The truth about keywords
31st May 2024
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What they’re not

If you’ve paid an SEO expert to ‘do your keywords’ as we’ve heard from so many customers who’ve spent large amounts of money without any return in their investment then you’ve been misled.

It saddens me that the profession of SEO is marred by ripoff merchants, obviously we’re not one of them, and the way you can tell is by checking our reviews on TheBestofSudbury, Google and Trusted Trader. And you can talk to any of our customers, and that’s what you should do if you employ an SEO, read verified reviews (ones that can’t be faked) and speak to a customer of theirs. 

So what's happened here, it’s as if SEOs have become seen as either modern day wizards or highwaymen.  In the words of Arthur C Clark “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. It’s not magic, it’s computers so it’s logic and common sense. The process of getting your website to rank higher is at least partly psychology and a few other factors,  it really is not magic. And even I with my 25 years of experience as a website designer convinced I didn’t know enough to offer this as a service.  Then I realised I was actually doing SEO for my own business and advising others how to, and with some customers who I trialled my services out on I now have proof I can do SEO, yay,  but enough about me. Here’s what you need to know about keywords. 

In the past keywords were used in meta tags to boost search engine rankings, even before Google. People started to abuse this and put all sorts into the keywords in the meta tag and the main search engines including Google at this time started to ignore keywords as a ranking factor and concentrate on content, speed, and later mobile compatibility and security. After all search engines are trying to provide a service to the searcher, to do that they have to preempt what that searcher is after. 

See What are meta tags and how do they help my website?

So if you’ve hired an SEO expert and they’ve not found out who you’re targeting by talking to you, added content that’s keyword rich or checked your website is set up correctly, you’ve been robbed!

What they are 

Keywords are now exclusively the visible textual content on your website. Invisible elements are no longer counted as keywords. This includes the content written on your pages and blog posts. If Google cannot see it, it does not use it as a ranking factor.

The term "keyword" can also refer to a phrase. For instance, "website design" is a keyword, as is "how do I get an SSL certificate?" The former is a short-tail keyword, while the latter is a long-tail keyword. Despite being collections of words, both are referred to as keywords in SEO.

The keyword meta tag is obsolete; What Google doesn’t see Google can’t use as a ranking factor.. For example, if you have keywords hidden in accordion-style sections, they won't be detected by Google and won't help improve your listings. To optimise your content, keep it straightforward: use headings with text underneath, similar to the format of this article.

Here’s some articles to help you write your content

Why does my web page need a Heading 1 (H1)

Headings, and why they’re important for your readers and Google

WordPress SEO content guide

How to find what keywords to use in your website 

When writing, think about what people will be searching for to find your service or product. What problems do you solve, how will it make them feel? Still stuck, try a site called answerthepublic.com. Put a subject in there and it will give you some ideas of what to write.

If you want to go into more depth there are a myriad of websites and apps you can try that all cost a bit. As long as you’re writing regularly and thinking about what your customers need, then you shouldn’t need to worry about paying extra for these things.

Keywords are one part of all the things you need to do for your website’s success in search

Have a look at SEO essentials you should have set up for your website for more info


Still stuck? Contact us, we can advise, you may need one of our SEO packages which starts from £250 a month, or just the technical SEO which comes as standard with our WordPress eco-friendly hosting. Email us here.

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About the Author

Abbie Thoms

Member since: 31st July 2014

Website designer, website hosting and SEO

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