There’s been a lot of discussion over the years over the importance of keywords in today’s advanced Google algorithm. Are keywords dead? Does Google even use them anymore?

Keywords are more important now than ever, but it’s not good enough to have a keyword list, you need to phrase and use those keywords effectively in your website copy and blogs. Google’s algorithm is advanced and takes this into account.

If you want to learn how to phrase keywords properly in your copy, then we’ve put together a guide that helps you utilize your keywords to their best benefit. You’ll see your website rankings soar in no time.

How Does Google Use Keywords?

Search engine optimization is any effort a website makes to improve its rankings in search engines. Google has the lion’s share of the search traffic, dwarfing other engines like Bing and Yahoo. This is because they provide searchers with the best results.

When searchers put in a query, Google bots scour the Internet websites looking for the best ones to place at the top of the rankings. The algorithm has more than 100 factors for ranking, but we know keywords are one of the top factors.

Keywords that match or nearly match the search query provide Google with a start to the ranking process. Without those keywords, the bots have no way of knowing if your site properly connects with the search query.

Once they have your site connected to the query, it can examine the other factors and determine if your website deserves to be at the top of the search results page.

Do You Need Exact Match Phrasing?

There was a time when you could flood your website with keyword and you’d find yourself at the top of the search results. This keyword stuffing tactic worked during the infancy of the algorithm, but advances have made keyword stuffing not only ineffective but can negatively impact your SEO.

Back then, you could have many different variations of keyword phrases on a single web page. Today, the number of keywords should be limited on the page, so how important is the exact phrasing?

While having the exact phrasing of the search query on your page is ideal, it isn’t always possible. Google’s algorithm can distinguish between keyword phrase variations and choose ones that are like the primary search query.

This means you don’t need to have the exact keyword phrase in your copy. Google can tell if there are similar keywords in it. They don’t even have to be together.

This doesn’t mean exact phrasing isn’t advantageous. It still provides Google with a clear picture, but when creating copy, you can’t have a million variations of the same keyword phrase, so Google made it easier to rank without having it.

How to Phrase Keywords in Web Copy

With the rise of mobile over the past decade, the proper phrasing of keywords has changed and expanded. Google wants your site to have expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, so the copy containing the keywords matters just as much as the keywords themselves.

Many times, when people search for something online, they’re trying to answer a question. How to build a birdhouse? Why does my car make a whining noise?

Articles that contain these questions and answer those questions tend to rank well in Google. If you have a blog post title that matches the question exactly, then perfect.

We discussed earlier about no longer needing to have an exact phrase of the keyword to rank well. There was a time when people tried to put exact phrase keywords into copy, and it was often awkward. Today, that will lower your rank.

Instead, Google wants keywords to feel natural in the copy. The goal is to make the keyword seem as if the placement was just a part of writing the copy.

Keyword Phrasing Backed by Data

Choosing the proper keyword phrase isn’t a matter of picking the one that you believe is the best. You need to choose the phrasing based on data.

Long-tail keywords tend to have lower keyword competition than more general keywords, but they also have a lower search volume. You want to pick phrases that have the best competition and volume for your copy.

If the phrase’s search volume is too low, then it won’t generate enough qualified traffic to impact your sales. Instead, you want something with a lower competition so you can’t rank for it and with enough keyword search volume to positively impact your site.

You also don’t want to use the same keyword phrases for each page or blog post. Add new keywords and keyword phrases so your pages rank for a variety of them. If you use the same keyword phrase on several pages, then you end up competing against yourself.

Changing Phrasing for Local Search

Local search are tactics used by businesses that have a geographic area for business. 

This changes keyword phrasing a little because you’re now using general keywords plus geographic information. For example, instead of using buying a car, you’d now use buying a car in Nashville.

The search queries contain geographic components, so your on-page keywords need them as well. You can use this for cities, counties and even neighborhoods. Any modifier that a person can add to a general keyword for localization can be used by your website.

Small businesses that serve a specific area don’t usually consider search engine optimization, but in today’s digital business climate even mom and pop stores need that competitive edge. You can get that edge by using geographical phrasing in your web copy.

Keywords Are Still Important

How to phrase keywords in your web copy requires time and analysis, but once it’s done it can greatly impact your SEO and website rankings. Google hasn’t abandoned keywords and neither should you.

If you want to learn more about keywords and digital marketing, then please explore our site.