If you have done SEO, you know it all starts with keywords.  Knowing what word is being searched by the consumer and then focusing your content, link building & social efforts around that word.  Making sure that you keep mentioning this keyword in all of your efforts to help make it clear to Google that you should rank for this keyword.

This basic concept of keywords is a good starting point.  Unfortunately too many internet marketers do not realize this is only the tip of the iceberg and thus they sink after only hitting the tip of this iceberg. Let’s talk about the evolution of keywords.

Over fifteen years ago there was a cutting edge SEO trick called keyword density (check out SEOBook’s keyword density tool).  Very simply if you had 100 words on a page and you mentioned “widgets” 5 times then it had a keyword density of 5% since that word appeared 5 times out of 100 words.  That was a good SEO tool 15 years ago.  Today it is mostly worthless since Google has become more evolved and sophisticated.

Today Google does not want to see keywords stuffed on a page.  A single word is not nearly as useful as a single phrase.  If Googlebot visits your site and notices that you mention “seals” often on your page it does not know if you are talking about “baby seals” at the zoo or “industrial seals” for a local factory or “family seals” to look at the crests of royal families.  This is one reason why Google wants to see key phrases.

Let’s say your site is about “industrial seals” and Google was able to guess this by the synonyms and other related keywords (you do know that synonyms are really important).  Google still does not know enough about what your website is about.  Are you selling industrial seals?  Are you providing repair services for industrial seals?  Is your site a government agency that inspects them?  Are you a historical organization providing educational material about this?  Are you a technical college providing a course on it?  Google needs to be able to figure out your website so it can handle intent (intent – an important but simple concept.  Google wants to understand intent so they can best match users with what the user wants – even when the user does not know how to find what they want).

If Google simply looked at individual keywords they can find thousands of sites that mention the keywords “industrial”, “seals” and “repair”.  The problem is most of these sites are not about “industrial seal repairs”.  Industrial manufacturers will talk about using authorized dealers for repairs, the technical college course website talks about how students learn to repair and the government agency website talks about certification process for repairs.  But none of these sites will be much help to someone searching Google for a industrial seal repair service.  This is why Google is looking at key phrases and just key words.

Keywords is a basic concept that has been used for well over 15 years.  Don’t you think its time you evolved your SEO thinking instead of using an outdated, oversimplified concept that is over 15 years old?

I suggest you research the concept of “latent semantic indexing”.  I am not saying that Google currently relies on this.  This was experimented with about 10 years ago by the search engines.  I mention this to help open your mind to the potential of more sophisticated efforts that search engines could use and why simply having keywords on page is not nearly doing enough for your SEO efforts.  I am sure Google has ways to index & rank webpages that are more accurate and use less system resources than generic LSI.

This article was filed under SEO.