Are Keywords Still Helpful in SEO?

The short answer, yes.
The long answer, yes but keywords aren’t what they used to be.

A Simplified Story: Let’s say a music store owner has a company website.   He understands the value of content, so he write blogs about how awesome he is at playing his favorite instrument, he list awards won, and shares pictures of the great musicians who visit his store.   This is great PR and content, but if he didn’t talk about the variety of musical instruments he has for sale, he may fail to show strongly in search results for “Buy a new band instrument.”

While this is a simplified example, the point is that keywords are not a band-aid fix and will not stand alone.  If our store owner wants to show up in search results for a large selection of musical instruments for sale, a lot of his content must focus on his selection of musical instruments.

Keywords have Changed

A keyword is a word or phrase entered into your site code to help search engines identify and index your content.  Search engines used to lean heavily on the keywords placed inside the meta-code of a page, but over time they have evolved to rely more on a site’s actual content and ratings, reviews and social sharing as indicators of relevance.

Use keyword research tools to determine a phrase’s search frequency and potential.  Learn what your customers are searching for and talking about.  Then use those terms to focus your content creation.  Don’t stuff your content with a lot of short, unrelated keywords.  Focus on creating content that people are looking for, find useful and think is interesting.

Long-Tail Phrases

Utilize long-tail keyword phrases that are meaningful and relevant to your goals and content.  A long-tail search phrase is one that involves a complete idea or question.  For example, an actual shopper is more likely to search with the query, “Where can I buy a new trumpet for band” than just the word “trumpet.”  Ensure they are placed naturally and organically into your site content.  Long tail phrases tend to have lower traffic volumes, but much richer conversions because you are speaking to the right audience at the right time.

It’ll Keep Changing

Search engine optimizing techniques will continue to change overtime, but creating content that your audience is looking for will never go out of style.  Answer questions, be helpful, give of your insight.  It will attract your customers and they’ll be happy they found you.



Cindy is the founding President at 17blue Digital Marketing. She's passionate about helping businesses reach their goals and impact their communities.