What on earth are 'Content Keywords' when they're at home? Are they important...? Should I care?
These are just some of the questions we are (never) regularly asked at PF Digital everyday! So for the vast swathes of you (undoubtedly) out there eager for answers, then look no further than this blog...
So firstly, what is / are Content Keywords? Well in one respect they are the keywords in your content...
"Brilliant, so blog complete?"
...HOWEVER, in this context we mean a useful little feature on Google Search Console that has now been retired (insert appropriate devastated emoji here) which, much to the dismay to many in the comments section of the Google Webmasters blog which it was announced - probably means the final step towards full-blown, conversational searching.
This cute feature appeared right at the start of Google Search Console - known formerly as Google Webmasters (!) - and was one of the key elements to determining your current keyword set and understanding how effectively Search Engine Optimisation tactics were working.
It told Webmasters how many times certain words - or keywords - were picked up by Google's bots across a website. It also put them in order of relevance and importance to your site's ranking.
This became particulary useful in ensure your content wasn't straying off-brand or business message.
But, BUT there was a crucial flaw in this tool: in the very early days of SEO some tactics were... lets just say dubious.
This involved practices such as stuffing content with keywords; or even - my personal favourite - putting a load of keywords at the bottom of a page and then making them the same colour as the background text! This meant that whilst Google's early bots certainly picked up this data, users would be unable to see it! (Google is a lot smarter now and looks for colour of text vs. backgrounds when crawling sites).
And now it's goodbye?
For this little feature yes. Google has been emphasising the importance of good, high-quality content for years. Every one of its updates is focused on improving the overall internet for its searchers, so that it is quicker, more accessible and, most of all, heralding fantastic content at all times.
The first indication that Google was going down this route - of conversational, more natural searching was its introduction of voice search for its Chrome App.
This ability to allow users to accurately search for things with phrases like, "pubs near me" or, "will I need a coat tomorrow?", meant that Webmasters needed to adjust the type of content and keywords they were targeting.
There has been a seismic shift in the way content is used to attract searchers and improve keyword ranking across the Digital marketing thought-process.
This final push by Google is no accident and merely part of a wider and far-reaching trend of good quality, friendly and - most of all - useful content being at the forefront of utilising your website as effective marketing tool.
And as we've learnt historically*: what Google wants; Google gets.
Keywords and SEO
With Google making the jump away from concentrating solely on keywords, what does this mean content creators and SEO merchants?
Mainly that content is more important than ever! As Google themselves mentioned in their blog announcing the removal of Content Keywords:
"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!"
This leads us to the conclusion that you MUST now be producing regular, useful content of the very highest quality! This will make naturally slotting keywords into content more important than ever.
Don't panic just yet!
It doesn't mean that there is any less emphasis on keywords, but it certainly opens up the possibility that Google will now be looking at the flow and readability of content as much as specific keywords contained within it.
As this has been in the pipeline it shouldn't be a surprise as most businesses have known for a while that they need to be producing regular content in order to stay relevant on Google.
What is now does mean, is that you must be producing content that absolutely helps potential customers out rather than just producing it for the sake it!
* This relates to making the whole web mobile responsive.