Search Engine Optimization is an ever-changing practice, and in the past few years, there has been a lot of debate over whether keywords remain king. While some argue that keywords are dead and you should focus solely on content, others say that keywords still matter, we just have to adapt the way we use them. In many ways, both of these arguments are correct: Google’s algorithm has developed a way to not just read keywords, but to understand them. Here are three tips on how we can adjust our keyword use to be relevant today:
- Long tail keywords and phrases are more effective than single words.
Know who your competitors are and what keywords they are using. If your competitor is much larger than you, you will likely never be able to rank above them in search results due to their larger web presence. A local bed & breakfast will never be able to outrank the Marriott when a user searches “Boston Hotels.” Instead of settling for a second page ranking, smaller companies can compete by using long tail keywords that provide more of a focus.
- Don’t keyword stuff.
Since search algorithms are capable of understanding context, the days of stuffing keywords onto each page of a website, as many times as possible, are gone. Not only will overloading your page with keywords come across as forced and unnatural, but it may hurt your search ranking. Good places to insert keywords without stuffing include the title tags, URLs, and headlines.
- Use a variety of keywords.
Instead of selecting a single keyword and using it throughout your website, you should consider synonyms and different tenses. This will sound more natural to the user and open you up to further traffic. There are more than three billion Google searches conducted each day, and you will be able to reach more of this audience by branching out a bit.
With constant changes in search, keywords certainly aren’t the only part of SEO that matters. Factors such as building a web presence (including social media), producing quality content, user experience, and even website speed can all effect your search engine ranking. With a new Google search algorithm set to update some time this year, staying on top of SEO trends can make all the difference.