Google Search Has Changed Focus
Google has removed content keywords on Search Console. Now it’s up to you to write real.
November 29, 2016, Google Webmaster Central said goodbye to Content Keywords on Search Console and it’s time for content creators and those who want content written to pay attention.
The change has caused surprise for business owners who come up with keywords for their business or “SEO” writers who have not been paying attention.
Here are Google’s official words on the change.
The words on your pages, the keywords if you will, are still important for Google's (and your users') understanding of your pages. While our systems have gotten better, they can't read your mind: be clear about what your site is about, and what you'd like to be found for. Tell visitors what makes your site, your products and services, special!
And here’s something I wrote in March of 2014.
Most people are on internet sites looking for solutions to difficulties or enquiries they have. Engage them by
making your article enlightening and useful,
produce bulleted or numbered lists to make your page appealing and easy to read,
encouraging the reader down to the bottom of the page where your resource box is.
My mission in writing for others has been to elaborate on this to produce meaningful search results for clients: a clear understanding of the business that encourages a sale.
Words Still Matter
The words you use in your content still have significance but in a different way. Words written in natural language to answer customer questions allow your site visitors to understand your products and services and lead them toward a purchase. The vocabulary you use about your business reflects your understanding of customer need.
If your content is about you, your product, or service without filling a need, the text is just taking up space. The text may feed your ego, but if it doesn’t address client concerns, your site visitor will skim, skip, or leave the page.
Julian McCoy recently wrote on LinkedIn
Online writing is designed to be about the audience first and you second, third, or fourth. With this in mind, use your personal experience, pain points, and knowledge to help THEM break down their issues, but don’t make yourself the center point of the story. Instead, keep the focus thoroughly on your readers and interject the “I” only when it’s really needed.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and you want to optimize your text for search engines by addressing customer needs. A balance of discoverability (ranking) and sales is your goal. If you rank high but are not making sales, you are missing the point. Google understands how important it is to address customer needs.
Rethink Your Starting Point – Find Your Words
Before you start in with any keyword tool, brainstorm the main elements of your business.
- The one way your business is different from competitors
- What customers ask for
- Which pages are bringing customers from your site
Then create a list of the main concerns your customers have. The longer the list, the more targeted content you can create addressing each of those needs.
The goal of your content is to answer questions your potential customers ask before they buy. Answer the questions in your client list with the unique strengths of your business.
Intent and Concept
If Google and other search engines are looking for quality over keywords how do you rethink your content?
Rand Fishkin on Whiteboard Friday about content for SEO.
Use a multi-keyword approach in this analysis. So when I'm saying, “What is the searcher's intent,” I'm asking you to consider all of the words and phrases that you're hoping to rank for with this piece of content, not just a single keyword term or phrase. That will give you the best way to choose the right content format for the search queries and the overall goal of attracting the right searchers +Rand Fishkin
The longer your list of customer questions and the way they ask those questions the better your content can reach them through natural language.
Relational Key Concepts
The relation among the words that you use when you write in natural language will be easy for your customers to understand and also simple for search engines to grasp the meaning of the entire piece.
Relational key concepts are those concepts–represented by related words–that both the reader and search engines find within your text.
For example, if you are writing about using hammers or the hammers for sale in your hardware store, search engines will recognize that certain words are naturally related to the concept of hammer. Such as:
It doesn’t matter if you are writing about fine wines, high-end private tours, HR SaaS, home inspection, drain clogs, competitor SEO, or dog training the concept still applies.
The key is talking to your customer (site visitor) as though they were standing in front of you. This is why it helps to imagine one specific person when you are writing.
Mark Traphagen of Stone Temple Consulting says about content quality:
My rule of thumb is simple. Create content that is long enough to be helpful and interesting, meet your marketing goals, and provide a unique take on the topic and no longer.