Feb 232013

“…keywords are still there…and relevant… we are just tired of being abused!”

keyword (Photo credit: Clearlytoomuch)

Many people (myself included) have written about the death of keywords, and have given as proof the video by Matt Cutts, the HMWIC of Google search, of him saying that Google no longer considered keywords in its search algorithm.  We have implied, some by not being clear (me again), and some out of ignorance, that bloggers should have been ignoring keywords since 2009 because they no longer impacted your sites rankings in Google.

Some posts here at HSI have implied that, and I want to make an, er…adjustment…to that implication:

Keywords are not as important as they were pre-2009…They are more important than ever!  Fortunately for bloggers is the fact that they are easier to use effectively than ever as well.  As a matter of fact, if use what is considered “normal” posting techniques, for example if you use categories and tags, then half the work is already done for you.  The meta information for categories and tags is treated much like keywords used to be treated, so by properly categorizing your posts and using appropriate tags you have effectively begun to “keyword optimize” your posts.

More non-keyword keywords

Another way to “keyword” your posts without using the now ignored meta_keyword attribute is to make proper use of h1 and h2 tags.  This is especially easy if you are using WordPress, as titles of posts and pages are automatically assigned h1 tags.  Combine this with properly using a keyword or long tailed keyword string in your post title and you have “keyworded” your post again without using the meta_keyword attribute.

h2 tags are not applied automatically in WordPress, but can be using a plugin or, without adding to code bloat with a plugin, can be easily accomplished without knowing a bit of HTML  Yes, if you WANT to play with HTML and use the text editor you can use <h2></h2> tags on subtitles, but it is much easier to use the visual editor and select the Heading 2 option from the drop down box in the Visual Editor’s toolbar.

How to apply h1 and h2 tags in the WordPress visual editor

The HayleStorm Interactive mantra of “constantly create (quality) content” plays a huge part in effectively replacing the pre-2009 meta_keywords as well…and can play a part in your sites poor rankings if abused.

If your content, title, subtitle, categories, and tags are poorly written jumbles of scraped and stolen content, spun to 1.) try to make it look original and 2.) stuff them with what were formerly known as meta_keywords, and do little to create what Google calls a “quality user experience”, your site will suffer…as it should.

On the other hand, if you put a little thought, effort, and research into your posts, getting a good word “flow” and good readability, and give your readers at least some knowledge if not also some entertainment, THEN edit your title, subtitle, and tags, and categorize your post carefully and honestly, not trying to fool Google, both Google and your readers will keep coming back for more.

What about keywords in the header?

putting meta_keywords in the header was one of the single most confusing things for me about blogging, and WordPress, when I first started.  Everything I read told me I needed to put keywords in my header, and nothing told me how…just that I had to do it.

Within the WordPress basic installation settings there is no place to put your keywords, but there are plenty of plugins that will place them correctly.The most popular SEO plugin in the WordPress repository is All in One SEO Pack, and it has a field to enter a comma delimited (fancy way of saying comma separated) list of keywords, as will most SEO plugins (and ALL good SEO plugins).  Exactly where you can find the field will vary, but it will look something like this from my SEP plugin of choice, Greg’s High Performance SEO, another free plugin from the WordPress repository:


Header keywords insertion in Greg's High Performance SEO

The box above appears in the settings for Gregs High Performance SEO (and there is a similar one in almost all SEO plugins).  Don’t confuse it with the similar box and fillable field that is still on the Add Posts page for some plugins.  THAT is the box that can now be ignored.

So like the keyword told you at the start of this article, news of their death has been greatly exaggerated and they feel abused, so use them right, and Constantly Create (Quality) Content, and You’ll get lots of love on your site…frm Google AND your readers.

Bob Hayles

A Luddite at heart, Bob has adapted to being in a tech world adequately. The King of Cheap, he enjoys sharing his WordPress and inexpensive web video production skills with others. He abhors Geek-lish, but translates it into normal human language quite well. He avoids code as much as possible, and breaks out in hives at the mere sight of php, but he will make minor adjustments to HTML. He also reverts to being a Luddite at JuicyMaters.com and is something of a political junkie/blowhard at Common-Sense-Conversation.com.

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