Why should You Focus More on Quality Content than on Keywords?
2017 February 03
If you are still using a pre-2012 keyword and SEO strategy, you are losing out on a lot of opportunities. You may be happy with the short-term results but the long-term picture could be gloomy. Since Google made the Penguin update in its search algorithm in 2012, the focus on keywords haven’t entirely vanished but the way they are used have.
There was a time when it was enough to pack your content with keywords that were contextually relevant to your topic or simply getting them to match a focus keyword in the search queries. However, now most of the search engines including Google, Bing, and Yahoo are focusing more on organic search results and use of natural language. Hence, long-tailed keywords are still considered helpful for conversion optimization and visibility but today the theme or the actual content gets greater priority.
The reason for this shift is that keyword optimization can’t ensure usefulness and relevance of your content altogether to a search! Targeting the right content to the right audience is still very important but if the content doesn’t satisfy the interests and needs of the audience, can it be considered to be successful? It won’t convert the reader too.
Today, top search engines collect a massive amount of information from a website to determine its relevance to a search. Social indicators and page and domain level link features are considered to be more important than keywords. Keywords don’t dominate the discourse nowadays!
How keywords are used these days
Keyword research still remains important. However, it is more important to search for specific keywords that define your domain and expertise and which you know Google and other search engines also identify in order to provide relevant content to a search query. It is important to use keyword search tools like Keyword Planner to identify a string of keywords around which you can create theme-based topics and content.
Interestingly, you can use synonyms and variations. There is no need to use a single keyword 10 times, like in the past, to increase your keyword ratio for the article. In fact, it can attract a penalty from Google! Rather, building meaningful content that draws traffic and also quality inward links are important because Google spiders and crawlers search for these items when indexing your page and then providing rank on their SERPs.
Today, semantic algorithm tools like Google Hummingbird have eliminated the need to match exact keywords. The focus is on evaluating and identifying the intention behind a search query and then placing the most relevant and topical content that can quench the information need of the searcher. That is why NLP (natural language processing) is one of the most important areas of application for artificial intelligence!
Importance of user experience
Search engines like Google have realized that focusing too much on keywords can hurt the user experience of the readers, viewers, and listeners of the content. There is no need to match every single keyword in a search phrase. Rather “understanding” the intention or the purpose of the user helps search engines to provide them with content that is “meaningful”.
Ultimately, this approach may lead to a lower volume but will ensure faster rise to the top of the SERP because it would be well-targeted and highly relevant. However, you can’t chuck out keywords from your strategies altogether.
A good mix of content and long-tailed keywords would ensure higher search volume and also greater page likes, subscriptions, and purchases! Try to use well-researched keywords in different pages of your sites, meta tags, descriptions, alt tags and wherever possible, and try to use variations. However, don’t lose focus from your content or do a rush job. Provide as much useful information as possible.
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