Quality Content Still Reigns
It’s over! The preoccupation with understanding and using keywords is no longer a battle for new and experienced content creators and Expert Authors.
Article writing and content creation for online users has undergone a major shift from the early days of keyword discovery and later aggressive keyword regulation. Many of us have collectively breathed a sigh of relief as the emphasis is back on quality content over keyword-riddled junk because search engines have improved their ability to connect a user’s conversational long-tail queries with quality and original content.
What does this mean for you?
You have an opportunity to shine.
Before we get into the “how to,” let’s take a quick step back in keyword history.
A (Tongue-in-Cheek) Brief History of Keyword Usage
Many content creators have wisely (and not so wisely) used keyword practices as a part of their content marketing strategy over the years. What began with good intentions to increase their ability to be searched by their target audiences soon became a hotbed of questionable black hat SEO tactics as content creators (knowingly and unknowingly) allowed themselves to be drawn in by poor “quick ‘n easy” promises. Let’s take a closer look:
- Keywords Discovered: “Hey, these keywords are neat and helped me show up on page one. I think I will use more of them.”
- Keyword Clouds: “I’ll place a widget ‘cloud’ of words on my page to help search engines understand what my page is all about. Look! I can even make the words spin and interact with users!”
- Keyword Glut: “I NEED MORE KEYWORDS! I’ll just stuff them here, there, everywhere and then I will rule the search – mwhahahahaha!”
- Keywords Spun: “Quantity is so much better than quality! I’ll write dozens of articles covering the same topic and alter the text ever so slightly. It’s not exactly identical, but it targets the same keywords at least.”
- Keywords Regulated: “STOP! This is the keyword police. Your content is under arrest. You are allowed one keyword or keyword phrase for every one hundred words. Failure to comply will result in suspension and de-indexing.”
- Keywords Evolved.
How Users, Publishers, and Search Engines Were Affected
Internet users hated the early days of keyword glut and spinning.
Search became a game of keyword roulette because poor quality would often outrank quality content, but what else could they do? Not use the Internet was out of the question, so they either accepted it as the way things were or they experimented with different search engines and social media.
Publishers disliked it too.
Targeting keywords over providing a good user experience and informative content cheapened the quality and value of the publisher’s platforms. As a result, publishers attempted to fend off spam by establishing keyword checkpoints that blocked poor quality content and rewarded good quality content. Unfortunately, this made it more difficult for Expert Authors to publish.
Search engines were in hot water.
Internet users “putting up” with poor quality content wasn’t acceptable, nor was allowing derivative, spun content driven by popular keywords to game the system. Search engines strived to provide a great user experience and found a way by improving semantic search and rewarding quality content. Their innovation has led to the evolution of keywords.
Current Affairs and the Long Tail
While keywords continue to have their place, the landscape has changed. Through the use of smarter synonym tools as well as the fine-tuning of co-occurrence contextual recognition tools, search engines are now more in tune with the needs of users and are better at understanding the relationships between indexed content, keywords, and user search queries.
For Expert Authors like yourself, this means you have the opportunity for your existing and future quality content to do well. This is especially true if you have strong brand, link, social, and user signals as well as target long-tail user queries, which are ranking higher than ever before because they emulate the practices of natural, conversational speech used by your audience.
The long tail depicts the frequency with which a topic occurs and its demand. Let’s take a closer look.
There are three main parts of the long-tail concept: the head, the middle, and the tail.
- Head: At the top of the curve, the Head targets a large audience with a high content saturation, demand, and competition (e.g., “Weight Loss”).
- Middle: Connecting the head and the tail, the Middle moderately targets an audience with an average content saturation, demand, and competition (e.g., “Weight Loss for Women” and “Weight Loss for Women Over 40”).
- Tail: The Tail targets a highly focused audience with content that’s in low supply, demand, and competition (e.g., “Weight Loss for Women Over 40: Top 7 Quick, Easy, and Painless Tips to Drop a Dress Size or More!)”.
By targeting your audience and creating content along the long tail, you will increase the likelihood of your articles being seen by readers.
Don’t Dump the Overall Concept of Keywords Entirely
Of course, you shouldn’t throw out good keyword strategies such as integrating great keywords into your titles naturally and writing articles contextually relevant to search queries based on user demand. Find balance. Provide rich, informative content that focuses on the reader both on and off your website. Create strong social signals by engaging with your audience on social media (via discussions, sharing, etc.). And finally, implement good keyword strategies that help (not hinder) your success.
Go on! Take this opportunity to shine by brainstorming long-tail article titles, allow your experience to come forth, and let the keywords take a break. Refocus on writing creative, engaging, informative content that really connects with readers.
Questions? Comments? Let us know – we’d love to hear from you!