When Google was in its first years in the late 1990s and early 2000s, keywords were one of the most important elements of search engine optimization. Google SEO used the ratio of keywords to total word count on a page to determine the site’s search engine ranking, so online marketers would create content that used the same keyword as many times as possible. This became known as keyword stuffing, and it used to be a very effective SEO strategy.
Google’s algorithm has gone through many changes over the years, though, and keyword stuffing doesn’t have the same benefit as it used to. Now, the algorithm penalizes sites that use keyword stuffing and rewards sites that have higher quality, more organic content. However, the question of whether keywords have any effect on SEO and search engine rankings is still heavily debated today.
Although keyword stuffing is no longer an effective SEO strategy, keywords can still help a website’s search rankings. Google’s algorithm becomes more and more complex every year, and now, it puts more emphasis on the meaning of the keywords rather than the specific keywords themselves. This allows searchers to discover websites that use similar or related keywords to the keywords they searched.
Because search engine algorithms can now understand the meaning of a keyword and identify related keywords, the length and quality of written content on a website is much more important than keyword density. High quality content with a higher word count will naturally include more keywords, which helps with SEO and online marketing. The placement of the keywords also makes a difference for search engine rankings. Keywords placed in titles, headers, image descriptions, or the meta description will yield better results than keywords mentioned randomly throughout the page.
Keywords are still something to consider for SEO, but they don’t have the same importance that they once did. It’s better to focus on creating quality content that naturally uses keywords than to force as many keywords as possible into a site.
Contact the San Diego SEO experts at Saba SEO to learn more about Google algorithms and how they affect your SEO ranking. Go online or call (858) 277-1717 to talk to one of our digital marketing and SEO specialists today.