SEO and keywords

Gary Smith for Imaginet

At last there is some clarity around the continual debate about whether  ” SEO is dead”.  the truth is that SEO has changed irrevocably. One of the latest changes reflected in Google’s algorithms  is Hummingbird.  Hummingbird is rather a point of accumulation of the many prior changes to search engine ranking criteria. One of these changes lies in the value that is now being placed on keywords as a central concept  of SEO and website optimisation; and this has led to the assertion of the end of Keyword SEO.

Ruth Burr of Moz puts provides a clear explanation of the situation with regard to keywords:

“The thing is, even without the loss of Google’s referring keyword data, search engine traffic isn’t just about the keyword anymore. Thanks to the new search carousel, it’s possible for users to perform several searches and get to several different SERPs from just one query. Thanks to Google’s autocomplete feature, users are often using a suggested query rather than whatever their original keyword might be.” (

What has displaced keywords as the focus of SEO praxis is the fact that Google is now emphasizing  semantic and  contextual relationships rather than just plain keywords. Other factors that are beginning to play a more significant role in optimization are Author Rank, personalization, and the Knowledge Graph. Burr States: ” Now, in addition to what your content says and who links to it, Google also cares about who created it, what else they’ve done, and who’s shared it. Content from a trusted source can rank in personalized results for related keywords without specifically targeting them; Google’s gotten that good at figuring out topical relationships.”

These are extremely important points and provides a rationale for moving away from a purely keyword orientated approach to optimization for search engines. As Burr so succinctly puts it;” What this means for SEO is that we need to shift our focus from getting traffic from keywords to getting traffic to pages”. This  in effect  means an increased focus on quality content  and the essential aspect of  building authority around a specific topic”.  More on this soon from Imaginet.


GaryBruce Smith is a freelance writer and artist. View his Google Plus profile.

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