Let’s say you need a cleaning service for your private ESL school. What do you do? Do you get the phone book in action?
Of course not!
Whatever you need, you Google it. You’ll use a keyword (in this case, you’ll focus on a particular location), and you’ll check the results. First of all, you’ll see several websites being listed in the results. Will you dig deep and go through several pages? No; you’ll probably focus on the first page. In fact, people rarely go beyond the first three results on the list.
A comparison of Google click-through rates by position shows that the first position gets over 30% of clicks. The rate rapidly falls to 10% for the result in the third position. In the lower positions (9 and 10), however, the clickthrough rate is only 2%.
So when you approach Google from the position of a customer, you want to get the best and you assume that Google gives you the best. We all trust Google, simply because the search engine is great at delivering the information we need. If any results from Yelp or Amazon show up, we’ll check those, too.
It’s All about Keywords
It all comes down to a simple conclusion: the ranking is extremely important.
When you approach Google from the position of a business, you care about those rankings. You want more people on your website. And you’ll achieve that through a search engine optimization strategy. You’ll choose specific keywords and you’ll make great efforts to rank high when people search for those keywords.
You might even consider hiring SEO services, but in most cases, marketing experts and business owners are fully engaged in the process. Being engaged means you’re constantly getting updated on the trends. Keyword rankings are not a definite category. They change under the influence of the campaigns of other brands, but also due to Google algorithm changes.
So What’s New about Keyword Rankings?
1. It’s the Age of Semantic Search
At the beginning of online searches, people were focused on keywords. If they were looking for a cheap essay writing service in the UK, professional essay writers, paper writing service in Australia or hire a writer, for example, that’s exactly what they would type in Google: cheap essay writing service in UK or professional essay writers, hire a writer, or custom essay papers, etc. They would come across keyword-rich content that not always delivered the solutions they need. But Google made fast progress. The search engine focused on delivering high-quality content, and that’s exactly why the phrase “content is king” became the fundamental principle of SEO.
With the Hummingbird algorithm update from 2013, we saw the rise of semantic search. It wasn’t a temporary trend; it was the direction in which Google intended to grow.
What did this mean for content developers?
- They couldn’t just stuff content with keywords and hope to rank. They had to deliver meaningful content. Google would no longer rank the writing service that contained the highest number of keywords at its website; it would rank the best website in terms of content quality.
- This doesn’t mean that keywords became obsolete. They are still important. Since Hummingbird, however, they must fit into the meaning. Not content, but context is king!
- Since Hummingbird, Google started taking not just the keywords, but the entire query into account. It considers factors such as the user’s search history, patterns, and more. In addition, it pays attention to location, time, and device type.
2. Technical SEO Still Matters
Though, you cannot guess someone’s search history and usage patterns so that you could affect the results. You can only keep doing what you’ve been doing: use keywords, but you have to give them a lot of meaning.
Technical SEO, however, is still very important.
- The structure of your website is a huge factor. It should be neatly organized in sections, so the crawler will quickly find content and will figure out how the content at your website is connected. The most effective way to achieve such a result is to put schema markup on your website.
- The meta title and descriptions are among the first things the search engine crawls on your pages. So if you write clear and focused meta tags that contain keywords, you help Google to identify the context of your pages.
3. User Intent Is a Huge Thing
As we said, Google is not only focused on the keywords typed in the search bar when delivering results. It wants to identify the intention of the user. Are they looking for solutions, information, or services/products?
When you develop your content, you should be optimizing for user intent. Writing services, for example, will optimize for the user’s intent to buy papers or get writing tips. Google will recognize such intent and will deliver pages that meet it.
Checking Keyword Rankings – Should You Even Do That?
Needless to say, you’re not ranking for the sake of ranking. You’re trying to rank for the sake of getting visitors, leads, and conversions. So why should you even bother about the way your content ranks?
Shouldn’t you just focus on measuring leads and conversions?
Although focusing on leads and conversions would be the logical thing to do, marketing experts still conduct keyword research and develop SEO strategies. Do you know why? – Because it matters. How are you going to get those leads and conversions if you don’t rank well on Google? Now that’s what true logic is about.
Here’s just a reminder: the first result still gets over 30% of the clicks. The ones at the bottom of the first page get only 2% of the traffic. The remaining pages? Who cares about them, anyway? People don’t have time to click through dozens of pages just to get the information they need. They want it right away, and Google is very effective at delivering it from the very first attempt.
So how do you check these rankings after being really focused on SEO?
It’s simple: you just use a tool for that. There are paid and free tools you could use. However, keep in mind that if you want the tool to show you real results and detail about your ranking, you’ll probably end up with paid software.
Want some suggestions from me? I’d suggest you this one: RankWatch
RankWatch is a cloud-based Internet Marketing Platform, which has Artificial Intelligence of its own. It helps Website Owners and SEO Agencies alike to pinpoint the key areas where a website is losing traffic and areas where it can gain traffic by tracking areas such as Rankings, Backlinks, Analytics, Competitors, etc. and then analyzing and providing them Intelligent, actionable Data to work with, which in turn increases revenue.
This is one of the most commonly used keyword rank checkers. It shows you the top 250 search results, plus other info that helps you get into details. You can conduct multiple searches and download the results in a single document.
And it has free tools as well. That’s awesome!
But if you are ready for more features to analyze keywords you can choose yours from the list of different packages on its website or customize one to suit your own requirements.
The search engine algorithm has changed. The importance of keywords, however, remains valid. Yes; we’re changing the way we use them. Keywords have to be included in high-quality content. Most of all, you’re focused on meaning because that’s what the search engines are after.
The important thing to keep in mind is that keywords are still important. Search engine optimization is still a priority for brands that need an online presence.
We all need to stay updated with the trends and keep checking the way our projects rank.