Rumours that keywords don’t matter for SEO started growing from confusing blog titles like Do keywords still matter?, Why keywords still matter in 20XX, etc.
These titles, in their turn, appeared from the previous Google algorithm updates. As Google learned to better understand the semantics behind the search query, figure out search intent, downrank spammy content, etc.
Nowadays, as search engines keep mastering AI, controversial statements on keywords’ importance become even more widespread. As a result, SEOs and site owners doubt if they need to focus on keywords the way they did earlier.
Google has never explicitly said that keywords are not important. Never. What Google said is that content should be written for humans, bring value, and not be stuffed with keywords. And never should it be written for search engines alone.
On top of that, here’s an interesting thing. Google representatives tend to underline the importance of manipulation-proof SEO factors.
All for the sake of drawing attention away from factors that are easy to manipulate and hard to spot.
Everyone would agree that unlike keyword occurrence, content uniqueness, usefulness, and value are really hard to tweak if you’re not actually writing useful content per se. Google’s content quality checklist definitely makes us think so:
>>> Does the content provide original information, reporting, research, or analysis?
>>> Does the content provide a substantial, complete, or comprehensive description of the topic?
>>> Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond the obvious?
>>> If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources, and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
>>> Does the main heading or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
>>> Does the main heading or page title avoid exaggerating or being shocking in nature?
>>> Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
>>> Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia, or book?
>>> Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
>>> Does the content have any spelling or stylistic issues?
>>> Is the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
>>> Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
The truth is that Google implies no controversy when speaking about content and keywords. Your content should be of high quality, just as it should cover the topic in detail. To cover the topic in detail, you have to use keywords. The only thing is that keywords should be used naturally and in the appropriate context so that Google can better understand you.
What you should do
Use keywords naturally and mind the context. Naturally means that you should leave spammy query-like keywords in the 2010s — having phrases like buy sneakers munich sale on your pages is not an option today.
At the same time, make sure your content is not watery. If your page is about cats, then you have to use the keyword cats in your content to let Google and users understand you right.
Source: Link Assistant