Why you shouldn't be 'too' obsessed with keywords

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Why you shouldn't be 'too' obsessed with keywords

Keywords are hugely important in SEO. They always have been and the likelihood is, they always will be, to some degree. However, the remit of ‘keywords’ has changed over the years.

Gone are the glory days of the meta keyword(s) field in the CMS where you’d type out the search terms your website wanted to be found under. More recently it’s been about having those keywords running through the veins of your online presence to give Google every last opportunity to understand what your website is about.

Unsurprisingly, marketers have become slightly obsessed with keywords, particularly in online content. Blog content has been turned away for not hitting a 3% keyword density, or God forbid, leaving the keyword out entirely. Even if the keyword has nothing to do with the blog topic!

Exact keywords aren’t the be-all and end-all anymore. Google estimates that some 15% of daily searches are for queries it has never processed before. So whilst you may focus all optimisation efforts on your chosen keyword, there are plenty of other, less common iterations that you could and should want to rank for.

For all the great quality content a website may have, a fundamental lack of website authority in Google’s eyes will make it difficult to rank. If your website is not technically sound, difficult for Google to crawl and isn’t attracting those all important links, then all the keywords in the world aren’t going to make a difference.

Marketers also need to consider how intelligent Google’s algorithm has become. With semantic machine learning, Google is increasingly ranking websites for associated keywords. Whilst your content may be focused on football, Google will understand that your website is also relevant to people searching for soccer. The ‘exact’ name will of course be the stronger factor, but it will also drag up rankings for associated searches.

By honing in on only one ‘version’ of a keyword, there’s a danger of spreading your optimisation efforts too thin. Through varied content and semantic search learning, your website could experience high rankings for a vast array of keywords and capture the whole market.

So are keywords still important? Absolutely! Without giving Google something to grab hold of, how can it rank your site? But with so many other ranking factors in Google’s algorithm, there’s a danger that you may miss the bigger picture if you’re too busy counting keywords.

If you’d like to talk keywords as part of a broader SEO strategy, we’d love to hear from you on 01635 521 224 or [email protected].