Google not only reviews how often the keyword is placed within a website’s content but where it’s placed as well. For instance, a keyword placed within a article heading and/or page title is given much more weight than those placed within content. Nonetheless, such keywords must be placed within related content. After several years of seeing site owners trying to manipulate search engines, Google has become highly adept at discerning quality content and ranking sites accordingly. Simply placing a singular keyword multiple times within a body of text is not enough to achieve a high search engine ranking.
But manipulating search engines should be unnecessary. Reviewing your website data (analytics) for what search engine queries are driving the most traffic to your website is critical. Such steps will give website owners a strong clue as to what keywords your most engaged users are using. Moreover, if you know who you’re targeting (your target audience), some obvious keywords will quickly come to mind. Brainstorming is key here.
Likewise, website owners seeking to optimize their sites for particular keywords should consider how competitive they might be. As in the example above, a broad keyword term like “social networking” will not be an effective term for a meetup group in a small city.
Once you have determine what keyword you will want to rank high for, you can take particular steps to make this happen. For instance, you can start by making sure your keyword is actually placed several times within your content; this is known as keyword density. However, using a specific keyword too frequently can also backfire. Google’s algorithms are especially alert to such situations and can “disqualify” any gains in relevance as such. Moreover, writing specifically for keyword density becomes unnatural and alienating to the reader.
Finally, keywords will also be more relevant to search engines if they’re closer to the top of the page and closer to each other. Likewise, search engines tend to weight keywords that are at the beginning of page titles and headings. Simply put, keyword prominence is a key factor in search engine rankings.
While keywords will always be important to search engines, they may very well become less so in the near future. The trend toward discerning relevance by social media usage and human judgment already plays a significant part in Google’s ranking of websites. As artificial intelligence becomes more adept at discerning quality content, keyword importance for ranking will necessarily decline in relevance.
In the near future search engine ranking will be determined more by sentence structure and language. Likewise, synonyms and context will be considered in light of a user’s search query. Site owners will not have to be cognizant of where their keywords are placed. Content creation thus becomes easier and more natural. Although the user will still be able to decide the search query, how websites are ranked will become an even greater mystery than it is currently.
If Google’s ranking system seems confusing or opaque, rest assured that Corporate Conversions continuously monitors apparent changes within Google’s algorithm and modifies web ranking strategies accordingly. No one outside of Google fully understands its process, but adept SEO professionals understand and adapt to it better than most.