It seems with every new Google update, the emphasis on keywords is slightly tweaked. Google is continually improving its indexing system in order to determine the relevance of your content to the words you are using. This is called semantic search. With semantic search, the search engine analyzes the meaning of words and the relationship between word phrases in order to deliver more accurate search results.
But has web writing changed? Not if you’ve followed Google’s advice to “Write for readers first and search engines second,” which has been Google’s mantra for years. Keywords are still important, because they give you a way to research your target audience and understand what they want and need.
Start by learning your customer’s vocabulary. Read broadly across their industry, visit blogs and news sites that they use, and listen to the conversations people in your target market are having online.
Revisit your reader profile and generate a list of keywords from your reader’s viewpoint. Find out what they really care about and why. And, to risk a cliche because it is important, what keeps them up at night? What are their biggest pain points? Conduct a survey if you have a way to do that.
Try entering the keywords into twitter’s search field to see what people are saying on those topics. LinkedIn is also a great resource for doing buyer research. Read executive profiles of companies in your industry.
Now that you have a list of topics that is highly targeted to your ideal reader, you can plan your content. A series of related blog posts works very well for using related keywords, which enhances the semantic relevance of your content.
Most of your on-page optimization is already done for you too. When your content is rich with relevant and related phrases to your audience-derived topics, you can just replace or add a word here and there to emphasize certain keywords where it sounds natural to do so.