Fact or Fake: Keyword Myths Edition

Many people swear they know – absolutely know – the truth about keywords: they don’t matter. As for keyword density, you need to use a keyword 23 times. You don’t need to perform keyword research: your hunch will do.

And on and on and on.

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Well, just call us the Keyword Mythbusters because most “facts” given in search optimization advice often are…wrong. Myths abound. Fake “facts” everywhere.

Take a look below as we debunk some common keyword myths.

Keywords don’t matter.

Oh, this one makes us laugh.

We think this myth started “feeling” true because of Google’s long-ago (February 2011) Panda algorithm update. After this update, the search engine “punished” web pages that were stuffed with keywords and rewarded sites that provided well-written, informative, and useful content.

“Keyword stuffed” pages often made it to the top of Google search results prior to Panda and posts less “focused” (read: stuffed) on keywords (but filled with solid content) rose afterwards. We think that’s how the myth of “keywords don’t matter” began.

Keywords do matter. It’s just that search engines now put less emphasis on keywords in content than they do on the “intent or purpose of the keywords within the content.”

Bottom line? Yes, you still need to place keywords in your content that your prospects use to find the information they seek online.

You don’t need to perform keyword research.

This sure would save digital marketers a lot of time if it were true. But it’s not!

You want to be sure that the keywords you use make sense in regards to your content. In other words, you shouldn’t use keywords you think you need: you should fire up your keyword tools and do some research first to make sure your keywords are what your content needs.

For example, if your blog post is about learning how to become a digital marketer, you’d want to find the keywords marketing wannabees use. Do they use “how to become a digital marketer,” “digital marketer training,” and/or “digital marketing careers”? They may use them all. They may use one or two, but not all of them. You need to find this out.

In addition, if you’re wondering how to boost organic traffic, making sure the keywords match the intent of your content helps to improve your SEO rankings.

You need to use a keyword just once in a piece of content. No, wait! You need to use it many times.

Of all the keyword myths found in search engine optimization advice, this one refuses to die. Keyword density is a puzzle that never seems to be solved to a marketer’s satisfaction. It’s a nut we just can’t crack: no one’s been able to find the perfect ratio of keywords to content when it comes to generating optimum traffic.

You need a specific word count in your content.

“No one reads blogs anymore; we all prefer tweets. If you write blogs, they need to be no more than 350 words.” Or, “Actually, content that’s 1,800 words or so tends to rank a lot higher in search engines.”

Which is true? Neither! Turns out that length isn’t as important for search engine results as making sure the content…

  • Satisfies a searcher’s intent
  • Has backlinks that help you rank (longer articles tend to attract links from other sites) 
  • Is just long enough to be useful without fluff that dilutes the information.

Looking for accurate search optimization advice? Contact Jeff Hays, our director of client services, and schedule a longer chat about the truth about keyword myths. As always, feel free to contact us any time.