Organic SEO: Do Keywords Matter Anymore?
The simple answer to the question “Does keyword ranking even matter anymore?” is yeah, it still does. Frankly, I sort of get tired of this question, and the response “keywords don’t matter anymore, Post Penguin and Panda.” Think of it this way, if you are a real estate brokerage, and you focus your content and the keywords on your site, around how awesome of a community you have, but never include real estate focused key phrases, you’re not going to be seen as relevant for real estate related consumer queries. If I fail to use the phrase “homes for sale” on my site, I’m not going to show up for searches that include that phrase. It’s somewhat of a simple concept.
So, let’s cut right to the chase. Don’t forget about your keyword focus when building content, otherwise you might as well count yourself out, in search engine placements. And then all the time you spent creating killer content is, well, irrelevant. Build relevancy for your content, don’t just build “unique” content. What better way to do that than have a topic of focus (your keywords). Showing up for relevant queries in the search results is the first hurdle you’ll have to face, and it will probably be a tough one. If you are looking for somewhere to start in improving your SERP (search engine results position), start with your keywords (or think of it as, start with the spotlight of each page).
Google used to rely heavily on keywords. What do we mean by a keyword? A keyword is a word or phrase that search users type into a search bar when they are looking for your product or service. Google would use the terms found on your site, in your keyword Meta tag and in your Meta elements to establish what your site was about and how they should direct search traffic for related queries. It was only a matter of time before crafty developers and SEO consultants stuffed it full of keywords that were not necessarily relevant to their website content, so Google made the decision to ignore it in determining search engine rankings.
Okay, so if these items are no longer a ranking factor why should you spend time writing Meta tags and Meta descriptions for each page and include keywords? A keyword is a word or phrase that search users type into a search bar when they are looking for your product or service. Google would use the terms found on your site, in your keyword Meta tag and in your Meta elements to establish what your site was about and how they should direct search traffic for related queries.
First things first, conduct keyword research that establishes what consumers are actually typing into the search engines to find your site’s subject matter. Then it’s your job to implement those keywords into your page content and major elements naturally/organically. It is still important to first focus your attention on keywords, and not just “how cool can I make my content,” but ultimately you want to meld that creativity in with your keyword data.
The simple fact of the matter is while you may pick up tactics every now and then or work with certain SEO strategies as Google changes their algorithms and rules, over time every fad will pass and just two key elements will remain.
You will ALWAYS want to know what people are searching for…
You will ALWAYS want to create content that people enjoy/find useful…
Luckily both of these key aspects of SEO can be accomplished by starting of with keyword research. Focus on certain key phrases helps meld your site’s content and keywords help give relevancy to the content being created.
With that, we move to using your keywords to create relevant content.
If you always focus on creating content that is targeted to the right keywords for your audience, then you will always have a solid base to work from and you can worry as much or as little as you want about adding the latest search optimization technique or link building campaigns.
It’s often said that content is king, but the truth is “creating content that people are searching for is king”. It may not sound as catchy but it’s the one truth in SEO that will never change. Focus on your keywords and content and the rest will follow.