What is a Keyword, and how is it likely to change in the future?
All words and phrases can be identified as ‘keywords’, as long as they have a considerable amount of searches in a month. Generally keywords and phrase will fall into two categories.
1. Short Tail Keywords
These are the traditional search terms that provide quite vague results. Usually they will consist of one to three words and will produce a wide array of suggestions.
Painter and Decorator
If you conduct searches for a specific business or service you may find yourself getting frustrated with the lack of appropriate search results.
2. Long Tail Keywords
These are a lot more specific and tailored to providing specific results. Generally they consist of more than three words and are synonymous with conversational speech. Long tail keywords are becoming more relevant with the rising popularity of voice searching.
Local plumber in xxx
Painter and decorator able to paint tall buildings
Which keywords to use for my blog
Long tail keywords will often have fewer searches per month than short tail, but long tail keywords drive more targeted traffic to your website. People who search using long tail keywords are confident in the results they want, they know what information they want to see, and are more likely to convert on your website if you match their interests.
How to use them?
Ignore Meta Keywords!
Meta Keywords were once important, but not anymore, in fact they are completely irrelevant to modern SEO. Search Engine algorithms have become much smarter and can detect keywords embedded within your content and rank your page automatically. Therefore Keyword Research has become a crucial part of SEO, finding the right keywords that will drive relevant traffic to your website is so important for a high ranking on Google.
Tighten up your keywords, if you are a barbershop dealing exclusively with Men’s hair, consider the implications of using hairdresser as a keyword, you have opened the door to a section of the market that you don’t want to appeal to. Even though hairdresser is synonymous with haircutting and barbershops, using this as a keyword can mean high levels of traffic visiting your website but leaving straight away because the content is irrelevant to them.
Do not stuff your keywords!
Many years ago you could get away with throwing in as many keywords into your content as you liked with very little thought to the readability of your content. Not anymore. In 2011, the Google Panda update started to recognise keyword spamming and penalise you for attempting to trick the system whether you were guilty or not.
Keyword stuffing can look like the following:
“I am a Local Painter in Southend who specialises in local interior painting. I have been a local painter in Southend for many years and am also a local painter to areas around Southend.”
This does not read naturally and Google is clever enough these days to recognise that and penalise you for it.
Keyword Density is a highly debated subject in marketing. Some suggest that Google takes density into account when ranking pages; others suggest that it is nonsense. Here is what we know.
Since Google can recognise keyword stuffing, they must have an algorithm in place to recognise overuse of keywords and phrases, so if it has the ability to recognise keyword density, why wouldn’t it consider it a factor when creating the super secret algorithm for ranking. However, since 2016 Google has used RankBrain as part of its algorithm. RankBrain is a machine-learning artificial intelligence system that interprets the searches that people submit to find pages that may not have the exact keywords in, but are similar. This means that you do not necessarily have to incorporate every single variation of a keyword into your copy, since RankBrain will be able to understand what a searcher’s true intentions behind their search is.
Future of Keywords
The late 2010’s has seen a surge in voice search products, dominated largely by Google and Amazon. In fact as of January 2018 there was an estimated one billion voice searches per month (Alpine.Ai), and this is set to increase to 50% of all searches by 2020 (Campaign).
When we talk about voice searches, we should consider them like long tail keywords. No one is saying “Alexa, Google Plumber” and expecting to find the best local plumber in their hometown. What they are saying is “Alexa, Google the best emergency plumber in xxxx”.
Let’s pretend someone is driving past our offices in Baldock, they might conduct a voice search saying, “OK Google, what hours are Big Reach Marketing open tomorrow?” But if they waited until they got home they would search on a desktop, “Big Reach Marketing”.
Businesses must be prepared for increased long-tail searches else they may get left behind by technology.
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