keywords in SEO

The role and impact of keywords in SEO

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Over the past few years, as search engine algorithms have evolved, content marketing strategies have changed a lot. Successively, Panda, Hummingbird and more recently BERT, have upset what SEO specialists had done as an idea of ​​content optimization for SEO. The addition of a keyword a certain number of times, the appearance of variants in key places (such as in the header, in the meta-description and in the Hn) or even reaching a size optimal page are ancient history.

To classify content today, there is no longer any question of satisfying only search engine robots. It is now a question of offering a better experience than your competitors to Internet users.

Before we ask ourselves how to use keywords, let’s take a step back and ask ourselves the question of what it means to write content for the web.

What do we mean by “SEO content”?

SEO content is content written for the purpose of being indexed and then referenced by search engines. However, it must be recognized that this term has fallen into disuse with many SEO professionals.

Who says “SEO content” implies content written for search engines at the expense of humans. Indeed, algorithms are a programmatic representation of the way an Internet user behaves. Therefore, if the algorithm is trying to model what a person would choose as the best result, logic would dictate that to best rank content, it would suffice to optimize it to best suit the algorithm and therefore to Internet users.

But is writing in a way people will like enough to rank content?

How to make SEO friendly content?

SEO-friendly content is content that responds on the one hand to the intent of the user’s question in a clear and complete manner, and, on the other hand, which has a high degree of expertise, authority and reliability. Let’s break this down.

Respond to the intent of the request

This may be obvious, but it deserves to be remembered. “SEO friendly” content is content that responds to the user’s request or need. In this sense, the topic of your page should follow the questions your target audience is asking.

This also means that there are several types of content. Content will be relevant to certain Internet users seeking new ideas or information. Other content, on the other hand, will be designed to generate engagement and will interest other types of Internet users. Because of the many reasons and purposes behind each piece of content, not all pages should be expected to rank among the top results.

Offer clear and complete content

Anyone who asks a question is looking for a concise, clear and direct answer. It’s a fact and Google thinks the same. So don’t waste time beating around the bush and answering vaguely.

In your writing style, keep sentences simple and short. There is no point in resorting to complex words or expressions. Prefer natural language, if possible in the active voice, easy to read. As such, the “Grammar and spelling” tool of Microsoft Word can be of great use to you.

Reading the Google Guidelines , we see that the search engine gives a high rating to “pages whose main content is satisfactory or complete and of very high quality.”

Adapt your content to EAT

The EAT concept (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) was unveiled for the first time by Google in 2014. Integrated into the Guidelines of the American giant, it makes expertise, authority and reliability aspects particularly taken into account. account when evaluating SEO content.

How important are keywords in SEO?

We focused on SEO content. By answering the questions clearly and with a high degree of expertise, it is possible to acquire quality natural traffic. But then, what place should be given to keywords? How can they be used to achieve this end?

The basic logic: entry vs. exit

When you design content for a particular target, you may be tempted to emphasize the insertion of a keyword related to this target. However, rather than trying to insert a specific keyword, you should look for how to provide answers to the requests and needs of this target.

In other words, the question “How to insert this keyword in the content” should rather be formulated as follows: “How to provide answers and solutions to what the Internet user is looking for”.

Schematically, following this logic, keywords in SEO would be the input. And creating content to answer a query would be the output. Which brings us to the next point.

The new prism: moving from “keywords” to “queries”

Let’s change the term and consider “keywords” as being rather “requests”, “needs” or “searches”. Therefore, it is no longer a question of inserting specific expressions or keywords into a page but rather of providing elements of response to the needs of Internet users.

This change of prism is all the more relevant since considering the keywords as they are can make you miss out on long-tail keywords , which are essential for positioning yourself on less competitive queries.

By themselves, keywords are not bad. It’s just how they’re perceived that can impact your SEO performance.

BERT, the new evolution of Google vis-à-vis keywords

In 2011, Google announced Panda. Panda was its algorithm update meant to promote high-quality sites and pages and, at the same time, demote those that offered low added value.

Two years later, in 2013, Google unveiled Hummingbird (or Colibri in French). This development was aimed at better understanding the meaning of words in queries. It was the beginning of the banning of content that simply showed the keywords. At that time, Google was driven by the idea that web content creators go beyond the integration of keywords and respond concretely and truly to queries.

In 2015, Google launched RankBrain. This new element of machine learning allowed the search engine to provide more relevant results to vague or novel queries.

At the end of 2019, Google went even further in its intelligence by unveiling BERT. In line with previous algorithms, BERT is intended to understand human language even better. It incorporates an artificial intelligence capable of understanding even the most complex queries. The idea behind this latest development is to encourage Internet users to search in the most natural way possible. And this, by dropping the simple “keywords”.

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