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Understanding the Relationship between Keywords and Webpages and Importance for SEO Success.

Relationship between keywords and webpages word cloud analogy in seo

If you’re an SEO, online marketer, website developer, business website owner, or anything in between, you must have heard about keywords so much that it seems the only thing SEO is about. Over the years, keywords have played a crucial role in SEO and are critical to page optimization. While a lot is often said about keywords, it can still be challenging to understand how they relate to web pages and why understanding their relationship is essential.

Keywords are important to search engines and searchers because they make it easier for crawlers and readers to understand the content of a page. For search engines, keywords help crawlers assess the relevancy of a web page to a searcher’s intent. For humans, seeing specific keywords on a web page reassures them of the page’s relevance to their intent.

Many people understand the importance of keywords, but a few understand the keyword-webpage relationship. This lack of understanding is why many SEOs, content writers, website developers, and business website owners struggle with web page optimization. It’s also why ‘keyword stuffing’ has been an industry menace for many years.

How Far Have We Moved Away from Keyword Stuffing?

Simply put, keyword stuffing is when you repeatedly use the exact keywords in your content in an unnatural, easy-to-notice, and off-putting way. It’s considered spammy and involves these keywords loaded in the page’s meta tags, the body of content, backlink anchor, etc., to gain an unfair rank advantage in search engines. 

In keyword stuffing scenarios, the keywords are often used irrelevantly in a way that adds no value to the content.

Keyword stuffing was sufficient during the early days when search engines relied on simpler methods and algorithms to find ‘relevant’ content.

Things have changed. 

Search engines are much smarter and can now detect and penalize website content with keyword stuffing. 

Google’s Panda update affected pages with low-quality, keyword-stuffed content, marking a significant move away from the keyword-stuffing era. With each algorithm update, search engines move further away in favor of much more naturally written content.

If you’ve been wondering why your website has not been doing well despite how often you post, you must conduct a content review to assess how deep-rooted your website is in keyword stuffing.

Keyword Density; Does it Still Matter?

After the keyword-stuffing era, many SEOs introduced the term ‘keyword density’ and highlighted how it determines the ranking strength of a piece of content. 

Keyword density is the number of times a keyword should appear on a web page compared to the total number of words on the page. It’s approximately 1-2 keywords for every 100 words of copy. That’s about 1-2% keyword density.

It’s essential to understand keyword density and how it can help writers and website owners to optimize their pages. However, it’s more important to know that using keywords naturally should be prioritized over trying to meet a specific keyword density.

The more you stuff a web page with keywords to meet a density, the more you backslide into keyword stuffing, which increases the chances of getting penalized by search engines.

… and yes, your content can meet keyword density guidelines while being keyword-stuffed.

According to Hubspot, ‘There are no hard and fast rules for keyword density beyond always-relevant “don’t keyword stuff’ advice. Search engines are advanced enough to know when you’re pumping up the number of keywords to meet a specific keyword density.

LSI Keywords and The Word Cloud Analogy

From everything you’ve read, it sounds like search engine optimization is complex and more challenging for content writers and website owners.

But it’s not. 

It has rather become much easier to optimize web pages without sounding or feeling like a robot. Understanding the relationship between keywords and web pages is critical to search engine ranking success. 

Here’s what should be top-of-mind when optimizing content or web pages for search engines.

The word cloud analogy

Search engines view web pages as word clouds.

Take, for instance, the image below; anyone can figure out that this place is a gym even without mentioning the word ‘gym’ in the word cloud.

The more specific keywords and their semantics appear on a page, the more search engines understand the central theme of the page and rank the page according to relevancy to the searched keyword.

Like every word cloud, the page’s theme can be summarized into a single primary keyword.

This keyword often represents the primary search intent and is related to every keyword variation the searcher might use while searching for information.

How you reverse engineer this search intent determines how well you’ll develop the right word cloud and get higher ranks on SERPs.

Understand the searcher’s intent, summarize it into one primary keyword, adopt relevant secondary keywords based on the semantic relationship with the central theme/keyword, and develop your content to meet the intent.

Your primary keyword is meant to serve as a compass guiding your writing and optimization to ensure your text stays in line with the searcher’s intent. It’s not a keyword that must be repeated several times to meet a keyword density.

As search engines continue to advance beyond keyword stuffing and robotic keyword density adoption, it becomes crucial for writers, SEOs, developers, and website owners to understand the semantic relationship between keywords and how they can adopt the word cloud analogy to optimize their pages for SEO success.

How to Use Keywords Strategically and Generate the Right Word Clouds for Your Webpages

Write Naturally

When you write content naturally, you’ll effortlessly include your primary keyword and its semantics. Search engines are getting more advanced in natural language processing and can better comprehend and interpret human language. 

Keyword stuffing and editing your content to have the ‘right’ keyword density no longer works for SEO.

When the content eventually ranks high and drives organic traffic, it’s easier for site visitors to read and gain value from the content, thus increasing your chances of conversion.

Use your Primary Keyword in Strategic Places

To effectively communicate what a page is about, you should use the primary keyword (or a closely related variant) in strategic places. Use these keywords in the page URL, title, headers, alt text, and meta description.

The rule of thumb is;

  • If it’s natural for the primary keyword to be used in a strategic place, use it.
  • If not natural, consider using a closely related variant (for semantics).
  • Don’t force in a keyword if it doesn’t feel naturally placed.

Use LSI Keywords Strategically

LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are conceptually related keywords that search engines use to understand a webpage’s content.

Instead of repeating the same keyword to meet a certain number of keyword placements, consider using the secondary keywords and other related keywords that help to communicate the message of the page. Synonyms and long tail keywords are crucial here and help to reinforce the primary keyword by giving a robust word cloud around searchers’ primary intent.

Besides reinforcing the primary keyword on SERPs, using semantic keywords increases the chances of the webpage ranking for thousands of other keywords. You never know the keywords the searcher will use when seeking information.

Ignore Keyword Density While Writing

Search engines have evolved. Now, it’s even possible for a webpage to rank high for a keyword that was sparingly mentioned or even not mentioned in the content. Instead of focusing on keyword density and writing to rank, write high-quality content that provides value to readers.

Understanding the Relationship between Keywords and Webpages improves your SEO Results

Many content writers, marketers, and website owners struggle with optimizing their pages effectively because they don’t understand the relationship between the keywords and the pages and how search engines understand the pages. When you know their relationship and adopt the right SEO strategies, you’ll meet both search engine and readers’ expectations, and ranking, traffic generation, and conversion become a walk in the park.

Whenever optimizing a piece of content becomes complex, think of it like developing a word cloud that solves the searchers’ intent. Do this, and you’re future-proofing your website SEO one page at a time.

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