Do Keywords Still Matter in 2017?

Do Keywords Still Matter in 2017?

Do keywords still matter

There’s a crazy rumor going around that we thought we would address today: keywords aren’t important anymore.

The school of thought is that because the search engines are so advanced, they can determine the user’s intent from the search alone. There’s no need to do keyword research or make an intentional effort on adding them to content. Some people even believe that using keywords is an old, outdated practice that borders the lines of black hat SEO.

So where do we stand today? Are keywords really not important anymore, or do they still have a place in the content creation world? And if so, how do you know that you’re following the best practices for keyword usage in 2017?

We cover the answers to these questions in the sections below.

Yes, Keywords Matter

Long story short, keywords DO matter. They matter very much. Here’s why.

Keywords are words or phrases that people speak or type into the search box when they are looking for information. Search engines respond to this query with a list of links or short answers that are relevant to the keyword.

Of course, this is not new to you, as you probably do this dozens of times a day. Whether you’re asking about the weather, travel times, news articles or nearby pizza places, you’re entering keywords into the search box and receiving a list of related links.

Keywords are integral to online marketing. All marketers want their sites to show up on the first page of the search results because users tend to visit these sites most. Even if you don’t get a visit, users will see your brand name and get more comfortable with what you have to offer. The next time they see an ad for your product, they might be more willing to click on it.

Performing Keyword Research

To support achieving a higher “rank” in the search results, you must do keyword research. This research tells you what types of words and phrases your audience is searching for, and then you can build campaigns, SEO strategies and marketing materials around them.

If you don’t research the keywords your audience is using, what are you going to build your campaigns around? How do you know which words and phrases to include in your content, blog posts or advertisements? Keywords are a form of market research and should be used to bolster your advertising efforts.

Paid vs Organic Search

There is a difference between paid and organic traffic, and you need a mix of both if you want to show up in the search results. Organic keywords are cost effective and offer long term results, but they take time. Paid keywords, on the other hand, are more expensive, but they show results in as little as one day. To use paid and organic search effectively, you must know when to use each one.

Let’s say that you’re launching a new product and want to boost sales over the weekend. Because it will take you some time to increase organic traffic for this new product, a paid advertisement would be ideal. As your customer base grows, you increase organic traffic for the product and can taper off the paid ads.

Understanding the Potential for Keywords

It is true that today’s search engines are much smarter and more intuitive than they used to be. They aren’t quite as literal anymore, and they do understand searcher intent. However, search engines still work to understand the user’s intent, and therefore, can use a bit of direction. Keywords help with this and drive highly targeted traffic to your site.

In the end, the best approach is to write naturally and to your buyer personas, but do not ignore keywords completely. They should still be added to your content because:

  • The search engines look for the best. Google, Yahoo and Bing are products and want to do their job well so more people use them. That’s why their purpose is to give users the best answers to their questions. View other listings as competition that you are competing with.
  • Track your results. The nice thing about using keywords is that you can track their effectiveness. Which keywords are driving the most traffic to your content? Which ones aren’t? Use this information to allocate your budget accordingly.
  • Increase your competitiveness. Competition is extremely high on the internet. Many searches turn up millions of results! Using the right keywords improves the visibility of your business so that you end up on page one – not a million.


The use of keywords has changed over the years, but keywords remain very important. Search engines have the job of returning the best information to its users, so show them that your content fits the bill. By adding in the right keywords, you can also target niche audiences and track your efforts.

If you have additional questions about keywords and how they can help your business be more competitive, call WSI Net Advantage at 510-687-9737 or fill out our contact form. We’d love to chat keywords with you!


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