For years now, acquiring organic search traffic has been linked to keyword research and implementation. However, Google is always looking to improve their algorithm, and so we can’t just stuff those keywords into our content to get to page one. We need to understand how keywords work, and what we can do to move forward with this part of our ever-changing industry.

Updates to How Keywords Work

Google is constantly trying to make things easier for the person on the search side. After all, that person is Google’s customer, not the retail company who wants to get their product onto page one. Google doesn’t care what happens to you. They can move someone from page two your page one spot and search engine users will be still as happy. So how is Google improving things for the average user?

We used to labor over keyword usage. Should we make the keyword plural or singular? Should we try to rank for common misspellings of our keywords? Should we use diacritics, abbreviations, or acronyms? For all of you, who are still insisting on splitting your keywords up this way, know that Google took all of that out of the equation long ago.

To make things easier for someone using a search engine, Google will look for NY and New York when someone types one or the other. “Designers” and “designer” will both appear for a user, whether they type the singular or plural version. And as far as spelling goes, a user simply needs to get “close enough,” and Google takes care of the rest.

Should I Still Be Using Keywords?

The short answer is yes. But we don’t need to be so anal about how we use them because Google responds to high-quality content more than precise keyword placement and use. Your SEO team still needs to focus on the metadata, but your content developer needs to be focused on the viewer and providing content that keeps users on your page for as long as possible. That is how Google determines user engagement.

What will future Google updates mean for keyword research? Only time will tell, but you can rest assured that every change Google makes will be for the benefit of their customers—the search engine user.