As an affiliate marketer, or any blogger for that matter, using keywords used to be a critical element to attracting visitors to your website. They still are but to a lesser degree. They’ve always been the magnetic pieces of content that help your website achieve that special boost required for more eyeballs.
Things have been changing at Google though, so are keywords important for SEO in 2018 and beyond? I’m going to explain what you should be focusing more on than just your keywords.
I will walk you through the following sections to help you get your head around the newer method of ranking.
Are Keywords Still Important
Yes, keywords are still an important factor when it comes to writing content, but maybe not the keywords you intend to be ranking for. From searching different website sources and receiving information from my knowledgeable community, the winds of change seem to be happening.
Although you can still attempt to rank for certain keywords, the chances are becoming more slim due to the amount of competition and domain authority. You’re best bet when it comes to using a keyword tool, is to search the ‘low hanging fruit’ terms that are more rare.
These can still be a great starting point, and you will rank higher than those 3-4 word keywords. But when you’re competing against millions of high authority websites, you now need to think smarter.
So what should you be focusing on instead?
Focus on The Intent of Your Reader
I’m using Google as the main search engine example, as we all know Google has over 70% of the search market. Make it in Google’s rankings, and you’ll make it anywhere.
So what’s changed at Google that great keywords are no longer getting your posts towards the top pages? It’s all to do with their recent algorithm changes, which make bloggers focus more on the content a searcher is searching for.
For instance, somebody searching for ‘Are Keywords Still Important’ will be presented with the following search results:
How many of these results from page 1 have the exact keyword ‘Are Keywords Still Important’ in it? I’ve counted 3 out of 10, which suggests Google is looking for more than just the keyword in the title, and placed strategically throughout your post.
Now, Google is making sure the searcher is getting the answer they’ve been asking for, or close enough to it. You’re job as a writer now is to focus on searcher intent, rather than what YOU want your readers to read.
In other words, research your topic and provide the value they are seeking.
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How Do You Know the Intent of Your Reader
Sometimes this can be obvious, other times not so. But as the responsible owner of an authority website, you should be putting your energies into your reader satisfaction anyway. If your readers are content with what you’re producing, they’ll give you the results you’re after.
As far as producing content with intent, this is your chance to climb the rankings should you get this right. The current content out there doesn’t always display this, meaning if you can give readers the information they’re after, you’ll push past your competitors.
Let’s view some examples of content with searcher intent to get an idea of what we’re after.
Best of reviews are a great place to start, so let’s look at ‘best survival knife 2018’. As you can see below, the results are telling us that when including the word ‘best’, the intention is to search for comparisons or reviews.
On the other hand, it’s also possible to get a mixed bag of results with some queries. A search for ‘how to’ articles can come up with varied results which may suggest that either bloggers fail to understand the user intent, or the search engine algorithm does. I suspect it’s the bloggers.
This is great for you, because it gives you the opportunity to show the searcher intent better than the articles of the past. However, the results above also tend to prove that there a a number of different intentions for a certain keyword, which gives a different direction you could take.
Long posts that cover multiple searcher intent will rank well, because it covers all bases.
Another obvious example of search intent, can be a comparison such as Android v Apple. Here the intention is to find out which product works better for the searcher and the cost, spec’s, usage etc.
When it comes to questions such as ‘will images enhance my website’, you’ll find various answers from past results. So what does this mean? It means the intent may not yet have been proven and you have an opportunity to influence it.
So should you waste money on a keyword tool?
Requirement For a Keyword Tool
A keyword tool is still compulsory in my view because you still require an idea of the competition you’re up against for different ideas and search terms. But I wouldn’t be spending the earth to get loads of data that may be irrelevant.
Unfortunately, keyword tools like Semrush and Moz cost way too much for my liking. Especially as you won’t use most of their results.
Programs like Semrush or Moz charge large monthly fees, but you do get a lot of information with these programs. As far as I’m concerned though, it’s way too much data for what I require.
The best keyword tool that I’ve used is Jaaxy. It’s simple to use and very well laid out with the perfect amount of data I need at a reasonable monthly fee. The main data you’ll access that is extremely helpful are these:
- Competing websites for the keyword
- Average Monthly searches
- Approximate No. of Visitors should you reach page 1 on Google
- Difficulty rating to rank
Alphabet Soup Still Works
One of my favourite approaches to find great keywords is the alphabet soup technique which you can read about how it works in this article ‘Keeping Motivation for a Website Build’. It’s a well known way of finding current search terms directly through Google.
Once you’ve searched for some of these terms, another great tip is to scroll to the bottom of the search results, and look at the related search results. This can come up with some brilliant ideas for your next keyword, and you know these terms are popular.
Write Naturally For Best Results
Although it’s a good idea to find keywords to begin your article and include it in your title, the meat of your article should be written naturally and as clearly as possible.
Just because you’ve done some research on a keyword, doesn’t mean that’s the only keyword you’ll rank for. Your whole post is full of keywords! Everything you write is ranked for it’s content, not just the snippets you think are good keywords.
The chances are, you’ll rank for other terms within your content, higher than the keyword you intend to rank for. It’s just that these other ranked terms may not be searched as often. This is especially true with text in header tags.
To try this out, highlight a full sentence of a title from an article that been published for at least a month or 2, and paste it into Google. You’ll probably find it ranks highly.
Your readers are going to get so much more out of your articles if you provide valued information, as opposed to a post that sounds odd because you’ve attempted to stuff it with keywords. Google’s algorithms now know this, and will rank you accordingly.
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Google is constantly changing, but one thing will remain constant. Keywords will always be important….to an extent. The search engines do not rely on them like they used to, and bloggers will not ranks as easily as they once could.
All this does is give more opportunity for those prepared to write more precise content, that readers will be more attuned to. If you can write intent friendly content, you’ll be a good chance to surpass older posts that have not been modified to include this.
Write for your reader, and you’ll be well placed to take on Google.
If you have any questions or thoughts on the changing keyword landscape, please do not hesitate to leave me a comment below. I will reply as soon as I can!
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The opinions in this article are solely mine, are are not intended to offend or discriminate. All information in this review has been researched on the public domain of the internet.