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Relevance of Keywords for SEO in 2015

With growing significance of latest Google algorithm updates and emergence of new technology, the question arises – will “keywords” be relevant for Search Engine Optimization in 2015?

For years, keyword research was considered as a standard for effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Businesses would focus on “keyword research” based on most frequent search terms used by customers, evaluate them with regard to potential and opportunity in terms of increased search engine ranking, and optimize the website based on such keywords.

Even Google and other search engines gave importance to a website based on keywords only – more on frequency of keywords than relevance. This helped the businesses to measure success based on their search engine ranking for target keywords. Keyword-centric SEO made it easier for businesses to focus on “keyword stuffing” and rank high on search engines.

Fortunately, 2015 will witness a more complex relationship between keywords and search engine rankings. Now, Google Analytics do not provide information on keyword-specific traffic, nor Google algorithm crawls a webpage based solely on the frequency of targeted keywords. This is an important move towards restricting data on keywords and prevent businesses from chasing a “keyword-based strategy” for search-engine visibility success. Today, Google considers many other on-site optimization factors that are more important than keywords.

RELEVANCE matters more than FREQUENCY

The importance of keywords is certainly fading away, but it’s still not dead. Google algorithm needs some sort of text to “crawl” the webpage and understand what exactly the business deals with. More relevant the keyword is, better Google will analyse the business, which certainly plays an important role in Search Engine Page Ranking (SERP). However, keywords are only bits of information that Google needs for analysis, and not for page ranking. Thus, in 2015, the focus of SEO will be more on “relevance” of the keyword rather than “frequency.” Having the right keyword at the right place will be more important than mere stuffing in content body.

Growing importance of SEMANTIC SEARCH

Google’s latest Hummingbird algorithm update has completely transformed the structure of how websites are crawled and ranked on search engines. Earlier, Google used to identify search query as a keyword and then recognize the webpages that features such keyword/keywords in their title or Meta Description. Now, Google generates results based on Semantic Search, wherein queries are now analyzed in terms of “perceived user intent.” Google now understands what exactly the users are searching for based on their queries, and then generates appropriate sources that deliver the desired result.

In this case, including the right keywords at the right place, and not “stuffing,” can be valuable to ensure that Google understands the business accurately and give it importance in Semantic Search.

Changing scenario of On-page and Off-page Optimization

Google algorithm is trying to eliminate “over-optimization” strategies of on-site content and off-site inbound links. Latest Pigeon update has further introduced several external factors, such as the website’s rating in local review pages and ranking in local directories, as important considerations for page ranking. This has further made keywords less important for SERP success.

Webpage STRUCTURE, SPEED and SECURITY matters

The structure of your webpage – Big-picture and Small-picture – now plays an integral role in determining page authority. Google algorithm now gives more importance to webpages that load quickly, are easy to navigate, and are secured by SSL encryption system. The strategies that work here are cleaning your cache and making changes that improve site speed, use appropriate page title and header bar to make it easy to navigate, interlinking internal pages to one another, having SSL encryption, and following traditional webpage structure of header, footer, body and sidebar. These major structural changes help Google crawl your webpages easily and are more effective in gaining website authority, regardless of keywords.

Thus, 2015 will see radical changes in the process of Search Engine Optimization, which certainly will exhibit less importance on keywords and more on other factors as discussed herein.

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