If you’re old enough (you know, dinosaur age), you may remember a time when you typed a query into a search engine…and got zero results. That changed quickly, and today even the oddest searches (Do slugs have ears?) will bring up thousands of results (72,400 and counting for the slug ear inquiry). You may have also noticed that search engine results aren’t just getting bigger.
They’re getting smarter. Way, way, smarter.
Ask Google “What is the national animal of Scotland?”Google won’t just bring up 5,450,000 search results, it will also answer your question right smack at the top of its list of results. (Answer: Unicorn!) Oh, and to save you from the scourge of finger cramps, Google will also try to guess what you’re searching as you type in your query. It took me typing, “What is the national ani” for Google’s top guess to be correct. (I can’t blame people for loving unicorns.)
How this relates to SEO
If you have any familiarity with search engine optimization (SEO), then you understand the importance of keywords. When it comes to SEO, keywords are gold…or at least they used to be. Google’s earlier algorithms placed a huge emphasis on keywords in content. As a result, SEO experts were all about the keywords. We would do tons of keyword research, create keyword lists, and focus on writing website content, blogs, and articles with very specific keyword concentrations.
Then Google got even smarter. Remember the unicorn. In 2013, Google released Hummingbird, an update that overhauled Google’s complete algorithm and did something pretty incredible. Hummingbird doesn’t just look at what a search engine query says; it tries to understand the meaning. This is an important distinction.
Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land (THE site for SEO obsessives) explains:
“Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query – the whole sentence or conversation or meaning – is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.”
SEO in 2015
Here in 2015, keywords still matter greatly when it comes to gaining visibility for your website and social media platforms, but meaning matters too. Keyword over stuffing hasn’t worked for a while, but it will work even less well now if you don’t focus on writing strong content tailored to a specific topic.
Good search engine optimization professionals will still do keyword research, but they will also emphasize meaning and long-tail keywords that can match very specific search queries. For business owners, this simply means that you should do what is an absolutely fail-proof SEO practice: write great content. If you focus less on keywords and more on imparting useful, unique information to your readers, your content should survive any Google update no matter how smart the search engine giant becomes.
If you don’t have time to write great content on a regular basis, we can help!
Contact Iluka Media today to discuss our Dedicated Monthly Marketing and Content Marketing packages.