand natural language, the better the result. Therefore, a Search Engine will be able to comprehend what a user is searching, not just try to match a specific keyword. It will look for synonyms, and similar topics, connecting them just like a human would do.
Of course, all these changes mean a different thing for marketers. Many seem to believe that the news brings forward the official death of the keyword or at least signals towards a drop in its importance for digital marketing.
But before you completely overlook your list of keywords from now on, let’s dive a bit deeper into the subject and get a few things straight.
What Are SEO Keywords?
SEO keywords are the terms integrated within your website used to drive traffic. The more research you do to choose relevant and valuable keywords, the more targeted the traffic. They are used to describe your website, your pages, and your content.
Are Keywords Relevant for 2019?
The debate regarding keywords’ relevancy has its roots in how SEO has changed over the years. Today, we know that your content quality, inbound and outbound links, social sharing, website speed, and design, and mobile accessibility can all factor in and determine your rank in search engine results.
Keywords used to act as little cues web crawlers could use to understand what your website is about and bring it back on a result page with a matching query. Now, search engines don’t have to match keywords, because they can understand them.
But it’s fair to assume keywords will still hold some weight over website rank too. However, their relevance isn’t as high as before. For instance, it’s still pretty important to add keywords within page titles, URL, subheaders, and metadata. What’s not essential, however, is to struggle to repeat your keywords all over the website content to get a certain keyword density. In fact, that may hurt you, because you may be keyword stuffing your content.
So you can rest assured, keywords aren’t going anywhere for the time being, and they are still a pretty important component of SEO. Though you can expect the rules to change over time, it’s difficult to say if we’ll ever completely disregard them when it comes to digital marketing.
What You Should Never Do
SEO is a tricky endeavor. One thing that any marketer should know is that you can’t try something and expect to get results overnight. For instance, if focusing on keywords is the only thing you’re doing regarding SEO, your website rank and traffic won’t see much difference
SEO is an intricate process that incorporates several different tactics. But since we’re talking about keywords now, let’s understand how you should use them to their fullest potential and drive traffic to your website.
The Secret Lies in How You Use Keywords
Though keywords are here to stay, their relevance when it comes to your SEO depends on how you use them. The secret here is a balance. Too many keywords, particularly if they’re not integrated naturally into the website, is considered “keyword stuffing,” something most search engines frown upon.
Here are some practical tips:
- Keyword Research
Your website has a specific profile your keywords should reflect. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to choose only the words and phrases that describe your site.
Instead, you should start exploring themes and concepts behind those keywords, and put them into strategic positions in your website.
- Think about Where You Integrate Them
One popular method is to repeat the keyword several times within the body of the content. It’s not a very effective strategy. Use keywords in strategic places like page titles, subheaders or meta-descriptions. It works better than stuffing them randomly, and it won’t annoy your readers.
- Use Synonyms
Google understands synonyms, so you don’t have to use the same keyword over and over again. Switch things up by also adding some related phrases or long-tail keywords to improve content.
- No Black Hats
Here’s what you should never do:
- Add hidden texts and links with your keywords;
- Force keywords into the content;
- Keyword stuff your content without caring about the natural flow of the text.
- Think about Your Users
The mindset you should always have when it comes to your website is the following: create for your audience, and optimize for search engines.
If you put some SEO tactic in place without taking into account your users and what they might want from your website, everything will start to fall apart. Good rankings and successful business growth depend on people sticking around long enough on your site. It will never happen unless you take the time to understand them.
Back to You
Keywords are here to stay, and if you want to leverage them effectively, why not bring in the experts? Australian Internet Advertising knows everything about keywords and other SEO tactics that can improve website performance.