The next big move for search engine optimizers has come according to Google. In recent months, Google has increased the weight of related keywords to a search query. In the old days, when a search for a specific keyword is done in Google, only the specific instances of that keyword would count towards a website’s ranking in the search results. This brought along ideals such as keyword density percentages, where on the page the keywords appear, and what type of page elements they appeared in. It seems the way marketers approach search engine optimization is changing.
The weight on keyword density is the first obvious element that looses value when you talk about latent semantic indexing. If you stick to just one keyword and aim for a specific keyword density like you used to do in the old days, then chances are you won’t get the same results you used to. This is because the weight of related keywords on a page has increased, and this affects the ranking for all the related keywords on the page. It may seem confusing at first, but it is a heroic effort to clean up the search results and return more relevant pages for the search query.
To better understand what is happening here, lets say you are looking for shoes. You go to Google and type in the word “running shoes” and start clicking on results. In the old days, you could get more articles and pages that focus on the words “running” and “shoes” but you wouldn’t see many results for jogging shoes, tennis shoes, basketball shoes, or training shoes. The search results would heavily weigh the actual words “jogging” and “shoes” producing very limited results. When you consider related words to “jogging shoes” you open the door for pages to show up in the search results that have ” jogging shoes” in the content, as well as a lot of other types of shoes. The end result tends to be more end-user friendly since the results produce higher quality pages and better options for the query.
If you look at this from a marketing perspective, it make your job a little more difficult if you have been simply cramming keywords into pages to get rankings. Now the proverbial tables have turned, and the search engines are forcing websites to not only include the keyword they are trying to rank for, but to include content around related keywords as well. You can’t just use a thesaurus either and try to manipulate the results, because one of the factors of latent semantic indexing is how closely related the keywords are in the context of the search query.
So what does all this mean? It means that quality content is king. Not just content anymore. If you want to have a successful marketing campaign for your website, you have to throw out the old keyword density tool and start looking at the related keywords. You can find latently related keywords in Google by putting the “~” symbol in front of your desired keyword. Google will highlight the latently related keywords so you can know which ones to use. But be careful and don’t fall into a numbers game again. Write good content and the search engines will reward your efforts.
Search engine optimization has changed, but those of us who have been focused on quality content from the start should actually see an increase in search results rankings. It is always best to stay ahead of the curve when you are talking about search engine marketing. Remember, a few things will always be true when it comes to the search engines: quality content written around multiple keywords is best, varying anchor text for incoming links is best, links form authority sites are best, and the more you contribute to the web, the more you will get back. It really is better to give than to receive.