Five keyword myths you need to forget right now

Why the fuss about keywords

Keywords are often misunderstood in SEO, so it’s time to debunk the most popular myths around them.

Laura Hogan, Head of Search in Ricemedia, focused on keyword myths in her presentation at Brighton SEO last week, and it was a useful reminder on all the misconceptions around keywords in the SEO industry.

Popular misconceptions about keywords

Myth 1: on-site exact match anchor text no longer works

Laura Hogan shared an example on how anchor text can still work, leading to an increased rank, even without link building.

In this particular case, there was 24% CTR from the specific anchor text, reminding us that we can still apply anchor text optimisation in our content.

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However, it’s easy for anchor text to look like spam for Google, so make sure you don’t try too hard with its optimisation.

Tip: think about keywords within your on-site content. Anchor text still works, don’t be scared to use it.

Myth 2: keyword research is a waste of time

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It’s never a waste of time to undertake keyword research when you’re trying to understand what people search for and how you can target them.

According to Brandwatch, there are 40k searches on Google every second, which makes it imperative to find what people search for and how you can approach them.

Which terms are they using and are you sure you don’t end up using jargon?

Make sure you avoid the common keyword research mistakes to save time and drive the right customers to your site.

Tipkeyword research is the foundation of your strategy. Explore how people search to increase the chances of reaching them.

Myth 3: only target high search volume keywords

Don’t aim at generic keywords, or too specific ones, but rather think of what people use to search and buy your products/services.

Think of the questions that lead customers to your site and focus on the keywords that will increase the conversion.

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Use your content, optimise your category and product pages to maximise the chances of displaying your site to your prospective customers.

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Tip: ranking for a number of low volume keywords may have more value than one high searched keyword.

Myth 4: meta descriptions have no value

A meta description is the short paragraph that describes your content in SERPs and it can influence a user’s decision on whether they should visit your site or not. It has to be descriptive, relevant and attractive.

As our attention span becomes shorter, it is more important to consider what appears in SERPs and how to optimise your meta description to increase the visitors that click through to your content.

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Tip: Continue to use meta descriptions as part of your strategy, there’s ranking value in them.

Myth 5: URLs don’t need keywords or a hierarchy

There are over 46 billion pages indexed in Google, which means there’s a lot of competition out there.

If you think that urls don’t need to be optimised, you might have to reconsider your strategy, as both users and search engines appreciate clear URLs.

A hierarchy allows you to organise your pages and explain their relationship and their importance, facilitating the ranking of them.

Think of your users, and imagine what they would think of this URL?

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Tip: stop using poor URLs. Friendly ones are better for the user, too.

Takeaways

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Laura Hogan summarised her presentation with the following tips regarding keywords:

  • Don’t be afraid to be creative and experiment with your keywords, until you find the ones that work best for you.
  • Use exact match for your anchor text in your onsite content and test its performance.
  • Don’t keep aiming for high search volume keywords if they don’t lead to the desired conversions.
  • Optimise your meta descriptions and add the right keywords to describe your content
  • Make your URLs user-friendly.

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