For as long as I've been learning about optimizing content, I’ve been told that having the right keywords embedded into my content would give me successful results.
However, Google continuously has to meet our growing expectations. It’s no longer sufficient to receive a generic result from a generic search. We use Google on the go, when we don’t have the time to search for specific content but need answers right away. Naturally, the Google algorithm updates regularly to keep up with the high expectations of its customers.
Google’s Use of Artificial Intelligence
Google has begun using Artificial Intelligence in order to better suit the needs of customers. Not only does it help users, working as their digital personal assistant, Google also believes that it will transform the way we live our lives, providing new solutions to old problems.
If a group of people were to enter the exact same words into the Google search engine, they would all receive a different results page. Google takes into consideration the individual's search history, the device they’re using, their location and whether they’re stationary or on the go. Every user is unique.
Google’s Recent Algorithm Changes
A Google spokesperson confirmed to Search Engine Journal recently, that minor changes were made to the algorithm.
Google now prioritizes topics over keyword usage. Lately, it has been commonly noted that previously high-ranking pages were being overshadowed by articles about the same topic.
In order to be seen in search results, content must include high-priority topics. The perfect piece of content would be a compilation of the most useful topics for your audience. These topics can be determined by doing a search and observing which topics the top ranked search results are discussing. If there is a topic that comes up frequently, it probably has high-priority.
Are Keywords Still Important?
I would argue that keywords are still very relevant. They are just used differently than they were a few years ago. Rather than using them as a measurable tool, it may be better to use them as a tool to set you in the right direction.
Regardless of a lack of keyword data, keywords let Google know what your content is about. They are just not the only way that people are finding your content.
Always remember, you are creating content for an audience. What does your audience prioritize? Keep them in mind and make your content relevant to them.