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Keywords & locations - are they still effective for SEO

There is a lot of controversies going among people about what is the best practice that should be followed to get a good ranking on Google’s search engine result page. There has not been any perfect solution that has been found for this question because Google never discloses its ranking factors publicly. Also, it is found that Google uses more than 200 factors for ranking a website. We are not able to discover what are these 200 factors but have discovered few ranking factors by conducting trial and error methods on websites. Let’s see if keywords and location are still one of those major factors for ranking.

What are keywords?

Keywords are terms that are included in web content to improve search engine rankings. Let’s understand keywords with an example. Think that you are searching for “T-shirts” on google, you search terms like “blue color men’s t-shirts”, “blue t-shirts on

amazon”, “best t-shirts designs”, these are the search terms that you might search on google. Now in the results, you will see websites ranking on top having some of these keywords. That is the main purpose of keywords, it helps Google understand the intent of your blog.

What are Locations?

Here location means Local SEO, as normal SEO, Local SEO is also important for better search engine optimization. It is also known as geo-targeting and is the practice of optimizing the website for a target location. It is used to rank websites for local keywords like “Best Digital Marketing Company in Jacksonville Fl”,Best SEO company in Jacksonville Fl”, “Web Design company in northeast Florida”.

Local SEO is usually used for promoting companies in the local area. Local SEO mainly focuses on great quality local content and achieving traction across local news and media. For example, if you live in Jacksonville and search for SEO companies, Google will show all the Local SEO companies first. The desktop search will display a wider local area whereas you will see more immediate results on mobile.

Are keywords and locations important for SEO?

Google is continuously trying to improve the search results for the user, by providing them with the most relevant content by showing them what they want.

As Google does not tell what factors it uses to choose the most relevant content, no one exactly knows what google is doing.

So people have tried try and error method for understanding what might be the factors for ranking, so everyone has different conclusions, some people say that keywords are relevant

and they still work and some say keywords are not relevant nowadays and we focus more on the other factors.

But how to know who is right and who is wrong?

Firstly, Let’s understand how Google works.

How does google perform ranking?

We know that Google uses more than 200 ranking factors in their algorithm. And Google always keeps tweaking these algorithms from time to time.

So if you are ranking at the top of Google’s search results, there is no guarantee that you will stay at the top always. 

So, what should be your priority, should you keep adding keywords or working on other factors?

If you wish to dive deeper into SEO, you should read our post: How to rank #1 on Google: The 2021 guide.

SEO in early years

In the early days of Google, it was easy to rank your website on top results of searches, because prioritizing keywords was the best option, you only had to do was adding as many keywords that you can in the content in the title, meta description, etc. People started to misuse this loophole, they used to stuff a page full of keywords and match the color of the text with the background. So that only google was able to see the keywords that were added, but the website used to be blank for viewers. This resulted in a lot of irrelevant results for searches.

SEO now-a-days

With regular algorithm changes, Google is focused on improving the quality and user experience, rather than showing a page in results. Google wants to show user results that it wants and it is continuously working on improving it. Using specific keywords, a lot of the time in the content used to work earlier but it does not work now.

Changes in Google’s Algorithm

These are the updates from where google started to care about the content in the blog.

  1. Panda

From this update, Google started to care about the quality of content. It started to focus more on the content rather than the keywords.

  1. Penguin

This update punished websites that did link schemes and keyword stuffing. This helped in reducing spamming websites and resulted in improved customer satisfaction.

  1. HummingBird

Google was trying to understand the intent behind the search query. This improved the google search results as it started to show more relevant content.

  1. RankBrain

Here AI and ML were introduced and it had to jobs understand keywords and measure customer satisfaction. The integration of Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning is a game-changer because the engine now can learn and adapts to changes by analyzing the performance.

With Google ranking factors do keywords matter?

According to a study conducted by SEMrush, they found some of the most important factors that affect SEO. They discovered that the highest prioritized way for improving SEO was direct website visits, time spent by the user on-site, number of pages visited internally per session, bounce- rate, etc. and the keyword is noted to be the least priority factor.

Also nowadays, Google uses semantic search to know the intent of your content. For example, if you run a coffee cafe and have a great website for your cafe. There you have displayed the coffee prices that are cheaper as compared to other restaurants instead of using 'affordable coffee' on your website. When people will search for affordable coffee, Google would determine that your cafe also fits this query on its own and display your website in top results.

Does this mean we should ignore keywords?

No, we should not ignore keywords, rather we should use the relevant keywords and keywords that make sense. We should focus more on writing high-quality and relevant content for the user.

It is safe to say that keywords won't disappear soon but you should also be working on other SEO factors and learn more methods for improving your SEO.

So what’s the final solution?

The best solution is to “Write content for human beings rather than engines and optimize the site and content for search engine”

That means we should keep in mind that we are writing content for human beings and not search engines.

We should write content that will help the viewers answer their questions, and if we write good content in our blog the user will automatically stay a long time on our page which will is a message to Google that your content is relevant and useful for the user.

Keywords & locations - are they still effective for SEO?

Yes, keywords and locations are still effective for SEO but they are not the only factor conducting. Speaking about locations, with local SEO, there are still high chances that you rank in the local results and generate great traffic.

With other SEO factors, keywords though at the least priority still play an important role in ranking your website. Instead of stuffing your content with keywords be wise in using them appropriately. Use their synonyms at places to make your content engaging while reading.

To conclude, we should know that people use Google or other search engines for accessing information and for gaining knowledge. So we should delight them by providing them with the correct information rather than just inserting plenty of keywords.

If you are looking for a good Local SEO company in Jacksonville, search for the best Jacksonville SEO company on Google and select the one that has enough knowledge about the field, then you should be seeing.

Check these posts to learn about keyword research: how to approach keyword research and how to search keywords for creating content.