Semalt: Are Keywords In SEO Dead?


Table Of Contents

  1. What Are Keywords?
  2. What's Behind The "Death Of Keywords In SEO" Thought?
  3. Are Keywords In SEO Dead?
  4. How To Find The Right SEO Keywords?
  5. Where To Place Keywords For SEO Gains?
  6. Final Words
We all know that Google and other search engines do a lot to enhance user experiences. Whenever changes are made, or better say, search algorithms are improved, experts start discussing different SEO components.

One of the most discussed SEO (Search Engine Optimization) components in recent years is keywords. Nowadays, users are getting highly accurate results for their search queries.

Many believe it is because search engines do not depend on keywords anymore. Does it mean keywords in SEO are dead?

Right now, you may also have the same question in mind. Let's find and understand the answer together.

What Are Keywords?

Keywords, also known as SEO keywords, are the words and phrases included in web content to help people discover web pages or websites via search engines.

People use them while searching on Google or other search engines to get relevant information about a product, service, or brand.



Keywords are usually discovered via the keyword research process and finalized according to commercial intent, search volume, and competition. Keywords researched this way act as a channel to connect websites and web pages with the target audience.

What's Behind The "Death Of Keywords In SEO" Thought?

Keywords in SEO are dead - This phrase has become common in the SEO world. Several SEO-related developments in the last few years are responsible not only for this phrase but also for confusing and convincing people that keywords in SEO are dead.

We, at Semalt, have found some reasons behind this phrase. Here are they:

• Keywords Dropped By Analytics Platforms

If you remember, analytics platforms were once the easiest and primary sources to discover organic keywords. But things began to change in 2010 when Google started removing keyword data from its analytics platform - Google Analytics.

When these analytics platforms stripped the visibility of organic keywords, many people didn't delay commenting that keywords in SEO are dead.

• Increased Use Of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The role of AI to enhance the search process and drive search engine rankings has increased significantly in the past decade. Starting from the Hummingbird update of 2013 to the BERT update of 2019, Google made efforts to understand the search intent and deliver according to users' requirements.

In 2015, Google also incorporated RankBrain, an AI-driven ranking factor, into its system. It significantly enhanced search query interpretation and user experience.

The increased use of AI decreased the dependency on exact keywords and enhanced interpretation of search queries. All such developments led many people to speak that keywords in SEO are dead.

• The Birth And Rise Of Voice Search

The birth and rise of voice search changed the way people search over the internet. Keywords lost their value because queries typed are usually different from queries spoken.

While typing, we often input search-friendly queries. But when it comes to voice search, we query more precisely.

Suppose that you want to know about the first President of the United States. You'd usually type "US Presidents" in the search box of your web browser. But in the case of voice search, you'd directly ask Google - Who was the first President of the United States?

Seeing that search-friendly keywords are less significant during voice searches, some people voiced thoughts like keywords in SEO are dead.

Are Keywords In SEO Dead?



Many incidents and developments in the past led people to think that keywords in SEO are dead. However, none of such claims are correct.

Keywords were, and are, very much alive in SEO. But you can say that the former ways used by search engines to track and interpret them are dead.

Keywords in SEO are still important because they:
  • Help in identifying the needs of the target audience.
  • Let you come up with new ideas and create content beneficial for your audience.
  • Play a crucial role in helping people get the right content whenever required.
  • Let Google know that there are web pages matching search queries.
  • Help Google understand a webpage's content which eventually improves the webpage's rank in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
  • Support webpages to attract more qualified traffic and lower the bounce rate.
  • Lead to enhanced conversions.
Depending upon the requirement and use, there can be several other reasons to prove that keywords in SEO are vital.

How To Find The Right SEO Keywords?

After learning that the journey of keywords in SEO is still alive, you certainly want to know the best way to find the right SEO keywords.

When it comes to finding the keywords that can work for you, remember that it might take a few hours or few days to find them. It might also happen that you spend hundreds of dollars or zero dollars on keywords finding tools.

Here is the step-by-step process to identify the right keywords for your SEO needs:

1. Your first step shouldn't be about searching for keywords

It may sound weird but make sure you don't jump directly using keyword search tools and preparing spreadsheets. Instead, try to understand your target customers and their perspectives.

2. Brainstorm a little

After understanding your customers and their expectations, brainstorm a little. Prepare a list of words and phrases as per your customers' requirements and effectively describing your offerings.

3. Collect existing keyword data

If you already have a live website getting traffic, find out keywords that are helping it the most. Add those keywords also to your list for further evaluation. Here are some of the online tools to help you identify keywords already attracting traffic to your site:
  • Aherfs
  • SEMrush
  • Google Search Console
  • Semalt's Keywords in TOP

4. Use keywords tools to expand your list

Once you make a list containing potential and existing keywords, you must use the online keywords tool to expand that list. You can expand your list on your own by adding common modifiers and synonyms to it, but these tools help you get much more than this.

Here are some of the online keyword tools you can look forward to:

5. Categorize them in a sensible way

After taking the help of keyword tools to expand your list, you'll have a long list of keywords. Now is the time to categorize them sensibly so that everything becomes easily understandable to you or anyone else looking at them.

For example, you can categorize your list according to your target audience, product or service, topic, etc.


6. Map your keywords to the content

After categorization, the next you should do is select a few (1-4) primary keywords and map them to your content. Then, find the relevant semantic and long-tail keywords that support the primary ones. Make sure you map them as well to the content.

7. Repeat the whole process

After finding the right SEO keywords and implementing your keyword strategy, give Google some time to act. By now, you are aware of the whole process to find keywords, so repeat the process until you get the desired results.

Though these are some of the best steps to find keywords beneficial for you and your brand / product / service, Semalt experts are always there to help you in the best possible way.

Where To Place Keywords For SEO Gains?

Knowing about the simplest way to find SEO keywords is not enough to get proper recognition and organic traffic from search engines. You must also know where to place them on your webpage.

Make sure not to leave these areas on a webpage without keywords:
  • Static Content: Nowadays, keywords in dynamic content are easily crawlable by search engines. Make sure you place them in static content as well.
  • URLs: URLs of web pages don't change frequently and often describe the content of a page. Google also expects your primary keyword to be a part of the URL.
  • Meta Description: Keywords in meta description make it attention-grabbing, increase CTR and improve search engine rankings.
  • Title Tags: Using keywords in title tags make a webpage eligible to rank higher on SERPs and gives the audience a reason to visit that page.
  • Anchor Text: When keywords are incorporated into anchor texts, it becomes easy for Google to understand your page's content. It, eventually, helps in improving the ranking.
  • Alt Tags: Alt tags help visually impaired people and allow search engines to notice a webpage's images. It is always advantageous when keywords are incorporated into them.
  • Visible Content: The more you help Google understand your page's content, the better will be your rankings. That's why keywords should be incorporated into headings, bold phrases, early body paragraphs, etc.
  • Media Name: It's advantageous when you use keywords to describe media (images and videos).
Depending upon your website, objectives, and target audience, there can be many more places where you can add keywords and get several benefits. For implicating an SEO strategy precisely, we suggest getting in touch with Semalt's SEO experts.

Final Words

Keywords in SEO are not dead, and we are not seeing such a time coming soon. Because of Google's progress in understanding content precisely, some people believe that keywords are no longer valuable. However, the truth is that keywords were, and are, always vital in SEO.    

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