In the early days of search engine optimization (SEO), everything revolved around keywords. Keywords were the dominant factor of SEO.
They mattered so much, search engines valued keywords over actual human language. In the early 2000s, the Internet was full of websites that targeted specific keywords. These niche websites had so many keywords their readability was poor.
Then things changed. Google updated their algorithms in 2011 to stop this black hat SEO practice. It made this change to prevent keyword spam from dominating websites and search results.
Another Keyword Bites the Dust
The question now is are keywords still effective? Do they still matter for your insurance website in 2016?
The answer is a bit mixed. Keywords, of course, still matter to some degree. They need to be on your website, page URLs, page titles, image descriptions, etc.
What's changed the most is you don't need keywords everywhere.
In fact, keyword spamming is now considered poor SEO. Google will penalize websites for stuffing keyword onto pages without regards for readability.
So in general, keywords are good. Keep them in important places where Google crawls your website but in moderation.
Think of keywords on your insurance agency website like drinking at a company party. It's never good to go overboard.
While Google has lowered the importance of keywords, other factors now hold equal value. It takes more than keywords to make an insurance website rank well.
Social sharing, varied content, and backlinks to and from your website are also important. It's key to focus on those tactics just as much as keywords for your website's SEO campaign.
When Google introduced the Hummingbird update in 2013, the search algorithm changed again. Instead of searching for specific phrases, Google began looking for related content too.
For example, in the insurance world, you don't want to call your insurance cheap. But, you should still show value in blog posts, home page content, etc.
Google will understand the difference between a keyword and its context. Google will still prop your website up when people search for 'affordable car insurance.' Again, the quality of the content matters more than the exact search phrases used in the content.
The keyword isn't dead, but its importance has diminished. Keywords have evolved, and your insurance website should too. Google is not going to stop changing. Are you prepared to change too?
Got a question about SEO? Leave it in the comments below.
About the Author
Josh Bowe joined the SEO team in 2014. He helps ITC customers improve their search engine rankings. Josh previously worked as a sports reporter, and he has a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Texas at Arlington. Born in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Josh is a big sports fan, especially the NBA and Dallas Mavericks.More Content by Josh Bowe