Around 2010 when SEO was still in its infancy, keywords were thought to be the Holy Grail for acing search rankings. Spreading keywords across the articles, including meta description, title tags, and H1, was considered to be an effective strategy by most marketers. And it did deliver results, albeit for a short while.
When Google introduced Panda, the update focused on promoting pages and sites that offered real value to the users. Ones stuffed with keywords or low on quality were demoted.
So, have keywords lost their relevancy over the years? In 2020, how should a digital marketer or content creator deal with keywords? Getting back to the basics and understanding what SEO content is could offer a big piece of this keywords puzzle.
How has the Definition of Search Engine Optimized Content Evolved?
Just like the search algorithms, the definition of many of the SEO-related terms has changed over the years.
For instance, around 2010-2012, SEO content used to be defined as content that is optimized for search engines. But with Google focusing more and more on helping users find relevant answers to their queries, this definition is not applicable anymore.
Now, a more relevant definition of SEO content is one that best answers the query of the users. If your content is able to answer user queries, Google will automatically rank it higher.
So, rather than creating content that best satisfies the search algorithms, a better strategy now is to create content that offers real value and answers to the users.
Are Keywords Not Useful Then?
No, keywords are still crucial. After all, they lie right at the foundation of how search engines work. But the manner in which they should be used has evolved.
As compared to a piece of content that is stuffed with keywords in the best possible manner, content that answers user query and also has keywords will mostly rank higher. The focus should be on answering user query and using keywords, in full or in parts, as naturally as possible.
|For instance, let us consider a query “How many different types of bones in a human body?”
The top result for this query could be something like, “There are five different types of bones in the human body.”
So, the top result here is not just stuffed with a keyword but features keyword along with providing the correct answer to the query. While creating content, it is essential to remember that the search engine is only a medium to reach the audience.
The final goal is always reaching the audience and not how to best impress the search engine algorithms.
The Way Ahead for Keywords in SEO
Keywords always were and probably will always be an important component in SEO. But the good old practice of stuffing content with keywords doesn’t work anymore.
Google has always wanted to answer user queries in the best way possible. But rather than only focusing on the keywords to rank pages, it now also considers the quality and end-goal of the content that it is ranking.
In 2020, only the content that is able to answer the intent of the user question most comprehensively, and features relevant keywords, could now be considered SEO content that is eligible for higher rankings.