In the past, digital marketers have focused their SEO efforts on optimizing for specific keywords. But, with Google updates in the last several years, the role of keywords has drastically changed.
Here’s what you need to know to stay on top of your SEO game.
Google uses semantic search.
Google has always been about returning the best possible result for a user’s query. It is, after all, a business – a business with the goal of any other: satisfying customers.
Today, Google is better than ever at helping people find what they are looking for. While it used to identify only single words, Google now processes full-sentence queries, distilling longer conversational queries into shorter, intent-driven ones.
Driven by semantic search, it focuses on searcher intent and the meaning behind words. For example, Google will recognize that ‘attorney’ and ‘lawyer’ are the same thing.
So, what does this mean for your website copy?
It’s no longer about using the right individual words – it’s about providing context around them. Today’s online marketers need to focus less on keywords and more on what those keywords actually mean to people.
High-quality content wins.
Another way Google is better at giving people what they’re looking for is providing results based on high-quality content.
So what are signals of high-quality content?
- Robust content
—> Pages with more than 900 words perform better.
—> Multimedia, including video and pictures are correlated with higher rank.
- Backlinks (links from another site to your site)
—> It’s not only the number of backlinks that matter but also the quality of those links.
—> Check out the Flesch Reading Ease test to assess how easy it is for users to read your content.
- User signals
—> Aim for high click-through rates and low bounce rates.
- Load time and mobile responsiveness —> Sites that take a long time to load produce poor user signals.
In sum, if there’s one thing you should focus your SEO efforts on, it’s creating relevant, holistic content that brings value to your audience.
I’ll leave you with a quote I love from inbound marketing mogul Moz: “It’s not about optimizing keywords for search engines. It’s about optimizing the search experience for the user.”
Want to learn how your business can benefit from search engine optimization? Let’s chat.