SEO 201: Beyond Keywords

Congratulations! You have taken the time to identify some top keywords and are using them in your business’s web content. Unfortunately, keywords are only Step 1 to understanding high quality SEO. Step 2 is all about going further into natural language.

It used to be that all you needed for a great ranking on Google was the right combination of keywords. Search algorithms paid attention to how often a web-seeker’s the character-for-character search terms showed up on your website. The more check marks you got the better you ranked.

But in recent years, keywords haven’t been doing so well. Their importance in search engine results have been declining as the algorithms become more complicated. The experts behind Google and other search engines are always trying to improve their results. Lately that has meant developing better “natural language software.” That software scans your entire webpage, searching for keywords, their synonyms, commonly related terms, and other associations.

That means it is no longer enough for you to have the right keyword. Instead of putting all your money on one phrase, diversify your portfolio.

For example, let’s say you are an auto accident attorney. If you are writing about your recent PIP First Party victory, it used to be enough to feature the phrase “auto accident” throughout your article. With this more advanced software, though, you will score higher on Google search results if “auto accident” shows up close to “car crash” and “injury” and “auto insurance” are mentioned too.

So how do you know what to include? Think of Google as a room full of your different clients – some are sophisticated, others uneducated, some familiar with your topic, others are brand new. If you were doing a presentation to that room, how would you explain what you do?

You would do a lot of explaining. You would use legal terms for those who are familiar with them and would understand the nuances, but you would also break those terms down for the less initiated in the room. You would give examples and describe the topic as much as possible. And in doing so, you would end up using a lot of related keywords.

That’s the beauty of Google’s more sophisticated search engine. It allows you to throw out that strict, sometimes awkward keyword list and just write naturally. By explaining your topic in language anyone can understand you will simultaneously be strengthening your SEO.

Does that mean you should scrap your keyword research? Of course not. You will still want to go back and make sure you didn’t somehow forget to mention “auto accident.” But it isn’t all about choosing the right, most popular keyword anymore. Instead what is important is that what you write is relevant to that key word.

If you want to set yourself apart from your competitors who are still mastering SEO 101, go beyond the keyword. By writing to the more complex search algorithms – and most importantly to your readers – you will rise up the rankings and your writing will be more enjoyable to your readers.

Author Lisa Schmidt

Lisa J. Schmidt is a ghost-blogger for Legal Linguist, located in Ferndale, Michigan. She can provide high-quality web content on a weekly basis to keep your website relevant, and up to date. If you are ready for your website to graduate past the keyword, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.

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