SEO: Do keywords really matter, or not?
Thread poster: Susan Welsh

Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:51
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Oct 17, 2010

My son, who is a computer geek studying computer science in college, tells me that keywords have become irrelevant: Google doesn't use them anymore, for example (or maybe he said that they are used very little, I'm not sure which). Yet searching around on the Proz forums and elsewhere, a lot of people (how knowledgeable?) still recommend fine-tuning and updating keywords on your website.

Does anybody know whether it's really worth the bother?

Susan


 

Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:51
French to English
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Changed role Oct 17, 2010

Hi Susan,

In the "old days", the keyword meta tag was important for search engines. This is no longer the case, and in that your son is right.

With SEO, keywords are still critical, but they use, positioning and density have changed. So, for example, when you have carefully chosen a keyword, you would want it to appear in your title tag (as up front as possible in the title in fact) as well as in your text, being careful though that the density for that keyword not be beyond 5 to 7 percent (that's the range I read is optimal) of your text. If you just fill up your keyword meta tag with that word and its variants, it probably won't get you very far if that word does not appear in your title and in the content of your page.

HTH,

Patricia


 

madak  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:51
Swedish to English
+ ...
Yes - but not in meta data Oct 17, 2010

Patricia Lane wrote:

With SEO, keywords are still critical, but they use, positioning and density have changed. So, for example, when you have carefully chosen a keyword, you would want it to appear in your title tag (as up front as possible in the title in fact) as well as in your text, being careful though that the density for that keyword not be beyond 5 to 7 percent (that's the range I read is optimal) of your text. If you just fill up your keyword meta tag with that word and its variants, it probably won't get you very far if that word does not appear in your title and in the content of your page.


Patricia


Patricia is totally correct, and so is your son if he was talking about meta keywords. Google cares not at all, or very little, for meta keywords and descriptions, though some other search engines, for example Yahoo, are still supposed to do so. My guess as to why Google stopped giving credit to meta data is that it became a bit like spamming. People would add keywords in their meta data which had nothing whatsoever to do with the page content.

Good SEO copywriting, which BTW is a specialised profession, involves exactly the things Patricia mentioned as well as the naming of pages. Firstly, include your most important keyword (you can have more than one for each page) in the page's name, for example:

www.mydomain.com/keyword.html

Then also use this keyword in your heading, h1. Be careful not to sneak it in using grey hatting, i.e. using a very small almost invisible font. Should Google pick this almost black hatting up, you're likely to be penalised.

Your next consideration should be density.You should use your keyword/s naturally in the text. I've been taught to stick to 5 to 8% which is pretty close to Patricia's 5 to 7%. Exceed this and search engines might assume your site to be one of those sites filled with irrelevant garbage.


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:51
French to English
+ ...
Largely disregarded Oct 17, 2010

Susan Welsh wrote:
My son, who is a computer geek studying computer science in college, tells me that keywords have become irrelevant: Google doesn't use them anymore, for example (or maybe he said that they are used very little, I'm not sure which). Yet searching around on the Proz forums and elsewhere, a lot of people (how knowledgeable?) still recommend fine-tuning and updating keywords on your website.


I think your son is essentially correct: in general, search engines will tend to disregard-- or at least give low priority to-- *anything* that looks like an attempt to confuse it, including "optimised" keywords.

A good search engine can take a page/site and analyse it for terms, keywords that it contains: it doesn't need to take your word for it.


 

Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:51
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to all Oct 19, 2010

I understand now.

 
I agree Feb 7, 2012

Meta information (Title, keywords and content) is less improtant now as some people stuff keywords.

Good and original content of a website is what really matters.


 


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