TL; DR Yes and No
Keywords are what we put into Google (other search engines are available) to find what we are looking for. For example, if you type “Taco Bell in Bacup” you will get a list of relevant search results.
You won’t find one in Bacup by the way, not yet anyway, the nearest one is in Manchester if there are any Taco Bell fans reading this.
Keywords are also important for businesses too. If inspired by the last paragraph, you have now decided to open a branch of Taco Bell in Bacup, you would want to make sure you appear on or near the top of the search results.
What used to happen is that you could put loads of keywords on a website and watch it move up in the list of search results. But, like everything else in SEO, it is constantly evolving. Google makes hundreds of changes to their SEO every year.
One major development was in 2011 when google introduced an update called Panda. This placed more importance on content and more importantly, quality content. Which meant that anything with repeated or duplicate content, like the same keywords constantly being used, wasn’t being as highly ranked.
In fact, even as I am writing this, Google has just updated their Google Ads Editor v1.1 & Keyword Planner. So, let’s have a look at what has changed, to give you a good idea of the kind of changes that could affect SEO.
Google Ads & Keyword Planner Update
The latest update has changed how keywords appear when typing, for example:
“When you provide the seed keyword “boots”, you might see keyword ideas such as “women’s boots”, “work boots” and “cowboy boots.” You’ll have the option to broaden your search by adding recommended words to your seed keyword.”
There’s a good explanation of this and two other minor changes by searchenginejournal.com here.
The Google Ads changes are more technical and bug fixes but there is one change to the search functionality that will bring back more specific and relevant suggestions as you start typing into google.
The good people at seroundtable.com have put together a comprehensive post explaining all the changes in their Google Ads Editor v1.1 & Keyword Planner Update article.
I’d highly recommend having a look at the Google Keyword Planner. It is very easy to use; you enter a word or words and it will tell you if it thinks it is a good idea to use it or not.
Artificial Intelligence, Alexa and Facebook.
At the beginning of this article, I answered the question with a yes and a no. So, what is the ‘no’ part?
Recent developments in artificial intelligence have seen the rapid rise in popularity of voice searching devices. Asking Alexa, Siri, or Google Home to answer questions rather than the ancient technique of typing into google.
This is completely changing how search engines work, with the ultimate aim of giving the user one, most relevant choice. So, if I ask Siri, “Hey Siri, is there a Taco Bell in Bacup?” we get an interesting result.
Firstly, for all the advances in voice recognition, it doesn’t understand everything. My question became “Is there a Taco Bell in bake up”, because Siri doesn’t know yet how to pronounce small villages in Lancashire.
So, what it did was tell me about the taco bell that ranked highest when I did a traditional google search. It suggested this one and gave me a map and directions.
As you can see this has changed how search engines work, with the power given to the robot helper to make the decision for me. It has great advantages of course but gives you a good idea of the unprecedented changes that are already happening.
Similarly, Google has just announced the will be using motion sensors, called Soli, in their latest Pixel Phone.
Google says that “Pixel 4 will be the first device with Soli, powering our new Motion Sense features to allow you to skip songs, snooze alarms, and silence phone calls, just by waving your hand.”
At first glance, this may not sound like it would change how users search the internet.
But Google also say that Motion Sense is a crucial aspect of its “vision for ambient computing”
Effectively they are moving towards users being able to use whatever tech is around them at the time, rather than typing into a laptop or asking Alexa.
Which means that the devices will be constantly listening for keywords, looking for hand movements and collecting data.
You can find out more about their new motion sensor project on the Soli website.
Facebook, not wanting to be left out, are letting advertisers place adverts within a Facebook search. These won’t use keywords at all! Digiday has all the info on this latest news.
Two of these developments actually happened as I was writing this post, which gives you a good idea of how fast the SEO world is changing.
Of course, you can always rely on Grow Traffic to keep you updated!