Whenever you build a website or write a blog, the first thing you get to hear is that the focus must be on keywords. One must do a lot of research to find the right keywords and one must insert them in the content without appearing spammy. But why are they so important for your social and content strategy? Even after all these years and after so many technological breakthroughs in the field of internet and e-Commerce, keywords remain the bedrock of online business. Why is it so and how can you apply the right tactics for your business in the future? Let’s have a little look at the details!
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Importance of Keywords in your Social and Content Strategy
Keywords Aid Discoverability and Provide Context for Humans
Well, to say it simply, keywords are the ultimate basis of online content. It is like the ball in soccer or tennis. No matter how much the game evolves or changes, you cannot do without the basic elements. On the internet people are interacting virtually and so they do not have the usual convenience of understanding the context through observation. They rely on pointers you provide. In real life we not only listen to what one is saying but gather more information through our prior knowledge of the speaker and the observation of his body language and gestures. But when we read something online, our attention spans are limited. We’re in a perpetual hurry up mode and skim content or find ways to reduce energies by trying to reach the best content in the quickest manner. Keywords are a part of hashtags, metatags and headlines that make it easy for us to navigate the vast sea of information online and check out what we’re really interested in. As content creators, we make the context clear through specific keywords rather than having people guess the context. And we aid discoverability for our content.
Keywords Are Context for the Machine: Hello SEO
Google’s latest algorithms and insights will have you believe that you must write content for the humans and not bots. This brings out authenticity and adds value. As a firm we believe in strongly. However, human content needs optimization for the machines. Your content is only worth the value a reader associates with it. You want it to be discovered by your readers. Many of us know this as “search engine optimization” or SEO. Over the years, SEO has evolved and the emphasis is more on quality and value of the content, but keywords can’t be ignored. Ultimately these are bots and they have to be told (or taught) on what your content is about and keywords are the easiest way for them to learn this. With changes in Google’s algorithms, filling the entire text with keywords will be marked as spammy, so always remember to add your optimizations with care and do not make your content overstuffed. But, content without any optimizations is least likely to be effective.
Here’s a great graphic from Moz that shows us the thematic clusters of ranking features in Google. You’ll notice how multiple things are important for rankings, however, keywords continue to be significant.
The Road Ahead- A Long Tail Mix With Search Intent
Keywords are embedded in very basic human search behavior. It’s important to know what your consumers are thinking about when they’re looking for a service or product that you provide. You could run a low cost hotel in New York and instead of using generic keywords like “hotel” and “New York”, think about using more meaningful long tail phrases like “boutique budget hotel in New York.” Think about what your consumers could search for in reality and their search intent. While these long phrases may seem to have lesser volume per month, they are less competitive than using shorter phrases like “hotels” or “New York Hotels.” In addition, focusing on long tail keywords provides better context and correlation. Generally using a mix of keywords – long and short covers you well. The whole idea is to provide more easily understandable context to both the humans and the machines.
Here’s Google’s Matt Cutts who’s talking about importance of relevance and context, not just an exact match in keywords. It’s based on search intent and not just random words you may stuff in. This is a great insight into how your content is being ranked! Remember, it’s consumer search intent first.
There will be further evolutions more aligned to consumer behavior, but as of now we can safely say that in the near future keywords will remain as important for your online business as they have been in the last two decades.
Have you been using keywords as a bedrock of your online social and content strategy? What challenges have you experienced? Share your comments below or talk with us on social.
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