Recently, we shared some insight into the new world of contextual search, which isn’t just changing the way Google operates but also the way businesses approach search engine optimization as a marketing tool. One of the ways the contextual search algorithms help users to find better search results is by looking beyond the search string itself and considering synonyms, associated phrases, and related topics. One consequence of that change is that actual keywords – which have been the focus of SEO for so long – are starting to lose some of their power.
Does That Mean Keywords Are Going Away?
To be sure, keywords still matter to your Internet marketing campaigns. But it’s also entirely possible that another website will now outrank yours for your most important search terms, even if those terms feature infrequently (or not at all) on the competitor website.
In Google’s opinion, a website can be a valid destination for a search term that’s not even listed. In fact, it could be even better, if the content seems geared toward users and not search spiders.
How to Come Out Ahead in Contextual Search
Looking to the future, it’s likely that this trend will continue. And keywords will become less and less valuable as search engine indicators. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should stop worrying about keywords altogether. They still have value, and Google still likes to match up search strings to found keyword phrases, all things considered. What it does mean is that you need to turn your website into an authority on your topic or industry. Smart marketers are adding more content, more citations, and more related posts and topics built around their core pages. They are turning their websites into comprehensive, up-to-date sources of information and insight.
The goal of those activities is to have Google not only recognize that you have important search terms on your website, but also that you are an authoritative resource. Plus, it enables you to capture more of the so-called “long tail” searchers who are incredibly difficult to target with traditional keyword research and optimization.
Search-Friendly Doesn’t Mean What It Used To
Adding keywords and links to your website used to be enough to get ahead in search engine optimization and online marketing. But, in the new world of contextual search, websites with lots of timely, relevant, and detailed articles are coming out ahead.
As a marketer, you have a choice: you can either complain about the fact that SEO is evolving – yet again – or you can recognize that contextual search helps users and smart businesses alike. Which road will your company take?