Editor’s Note: This post is one of Convince & Convert’s Top 10 Posts of 2015.
With every passing year, SEO moves further away from the realm of clear and simple guidelines to the world of blurry indicators and stringent punishments for perceived transgressions.
Once upon a time, SEO was synonymous with zeroing in on the right keywords and going crazy with a million iterations and use cases for these keywords all over your site. If you stuffed your site, its meta data, and HTML tags with enough keywords, it was enough to win the battle against Google. It was simple to do and easy to understand, albeit not the most ethical of practices.
Today, that A = B correlation between keywords and search rankings has been diluted to an unrecognizable degree (highlight to tweet).
A whole host of other factors have sprung up to dethrone keywords from their venerable position at the helm of SEO for years. These include social signals, user reviews, editorial links, local SEO-like citations, and a ton more.
Nevertheless, this gradual shift away from keywords does not mean keyword optimization is dead and gone. It just means it has morphed into a new avatar, to be utilized in the right manner given the right circumstances.
Location Is Everything
A decade ago, the most common place for keywords to make their presence felt was in the body copy or content of a webpage. The levels of keyword stuffing that went on in the name of better search rankings gave SEO such a bad rap that it took years to shake it off. My bet is that it probably contributed to the Panda update, which attacked sites that created reams and reams of worthless content …
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