Interesting question, hmm? They’re certainly not the be all and end all of good content anymore. There was a time when you could write an article focusing on one specific keyword, mention it half a dozen times or however many was prudent for the length of the article, and hope to get it reasonably well placed in the search engines for that phrase. Not any more though. Things have changed and maybe that’s for the best.
Content always was king and it probably always will be. Other content, such as photos and videos for example, is important too, and hopefully that won’t change. But you need to provide written content for people to read and for the search engines to index too. It’s just the way they do it now that’s different.
We’ve been told over and over again that Google in particular loves engaging, individual content. Now if your blog happens to be all about, say, fly fishing (first thing that came into my head for some inexplicable reason – hmm….) you’re going to mention associated keywords whenever you write any content on that subject. You can’t NOT mention those words. Try writing an article about choosing the ideal fishing rod without mentioning the words ‘fishing’ and ‘rod’. It’s like writing about keywords without mentioning the word itself. It just doesn’t happen. Even if you did do it most people who read the article would end up going ‘Huh?’ halfway through and abandoning it for something else that makes more sense.
So really, keywords will always be around. They’ll always be relevant to the content you’re writing, no matter what that content might be about. You’ve probably heard the famous catchphrase “It’s the way I tell ’em.” Content works in much the same way. It’s not the words you use that matter – it’s the way you use them. It’s the way you connect with your audience and share your knowledge with them that matters. Leave the keywords to figure themselves out – they will anyway. The key is to avoid using that one phrase – or a number of them – over and over in specific places in your articles or blog posts all the time. People are wise to keyword articles and they’re essentially written for search engines instead of people anyway. When you think about it, Google has done everyone a huge favour by changing the rules and moving the goalposts. Everyone who ever focused on keywords and nothing else is now scrabbling around for a different way of doing things. Everyone who always focused on nothing but their customers or readers is still doing the same thing – and they’re getting rewarded for it.
So if you are wondering how you can get better search engine results, stop thinking about the search engines. In the end, it always comes back to your customers, clients and/or readers. If you think of them the whole time, you’ll be surprised just how effective your results will be.