Search engines are becoming smarter by the day and outdoing the SEO tactics followed by website and blog owners. The main aim is to provide high quality results to users in terms of content, so big search engines like Google come up with updates and algorithms every now and then. Where do keywords fit in this equation?
Pre-2012, keywords were the main focus of all website owners, because the algorithms used by search engines concentrated on their usage. This, unfortunately, led to black hat SEO practices like ‘keyword stuffing’ that made content irrelevant to quite an extent, leaving users surrounded by a pool of information they did not need. When Google realized what was going on, it started penalizing websites for over-doing the keyword strategy.
The Population of Keywords is Waning
Popular belief is that Google’s Penguin update has made keyword usage completely redundant. This is not entirely true – it has made the over-use of keywords redundant. Strategically placing keywords is still an effective SEO tactic.
Recent updates in search engines look for where keywords are placed rather than how many a certain web page has. In case the search engine detects overuse of irrelevant keywords, there is the likelihood that the website will actually fall instead of rising in ranking. This happens because the search engine suspects the websites of trying to manipulate the algorithms.
Content is King
With modern processes and regular updates, the way the search engines work has changed drastically. It no longer focuses on the title only. In fact if the title and the content are as mismatch, it discards the entry as irrelevant and doesn’t show it in results.
The focus now is more on content rather than keywords and keyword phrases. This semantic search is improving the overall user experience. For instance, if you search for a certain keyword, the result you will get may not necessarily contain that keyword, but something similar or close to it.
The structure of an article is immensely important. However, the structural nuances are not limited to the article but extend to the whole website. A website with great navigation and an easy design will rank better than one that makes it difficult to find the required information. So, basically the easier your websites is for users, the more favorable you will look to search engines.
While keywords might not enjoy the spot that they previously did, they have not entirely gone out of the picture. The only difference is that unlike before, they are not taken at face value. The new algorithms are efficient enough to make out the semantics, which means that keywords are taken for what they imply rather than what they apparently mean.
So, the lesson here is to focus on the content and make it revolve around the keyword you want to rank for. Appropriate places to insert keywords are titles, subheadings and meta tags, and if you provide quality information and guidance to the audience, the first few ranks are yours!
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