Search Magnifying GlassFor the last twenty years, numerous SEO companies and internet advertisers have depended on keywords as being a guiding light for search engine indexers and site crawlers. A tactic commonly used by ethical and unethical online marketing agencies alike, heavily emphasized keyword implementation was so pervasive throughout the web development community that almost everyone has come to rely on it. Of course, this all started to change with the arrival of Google’s Panda updates as well as the recent release of Penguin. Now, webmasters are looking for ways to remain relevant to Google and other search engines while revising their own operations.

Smart Keyword Use: Only When Necessary

As Google made clear in its original announcement of Penguin, high-quality content is at the top of the company’s desired SERP content. The implications of this demand for engaging webpages is many, but in this case we’ll focus on the greatly reduced effect of what is known as “keyword stuffing.” This practice describes the rather unscrupulous behavior of repeatedly using key phrases and terms in order to game a search engine and artificially strengthen their relevance to the page or site in question. In the past, too many marketing agencies would repeatedly stuff their clients’ online properties with keywords, but these days search engines have become smart enough to know the difference between spam and good content.

As a result of this, everyone needs to get on the same page (pun not intended) as Google and emphasize the importance of interesting and unique content over questionable optimization methods. Although the world’s biggest search engine still uses keywords to categorize and archive pages, the repetition of a key term throughout a page means that Google’s search algorithm now regards it as having a low value. As a result, business owners and webmasters should use focused keywords only as needed.

Keyword Limitations Lead to Quality Content

While being forced to use a keyword conservatively may sound like a hassle, the fact is that it actually yields a number of benefits. For one thing, putting a limit on one’s keyword use leads to content that is fresher and also more interesting to read. Content writers should also use the situation to explore more interesting and more varied topics. For example, a keyword such as “car engines” may be the focus of a page, but that doesn’t mean that the content needs to be all about that term. Instead, users can choose to focus on the way engines work in classic automobiles versus top-of-the-line racing cars or other topics.

Even though the new obstacles set forth by the Google Penguin and Panda updates may be a thorn in some SEO developers’ sides, it’s really just another way to motivate website and blog owners to create content that users will read and maybe even share. For further advice regarding how to use keywords in this post-Penguin world, I can be contacted at jwersits@webimax.com.