How important will keywords be to SEO in 2022?


For years, the SEO community has been obsessed with keyword ranking as one of the many viable metrics to prove the value of SEO.

Ultimately, rankings matter, but only when they drive business value i.e. traffic, revenue, and conversions.

Google has gotten a lot smarter and better at understanding user intent, and algorithms now have better sense of context and meaning, so keywords should always connect with your content.

Are Keywords Still Important Today?

There is no short answer to this. If you are asking whether keywords in queries are essential in providing a list of files relevant to meeting an information need, then the answer is no.

But if you are asking if keywords are important to Google’s indexing and retrieval system, the answer is absolutely yes.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why Keywords Are Important In SEO

Keywords are the key phrases commonly used by consumers to find what they are looking for online. They use their browser’s search bar to enter terms, which are usually one or more words that describe what they want.


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There are many types of keywords, including:

  • Mark.
  • Without brand.
  • Local and global.
  • Brand + Geography.
  • Brand + Product, etc.

Here are four ways keywords continue to help brands.

1. Keyword help to indicate user intent

Keywords are directional. They give very good clues that “point” to the type of content the searcher is trying to retrieve.

But there is still a vocabulary problem between the indexing system and end users, who have many different ways of asking for the same or something similar.

This is why Google and other search engines have extremely advanced query extension technologies.

For example, an end user typing “aquarium” as a query may very well see the first result for a tropical fish aquarium, which may be more relevant and useful in satisfying the need for information than another page that does not. that the direct correspondence with the words “fish” + “tank” to qualify it.


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Also, the timestamps added to the keywords in the index for temporal analysis give a freshness hint to help detect trends, then there must be event detection for the news results. And more…

So, yes, the closer a user can bring the query to relevant content, the better.

However, users tend not to know what they are looking for (if they did, they wouldn’t need a search engine), so search engines need to be sophisticated with defining discovery and association.

2. Keywords help find striking distance opportunities

When I’m researching a lead, I always look at visibility to get an idea of ​​the keyword rankings in different areas like typing distance, development, etc.

For example, a previous customer was within typing distance for the search term “business consulting”.

I looked at the page to see why they weren’t ranking on the first page for their targeted keyword and noticed that the page did not incorporate all of the topics related to business consulting and they needed to expand. content to make it more holistic.

Once they expanded the content based on our recommendations, we created external links and got them on the front page for ‘business advice’ in three months.

See Python SEO Script: Top Keyword Opportunities Within Striking Distance for a simple script with step-by-step instructions to help make this process faster and easier.

3. Keywords help identify the right target audience

When we do a competitive analysis and look at the keyword visibility for a current prospect or customer versus the competitive set, we may discover a content gap.

We might find that they don’t have content to cover this topic, or that the content they have is not rated or optimized.

For example, I once had a financial client who wanted to classify for “children’s bank account”.

After looking at the visibility of the competitors, we noticed that the competitors were categorized for “teenage bank account” and my client did not have a “teen checking account” in their page title, headers, its content, etc. and therefore was not classified for the term.


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But children and adolescents are not synonymous.

Once we’ve developed the content for the “teenage bank account” instead and optimized it, tagged with a schema, built some content around it, created internal links, promoted the content, and so on. , conversion rates increased 13% year-on-year.

The keyword “teenage bank account” helped us identify the right target audience.

Screenshot by author, November 2021.

Note that only one site, USAA, has teen keywords in the title. The screenshot below shows that no top 10 ranked website has a “kid’s bank account” in the title.

Google search for teenage bank accountsScreenshot by author, November 2021

4. Keywords help drive traffic

It’s no secret that the vast majority of clicks happen on the first page of Google; in fact, the best result alone represents 28.5% of clicks.


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So, for example, since ranks # 1 for “SEO company,” a term that has 16,000 queries per month, 28.5% of clicks should translate to 4,560 visits from that single word. -key every month.

If you increase first page visibility, your site can generate a considerable amount of additional traffic, which can potentially increase sales on high volume keywords.

Having a top position on a low volume keyword doesn’t make sense. Instead, focus your efforts on keywords with high volume and holistic content that answers questions end users will find useful.

Far too many customers and articles focus on counting keyword successes instead of measuring the impact of those successes (or not).

Getting a single keyword on page 1 could very well have more impact for a brand than having 100 keywords in position 1.

Should we always be tracking keywords?

The answer here is an overwhelming yes: Keywords always add value by driving traffic, conversions, visibility, and sales in prime positions.


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For enterprise-level brands with many products and services, keyword tracking can be expensive as there can be thousands or millions of keywords to watch on desktop and mobile.

It’s a great idea to keep a golden keyword list of the terms that provide the most business value to your brand i.e. traffic, revenue and conversions, and a mix of keywords unrelated to brand, brand and product which are vital to your first-page visibility.

A brand wants to know what their highest volume terms are doing and get as much traffic as possible from those keywords. It makes sense to track a few hundred keywords by industry and region for enterprise-level brands.

Tips for finding the right keywords

Before you start using a wide variety of keyword research tools, always think like a customer and ask yourself, “What is the purpose of my website and what problem will I help end users solve?” “

If you can answer this question, you’re on your way to defining your audience and keyword strategy.


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For example, I was having decoration done in my apartment a few weeks ago.

The guy at the company was talking about a specific type of coating that could be used on window frames. I didn’t know such a thing existed – and if I don’t know it exists, I have no idea how to find it.

So I have to describe the problem to Google to find the solution.

All customers should think like the end user and start their content with a description of the problem before they start bragging about their great solution.

One of the keyword research data sources that I like to use is paid search data if it’s available. If you have historical paid search data, you can see which keywords have resulted in conversions and sales, which can help you define the content you need to create.

Read How To Do Keyword Research For SEO: The Ultimate Guide to learn more.

Ultimately, SEO is all about delivering qualified traffic that converts into customers. If your site gets a lot of traffic and no one converts, what’s the point?


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(Unless, of course, you have a site that relies on ad revenue, affiliate traffic, or some other advertising model.)

When keywords are really useless

It’s 2021, and we’re still seeing sites and SEO professionals focusing on keyword density. Flash info: keyword density does not matter.

Stop trying to put keywords into the content, it won’t help you rank higher if your main keyword is 10% KD etc.

Focus on writing content that will satisfy the need for information and give users what they want.

I also still see sites using the keyword meta tags. Google devalued this a long time ago and it has no ranking value and won’t move the needle.

Finally, using exact match anchor text for all of your links is not a good idea. Anchor text should be a mix of branded and non-branded with different keyword variations.

Google is sophisticated and if you have too many keywords with exact match anchor text links, you can send an alarm and your site can potentially be penalized.


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Keywords can provide business value when prospects and customers rank on the first page of Google for high volume terms, where over 90% of clicks occur.

Running rank reports and examining keywords that are ranked in different visibility areas can help uncover opportunities to create new content or expand current content from existing landing pages.

The keywords will be around for a while and will continue to be used as a signal that gives clues as to what kind of content the searcher is trying to grab from an organic search perspective.

More resources:

Featured Image: Shutterstock / Sammby


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