A string of keywords sprinkled like content condiments used to pass for search engine optimization, but that was before the engineers of the search engines wised up. The effectiveness of keyword stuffing for SEO is now as old as Netscape. If you want to get to the top of GB&Y’s (Google, Bing and Yahoo’s) list, you’ll need to look at SEO as less of an engine and more as a “ghost in the machine.”
Keywords are still important, but in a less ostentatious and far more subtle way. What GB&Y (et. al) are after is quality content. Today’s search engine algorithms are the e-commerce matchmakers that do their search rankings in a relentless process. Your SEO content needs to be, among other things, current and relevant to the what the searcher is seeking.
Where Keywords Come In
Despite the search engines getting better at enforcing their own rules, your knowing which keywords to use remains a matter of relative simplicity: know and understand which words your audience uses to search for you. Notice the plural form keywords. The new player in town is known as long-tail keywords.
SEO guru Ian Lurie defines the long-tail keyword approach as “specific, niche search phrases, usually more than two words in length.” Again, according to Lurie, the value is that they “offer a low competition, low search volume and high searcher intent.” Long explanation short: three words tend to narrow down a search better than one.
Content is King
Besides the continuing importance of keywords, other elements of SEO content have remained important in getting those high page ranks. They include, among other things, internal link structure, a strategy that involves intelligent linking the most frequently used customer landing pages to help the customer navigate and stay awhile.
The foregoing also requires consistent and relevant content of value to the users, and which breaks you out from the pack. The new challenge is that search engines now do a much better job at ignoring content that sends bogus signals of relevancy and quality.
So if you’re interested in adopting the best SEO to get ahead of everyone else who wants that number one search engine ranking, forget about trying to out-think the system. Look at SEO as a result of great design and intelligent linking, and be on the lookout for the keywords you know your customers use most.
Just as search engines are getting smarter, so too are more and more of your customers: they rightfully expect valuable content, and, like art, they know it when they see it.
SEO is only one piece of the inbound marketing puzzle. Download our free eBook, “How Inbound Marketing Will Transform Your Business,” to learn more.