What does it mean in SEO when they say that SEO is moving away from keywords and that should not be the focus of your SEO?
Keywords once meant everything to a campaign; Google collected data about a site solely based on the keywords that were present on its pages and in its links, and companies could measure their success based on how they ranked for their target keywords. It was a simple, one-to-one relationship that made it easy for almost anybody to start stuffing and ranking.
Google now Looks for Meaning, Not for Specific Words
Semantic search: Google interprets the data on your website, and begins to form its own conclusions about what your site and your business really deliver. Google is becoming exceptionally sophisticated
Relationship between keywords and search visibility success has become much more complex
IMPORTANT GOOGLE UPDATES
(Things to know and consider)
– The last 3 years have erased a decade of “old school SEO practices”
– Google has figured out “user intent”, and getting better at it
– Looks at Language used, not just keywords
– Now uses “machine learning” to feed ranking determinations (over a Google employee’s input) and “deep learning” to make adjustments (aka – algorithms that build algorithms)
– Punishes “duplicate content” in search by demoting it
– Awards diversity, freshness, and uniqueness
– Now ID’s known “entities of knowledge” resulting in connecting entities to topics
– Recognizes brands as a forms of entity, rewarding branding when appropriate to content
– May evolve to a simpler criteria for ranking articles that include: engagement, high CTR, and low page bounce – based on this, it is likely that ranking will become even more dynamic than it is now with results changing throughout the day
KEYWORDS / KEY PHRASES / THEMES:
INCLUSIONS: (refer to visual guide as well)
– Title tag
– (H1) Heading tag (Article title)
– Body copy: (mentioned in first paragraph)
– Body copy: Natural keyword frequency
(mentioned naturally 2-3 times max based on length of article)
– ALT tags
(The ALT attribute of an image is used to describe that image to search engines and who are unable to display the image. This establishes relevance, especially for Image Search, while also improving accessibility.)
– Earlier the better (content, title tag, urls, heading tag)
(There’s a natural trend in how we write English: earlier is usually more important.)
– “close proximity” of terms helps the search engines understand content and relationships
Keywords in bold, italic, underline, or larger fonts have more weight in determining the relevant subject matter of a page, but less weight than words appearing in a heading.
– Strong focused article about the primary subject and “keyword theme” target
– Avoid overuse keywords and go with what “feels natural”
– Make use of “semantic terms” when possible to diversify words used and strengthen word
– Spelling and grammar are analyzed by search engines
– Related Phrasing:
A basic understanding of Phrase-Based Indexing tells us that if you write about content thoroughly and elaborately, you stand a far better chance of ranking compared to writing generic content that just happens to drop a lot of keywords. A clear component of one Google patent describes this as the “identification of related phrases and clusters of related phrases”.
A Google Patent and this SEO’s working experience seem to indicate that Google devalues a lot more than just directly similar content. Google has literally patented methods for calling your content uninteresting. Once determining that a set of articles are related, this patent suggests various methods for determining which content is descriptive, unique, and/or weird (in a good way) when compared to others on the same topic.
Panda’s “Panda” algorithm established a protocol of punishing content on Google that offers “nothing of unique value”.
LINKS: (internal anchor links)
The anchor text of a link tells the user where that link leads. It’s an important component of navigation within your web site, and when not abused, helps to establish the relevance of a particular piece of content over vague alternatives such as “click here”.