When learning about keywords it is always useful to bear in mind how SEO has changed in recent years. In answering the question ‘are keywords still important for SEO?’ let me answer it by saying this.
Not long ago, we heard a great deal about things called ‘meta keywords‘. These used to be important, but now they are not. The main considerations now are relevant content and what we call ‘focus keywords’ – and quality inbound links.
What are focus keywords?
I am sitting here with my good friend and sometime client Mike Taylor, MD of Herts-based absence management software company MTIS. I’ve been showing him a very useful WordPress plugin called Yoast – a traffic-lights themed tool that helps ensure that you get all the SEO basics in place for each page.
When we’re working in Yoast, the first thing we do is pick a key phrase which encapsulates what the page is about. Mike and I have done a bit of keyword research and determined that ‘absence management software’ is a good focus phrase for his home page.
Getting the green light
Yoast is being quite strict with us here, driving us to put this focus phrase into the page heading, the page copy and the SEO title, as well as the ‘slug’ (part-of-the-page-url). If we miss any of these, as well as other things like internal links and image titles, we get a red light.
The aim of the exercise is to get a complete set of green lights.
Being realistic, getting everything lit green is not always possible or desirable – after all, we want our post to sound natural and not robotic. As long as we have most things covered, we will get an overall green light at the top of our page.
So now we’re underway with SEO for Mike’s site. We’ve addressed the question ‘are keywords still important for SEO’ by answering in the affirmative. Yes they are, but it’s ‘focus keywords’ that are important, not meta keywords.
There’s lots of work yet to do on Mike’s site but we’re heading in the right direction. We have lots of possibilities for inbound links and lots of ideas for relevant content on the site. And Mike’s found the session enjoyable. Or I think he has. I’ll ask him.
Mike, have you found the session enjoyable? Say a few words to our audience. Mike says: “It has been an invigorating experience.”
Fair enough, Mike. You’ve now earned another plug for your business. So let me just say this: the MTIS product Holiday Scheduler is a wonderfully simple way to keep constant control of employee absences. It’s Excel-based and it’s a breeze to use. If you’re an employer, check it out!