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Keywords for SEO: Is it all about popularity?
There’s no doubt about it; a good product or service is imperative for any business. After all, no one in their right mind is willing to pay for a product that serves none of their needs. It’s totally understandable if a big chunk of a budget is spent on product development and research.
However, anyone who wants to sell a well-developed product needs to let its target market know that someone has created something to solve their problems. Very clearly, marketing is also another function that any business cannot do without.
There are many ways to market a company and its products. Offline promotion alone can come in a lot of forms. Out in the world, you can do things like distributing flyers and create metal tags that demand attention. When it comes to going online, there are hundreds of options.
You’ll need to do online marketing on top of the usual offline promotions. Search engine optimization or SEO is a good way to do this.
In SEO, online content is curated in such a way that it ranks for target keywords that people use to search for information. Logic dictates that content creators should focus on popular keywords. These can be determined through a good keyword research. But is it really just about popularity?
The short answer is no. Let’s look at some other important keyword properties.
In the early days of SEO, page content was considered relevant as long as a keyword was in it. Yes, there was a time that an article that talked about traveling was considered relevant to a “curry recipe’ query just because “curry recipe” is inserted somewhere.
But Google and other search engines have become more ‘intelligent’ now. Aside from keyword use, they also take a look at the other words used in the text. Do they go together semantically? If they don’t, then the algorithm may decide the keyword is just inserted there to ‘deceive’ the system.
Because of that, there is a need to be really clear with a keyword’s intent and meaning. So, businesses and content creators should only cover keywords that are relevant to them. When they write content, they should be as thorough as possible. They should try to deliver value to readers.
Usually, the highly popular keywords are also the more generic ones. But given their broadness, the more generic keywords are highly competitive. This means that there are many other content creators who produce content for these terms that it’s a challenge to stand out.
There is also wisdom in pursuing less popular but specific keywords. People who search for them can be construed to be more ready to act (e.g. buy or sign up) than those who search using generic terms; the latter might just be researching to know more and not necessarily to do anything.
Keywords are important to SEO, there’s no denying this. But SEO practitioners must understand that it’s not all about popularity. Other keyword properties also matter.