Ah, keywords. So nerdy. Yet, if you want your content to get found, you have to have a keyword strategy.
After all, creating and distributing content that you think your customers and prospects will find relevant, valuable or entertaining—what’s known as Content Marketing these days—is a questionable endeavor if those people can’t find the expensive assets that you create.
What the heck is a keyword?
Wikipedia defines keywords, and the research for them, as a practice used by search engine optimization professionals and marketers to find and assess search terms people enter into search engines when conducting an online querry.
Interestingly, keywords have had a long and memorable history with search engines. Highlights include:
- | 1995 early search engines Infoseek + AltaVista popularize use of keywords
- | 1997 search engines realize keywords attribute is often unreliable or misleading
- | 1998 search engines start dropping support for keyword metadata
- | 2000 most search engines veer away from reliance on meta elements
- | 2007 Google +37 leaders in SEO conclude keywords have little search relevance or value
- | 2009 Google announces keywords are not accounted for in Search Engine Results Positions | SERPs
- | Today, meta keyword tags receive lowest importance ranking in search signal
- | Meta Keywords now have less search effect than inclusion in content or headlines
If search engines don’t care about keywords, why should you?
The reason SEO professionals research keywords is to uncover the words or terms that can be integrated properly in a structured manner to improve the opportunity of achieving better search results rankings. The operative qualifiers here are proper and structured inclusion.
Black hat and non-compliant keyword overstuffing are not recommended to “game” the search engines. In fact, with Google’s recent Penguin and Panda updates, these practices have been virtually obsoleted.
The diagram below shows how keywords work in context with other SEO components in a query and search results page.
What are the right keywords?
Keyword research is a process that must be done regularly for it to deliver your content in a higher position on the search results page. Frequent research also gives you valuable insight into your industry’s trends as well as which products and services are in demand at different points in time.
Comprehensive keyword research can also help boost your business and website visibility through cost-effective organic search engine traffic instead of spending valuable resources on Pay-Per-Click | PPC or Cost-Per-Click | CPC ad campaigns like Google AdWords.
A three point strategy for keyword success.
In spite of a checkered past, keywords aren’t going away. Especially when you consider that search engine algorithms are built on words. So getting the right words in the right place for your content to get found is critical for today’s content publishers.
Have you had success by sticking with a few keywords? Or have you adjusted your keyword list to accommodate the changes and competition in your area of expertise? Share your success or stumbles.