You’ve probably seen many SEO blogs and articles in the past talking about keywords this and content that, but one thing I’ve come to notice is not all of them are up to date, even the most recent ones.
Many SEO blogs and articles will retort about the importance of Meta Keywords in Search rankings, but the three most popular Search Engines; Google, Bing and Yahoo, almost completely ignore Meta Keywords, and they don’t have much of a sway on Search Rankings, instead they rely more on Meta Descriptions and Click-Through-Rates the website has.
Back in 2009, Google noticed that many websites had been doing a technique that was deemed to be unfair, known as Keyword Stuffing. This is where a website uses a lot of keywords to try and reach the first place of any Search Ranking that is related to them. In fact, on occasion websites would add the names of their competitors in their tags, so when someone searched for their competitor, they would show up instead. To combat this, Google removed the use of Meta Keywords in their SEO.
Now, Google uses Meta Description, CTR and Ads to determine what position a website appears, as well as Backlinks and how Optimised the website is. Whilst Meta Keywords aren’t used, Keyword Stuffing will still be punished and lower the websites position on a Search Result.
Meta Descriptions are the small paragraphs that appear underneath links in the Search Results, the way Google uses Meta Descriptions, is that they take the Keywords from the Search and compare it to the words in the Meta Description, and see how many of the Keywords in the Search are in the Meta Description. They also provide users with a little snippet of what the website contains. It’s recommended by many that a Meta Description should be under 160 characters, however from my research I found out that google also, and mainly, uses the actual pixel size of the Description, recommended under 990px, which you can check here, it’s what I used personally, although don’t forget about the characters as well.
Click-Through-Rate is the amount of times someone has clicked on the website’s link when it has appeared in the Search Results, and the higher the CTR is, the better Google will see the website. The website will appear higher in Search results with the Higher the CTR, well it’s not the only contributing factor, but it helps. One thing that can help with CTR, is using the Meta Description; making the Description seem appealing and inviting will make the user want to click on the link, and find out more, being clear and understandable will also help people in deciding whether to click on your site or not.
There are other methods to get your site noticed, like Google Ads, Backlinks and having an optimised site. Google Ads works by the website owner placing a ‘bid’ on a targeted Keyword, and if that bid is deemed to be higher than Google’s value on the Keyword, you’ll get an ad. Which is then determined by a system known as Ad Rank, which calculates how much you spent, the quality of your ad itself, and the page where the ad is linked to as well. The better the ad rank, the higher the ad will appear, but every time it appears in a search, the Ad Rank is calculated every time, so it’s not a permanent spot on the top.
Backlinks are another method to climb to the top of Google Search Results, they are when a web page links to another page on a different website, Google considers these to be almost like votes for the page being linked, and having a lot of Backlinks can improve the Organic Traffic to your website as well.
And an optimised site, may seem like such an obvious method, but can really help with Google looking at your site, the more optimised the more that Google likes the website and places it higher than the rest. So balancing between a good looking site for users, and having an optimised site for Google’s Search Result would be the best idea. Plus an optimised site will also be better for the user too with loading times.
So in conclusion, I hope this has either cleared up some misconceptions about Keywords, or helped you in another way with your SEO, although don’t forget that this is only scratching the surface!