Relying only on keywords will make your SEO fail
Keywords are one of the most fundamental aspects of search engine optimisation (SEO). They help you target the right audience, drive organic traffic, and rank higher on Google. However, keywords are not enough to guarantee your SEO success. In fact, relying on keywords alone can make your SEO fail.
Why keywords are not enough for SEO
Keywords are not the only factor that search engines consider when ranking your website. Especially Google’s algorithms. They have become more advanced and sophisticated over time, and they can understand the meaning and context of your content beyond the keywords.
Google also looks at other factors, such as:
- Technical SEO: This includes aspects such as site structure, URL structure, meta tags, schema markup, sitemaps, robots.txt, canonical tags, and more. Technical SEO helps Google crawl and index your website properly and efficiently.
- Site speed: This refers to how fast your website loads on different devices and browsers. Site speed affects the user experience and satisfaction, as well as the bounce rate and conversion rate. Google considers site speed as a ranking factor, especially for mobile searches.
Improving Site Speed and Core Web Vitals
- Optimise images and enable caching.
- Minimise redirects.
- Optimise the web server configuration.
- Compress files with gzip.
- Defer non-essential JS.
- Optimise pages for Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay.
- User experience (UX): This refers to how easy and enjoyable it is for users to interact with your website. UX includes aspects such as design, layout, navigation, readability, accessibility, usability, and more. UX affects the user engagement and retention, as well as the trust and credibility of your website. Google considers UX as a ranking factor, especially for core web vitals.
- Backlinks: These are links from other websites that point to your website. Backlinks help Google measure the authority and popularity of your website. The more quality and relevant backlinks you have, the higher your website will rank on Google.
Building Quality Backlinks
- Create link-worthy content assets – guides, tools, resources.
- Reach out to industry websites for guest posts.
- Get featured in roundups, lists, mentions.
- Participate in forums and get backlinks in signatures/profiles.
- Create graphic assets, videos, visuals that others can link to.
- Sponsor or speak at industry events.
- Content quality: This refers to how well your content answers the user’s intent and provides value. Content quality includes aspects such as originality, relevance, accuracy, comprehensiveness, freshness, and more. Content quality affects the user satisfaction and loyalty, as well as the social sharing and word-of-mouth of your website. Google considers content quality as a ranking factor, especially for E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authority, trustworthiness).
Optimising for Voice Search and Featured Snippets
- Use natural language and conversational tone.
- Answer questions clearly and succinctly.
- Include keywords in first sentences/paragraphs.
- Use lists, steps, and how-to formats.
- Optimize content for long-tail natural language queries.
How to optimise your website for SEO
Instead of focusing on keywords alone, you should optimise your website for SEO holistically and strategically. You should consider all the factors mentioned above and create a balanced and comprehensive SEO strategy that covers both on-page and off-page optimisation.
One of the most important steps in optimising your website for SEO is conducting keyword research. Keyword research is not outdated or irrelevant; it is still a vital part of SEO that helps you understand what your audience is searching for and how to optimise your content accordingly.
Keyword research involves finding relevant and profitable keywords that match your niche, audience, goals, and intent. You can use various keyword tools to help you with this process, such as Bing Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Explorer, SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool, or Ahrefs Keywords Explorer.
These tools can help you find keyword ideas, analyse the competition, measure the difficulty and opportunity, and track the performance of your keywords.
However, keyword research is not enough; you also need to use keywords strategically and moderately in your content. You should avoid keyword stuffing, which is an old and outdated technique that involves using keywords too often or unnaturally in your content.
Keyword stuffing can make your content look spammy and unnatural and reduce the user satisfaction and trust. It can also harm your rankings and reputation, as Google can penalise you for it.
Instead of keyword stuffing, you should use keywords naturally and appropriately in your content. You should use keywords in places where they fit the context and flow of your content, such as:
- Title tag: This is the title of your web page that appears on the search engine results page (SERP) and on the browser tab. It should include your main keyword and a compelling value proposition that attracts users to click on it.
- Meta description: This is the snippet of text that appears below the title tag on the SERP. It should include your main keyword and a concise summary of what your web page is about.
- URL: This is the address of your web page that appears on the browser bar. It should include your main keyword and be short and descriptive.
- Headings: These are the subheadings that divide your content into sections and paragraphs. They should include your main keyword or related keywords that indicate what each section is about.
- Body text: This is the main content of your web page that provides information and value to users. It should include your main keyword or related keywords throughout the text naturally and moderately.
- Images: These are the visual elements that enhance your content and make it more appealing and engaging. They should include your main keyword or related keywords in their file name, alt text, caption, or title.
Optimising Individual Pages and Content Structure
- Focus on creating a clear information architecture and optimising pages for specific keywords/topics.
- Make sure each page has a unique title, meta description, H1 tag using target keyword.
- Include related keywords in headers, content, image tags.
- Interlink relevant pages using anchor text with keywords.
- Create pillar pages/blog posts optimised for key topics.
- Use breadcrumb navigation to show page hierarchy.
Personalisation and Optimising for User Intent
- Creating personalised site experiences based on location, demographics.
- Optimising content for different user intents – informational, transactional, navigational.
- Using schema markup to highlight key page elements.
- Grouping content by theme and relevancy.
- A/B testing different content variations.
- Analysing search query data to identify user intent patterns.
Keywords are not enough to make your SEO succeed. You need to optimize your website for SEO holistically and strategically, considering other factors such as technical SEO, site speed, user experience, backlinks, and content quality.
You also need to conduct keyword research and use keywords strategically and moderately in your content. By doing so, you can improve your website’s performance, ranking, and visibility on Google.