When I first became involved in content marketing, it was a fun game of cat and mouse with Google and other search engines. Keyword density and placement was huge if you wanted to rank higher in search results. Basically, there was a formula that every SEO marketer had, which told them how many relevant keywords to place in an article (e.g., 3% density) and how to place them (use bold, italics, links).
The days of keyword stuffing are gone. Google now rewards you for quality content as opposed to getting the right “formula” of keywords placed into your content. Google has launched new algorithms and updated previous algorithms in order to spot quality content. It then discredits the rest which is why quality content is important.
With the switch to quality over quantity, is there really a need to use relevant keywords? While keyword stuffing is no longer a good plan, it is still important to use relevant keywords and here is why.
Google still needs to know how to rank you
I compare Google to someone who comes looking for houses (websites) for clients (those using its search engine). It can see the many houses but how does it known which house is best suited for the client? Google previously used to go through each and every house and make a listing of relevant items for its client (this was the keyword placement). Without such a strong focus on keywords placed within the content we write, how does Google known which one is a best fit? It looks for the description of the house written on the exterior.
Google places more focus on meta descriptions and titles than keywords within content. That means that while relevant keywords are important to Google, placing them throughout the body of the article is not. You need to make sure that you have a good title to your content and within the meta description of the page. This is one of the most important indicators to Google.
Forget about keywords stuffing and make sure to spend more time on titles and meta descriptions. One thing that helps is a good SEO plugin such as Yoast. If you use WordPress for your blog (which you should), then the Yoast plugin is a must.
Anchor text keywords:
The old method of linking content was to do it from your keywords. For instance, if you wanted to rank for the term “article writing,” then you would link those words to other relevant content within your website. This is no longer a viable option as Google will see it as a way of trying to gain the system. As such, I recommend using long tail keywords for your linking.
Relevant keywords are no longer short. They are actually questions that people type into Google search, expecting to find an answer. For instance, people no longer Google the term “article writing.” They will instead search for terms such as “what is the best article writing service to use” or “list of article writing services in Texas.” Google is prepared for this and returns relevant content based on those searches. As such, using a link from a long-tail keyword is better than using one from anchor text. It is safer and still contains the keyword you want to get noticed for (notice that both long tail searches above have the term “article writing” within them). When writing your content, make sure to use long-tail keywords as opposed to shorter anchor text keywords.
Long story short:
To sum it up in a few sentences, remember that stuffing your article with relevant keywords is no longer necessary in order to rank higher in search results. While using keywords in the body of articles is still viable, concentrating on meta descriptions and titles is more important. In addition, do not link from anchor text keywords, only from long-tail keywords that are relevant to the content.