Why Keywords Are Not So Important Anymore

Why keywords are not so important anymore and SEO has shifted its focus? But wait this is not altogether true

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Let's have a look at Keywords

Why Keywords Are Not So important Anymore

Back in the ancient days, it was easy to find keywords because there were only a few people using them. Nike meant sporting apparel and Apple meant computers.

Then along came a new intervention they termed Longtail keywords that expanded the single word to make it more descriptive. So Nike became Nike basketball boots to separate it from all the other products.

But no. This was not good enough for Google who insisted on a phrase to really understand what the punters required. Nike basketball boots for men in Idaho size 15 with colored laces.

Google demanded that good SEO was based around using the best Keyword selection and using it often.

  1. In your heading
  2. At the start of your Meta description
  3. Your opening sentence
  4. About one time per 300 words throughout the article.

Pretty easy rules to follow and we did just that. Yoast and AIO SEO tools made us conform and search results were based on exact match keywords.

Google loves to change the rules on Keywords

We have to admit that Google is pretty smart and stays that bit ahead of the market, even if it disrupted our lives.

Those that make the rules decided that Keywords had run their day and something new and shiny was needed.

Because they had run out of ideas they decided to get a bunch of Robots to do all the heavy lifting. This required using Artificial Intelligence to make it work. Because Artificial Intelligence might scare the masses they abbreviated it to AI because everyone knows what that is.

AI is pretty scary stuff and the Robots were given a good dose of it.

They were told to forget about Keywords and concentrate all their powers on determining User Intent taken from the written content.

User intent is really pushing Keywords to a new level

Why Keywords Are Not So important Anymore

Moving from exact match Keywords to what the heck the user is thinking when a question comes from a drunken debate about the ex-wives of Tiger Woods is a big step.

You will understand the rambling questions that are asked to Siri who is also a Robot translating to a Google Bot who replies to a nutter not sure of exactly what he/she wants.

Well, Tiger's one wife and many girlfriends never hurt his +10 handicap but did affect his driving ability.

The answer lies in the answer

What people want is an answer to their question, they don't generally want pages of info on Tiger they want an answer and the answer is one wife.

However, sometimes people want information.
Q: What are the Best Golf Clubs for a high handicapper. A: Ping

In this case, the question requires a lot more information. The readers will consume pages of facts, comparisons, and even recommendations because they want to be convinced the answer is correct. Ping is just not good enough.

Adding to the confusion on search terms

Confusion with Keywords explained

You now understand that Google is in fact a pretty smart Robot but they are not the only show in town.
Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, and YouTube are all pretty good search vehicles however they have stayed with exact match keywords. So If you write purely for intent you are missing a bundle of opportunities.
When you do an analytics search on your posts you will find that many rate on Google or Bing but most often not both.
Putting your Keywords in the post or page helps to alleviate this anomaly.

The answer however, does lie in the answer, and the better you get at that the greater your search results will be.

Keywords are still important and will continue to be

There is no better way to find an answer than an exact match Keyword. That is what you ask for and nothing else matters. However, if the request is at all vague then intent will take control and provide the best option.
No one said this would be easy. This is a business of change and being constantly informed of the latest road bumps will really help your traffic.


I might make light on this subject however it is really important that you understand the ramifications in your writing.

Keywords and Intent land you on the first page of the term and over 75% of readers never venture further than the first three free spots on the page.

Google was built around Keywords and even though the robots have taken control Keywords are still by far the most important part of your tools

Treat Keywords with respect and get the results you want.

Why keywords are not so important anymore by Peter Hanley

2 thoughts on “Why Keywords Are Not So Important Anymore”

  1. An excellent article Peter.
    I’m just rebuilding our corporate website, which is not the place we promote our product, but it is still important to link to our major source of income. I love Yoast but get so frustrated when it tells me what I don’t want to know…
    Too many keywords – keyword stuffing. (They are less than the max) Your keywords do not appear in the heading. (Yes they do). Your keywords do not appear in the first paragraph. (Yes they frigging well do!!! Can’t you read?)
    Cheers, Mike 🙂

    • Thanks, Michael, and I share your frustration.
      I have managed to get past the need to make Yoast happy
      and accept that they are not perfect but a good guide.

      Kind regards
      Peter H


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