Back in the 1990s, the best way to get your site to rank highly on a search engine like Google could be summed up in a single word: keywords.
You’d do a bit of research, find out what keywords mattered to the target audience you were trying to reach, and make sure they appeared on your page as often as humanly possible. There were a variety of “White Hat” and “Black Hat” techniques that people used and, for a time, they enjoyed a tremendous amount of success because of it.
Then, Google and other engines changed their algorithm to actually penalize people who were engaging in what was called “keyword stuffing.” If you were found doing so, not only could it send you spiraling down the search engine results page… it could land you in the purgatory of “Page 2” or beyond.
Now, none of this is to say that keywords aren’t still important – they are. It’s just that you have to change the way you think about them, all within the context of still prioritizing the quality content that people are looking for in the first place.
The Modern Day Art of Using Keywords
One of the major reasons why keyword stuffing isn’t a good idea anymore is because Google’s natural language processing engine, otherwise known as NLP, has growing increasingly sophisticated over the years. Because of this, targeting keywords has become far more precise than it ever was.
Instead, you need to be prepared to target multiple keywords on a page and you need to do so in the most natural way possible. You also need to use keyword clustering in order to help generate the types of results that you’re after.
Keyword clustering is a term used to describe the practice of researching not one but a few keywords or phrases that have similar search intent, then building content around those groups.
So if you own an electronics retailer in Cleveland, in the 1990s you may have simply targeted “electronics retailer Cleveland” and called it a day. Now, you have to get a bit more advanced. You should always want to go after key phrases like “stereo dealer in Cleveland” or “car stereos in Cleveland” – related topics that can help capture that search traffic that may just miss the mark with your original keyword.
All of this also underlines the importance of why you should always have the right partner by your side to help execute your SEO campaign. They’ll be able to do a lot of this research on your behalf, all so that you can get the results you want without as much of the effort that would normally be required.
If you’d like to find out more information about the proper use of keywords in your SEO strategy, or if you’d just like to speak about your own needs with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact the team at InfoStream today.