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Why You Should Stop Worrying About Keywords

To understand this discussion, all you need to know about SEO is that your website has what’s called “metadata” that can be entered into the code to help search engines understand the content on your page. This includes a title, description, and keywords, as well as some other types of SEO entries that we won’t discuss in this article.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has changed over the years, but it seems that some people are always a little behind on what the latest best practices are. We frequently hear from clients who have talked to an “SEO specialist” of some sort who has told them that they need to do more with their keywords, or that they should pay (usually lots of money) for linkbuilding and other SEO techniques that don’t have anything to do with generating content. You’ll be happy to hear that you don’t need to pay hundreds of dollars a month for someone to manage your SEO, and you don’t need to lose sleep at night over whether or not your website has enough keywords.

Google no longer uses meta keywords in search ranking. That’s a reality check for some people who think that they need to include a list of 100 keywords in their meta tags. There are some search marketing and SEO companies that will attempt to sell business owners on services that include the third party company gaining access to the back end of a business’ website so that they can update the keywords and other SEO metadata. The fact is, that doesn’t help SEO. It just doesn’t. Google confirmed this years ago.

Why? Too many people tried to use meta information to scam the search engines, and for a long time that worked. So if you were a spam site, you could capture people searching for wholesome things just by changing your keywords to things like “best baby cribs” and “Christmas tree stands.” Seriously. The content on your page could be all kinds of unsavory things because search engines were not advanced enough to “read” what you put on your page, so they had to rely on metadata behind the scenes.

Plus, it used to be that web developers were putting lots of time and effort into amassing huge lists of keywords because that was the only way to be sure that your content was ranking for keyword variations. Now Google and the other search engines can do things like stemming so that they understanding that “glasses” and “eyeglasses” may be the same thing depending on the context of the rest of the page. The best thing you can do for keyword density in writing for your website is to write naturally. If you try to add your target keyword in too much, that looks spammy to search engines and you can be penalized for it with a lower ranking. Simply talk about your topic like you would have a conversation and you’ll be just fine.

What’s the good news? The good news is that this frees up your time and energy to focus on writing and producing good content for your website. It’s still a good idea to have an expert optimize your meta titles, meta description, and content formatting to make it easier for search engines AND visitors to read, but producing good content far exceeds keywords and metadata in importance.

Keep in mind:

  • Blogging for your website is one of the best things you can do for SEO. Search engines want to see that you’re regularly adding content that is valuable to readers.
  • The way your website is coded is very important—be sure your website is responsive for mobile and tablets or else you’ll notice your ranking will decrease since Google has announced that it will give higher rankings to websites with responsive design.
  • Writing isn’t the only content that helps SEO and makes your website better for users. Video and photos as well as quizzes and infographics are fun ways to share interesting information with your visitors and help make your website more popular.
  • Claiming your social pages on the main networks (generally Facebook and Google+) can also help your digital presence.