If you’ve ever optimized a WordPress website to rank high for a particular keyword or a keyword set, chances are you’ve had to use a checklist to ensure you’ve covered all the necessary steps. You could use an old-fashioned pen and paper checklist, but most people use one of the two most popular WordPress SEO plugins, Yoast and All-in-One SEO. Although these plugins are considered to be very useful when it comes to on-page optimization practices, some of the SEO guidelines these plugins check content for are simply outdated and no longer relevant.
Keyword Repetition Is Getting Old
Tools such as All-in-One SEO and Yoast are used, among other things, to check for the number of keyword appearances on a particular page, as well as in on-page elements including image alt tags and meta tags. Once checked, they offer on-page suggestions aimed at further optimizing the page which often include advice regarding how many times you should use a specific keyword. These suggestions aren’t really valid anymore, as Google has taken a stand against keyword stuffing.
Focusing solely on a particular keyword and repeating it throughout the text is now an act which can get your website ranked lower than you’re aiming for. It’s far more imperative to focus on creating content visitors will want to interact with, instead of simply skimming over it and bouncing back to the results page. Yes, using keywords in title, description and on-page elements is important, but, now outdated, rules regarding keyword repetition can only lower the overall quality of your content and distance your website from the first page.
Searchers Goals Are More Significant Than Raw Use of Keywords
Finding out the searchers intent allows you to provide them with information relevant to their queries. This is far more significant than any rule regarding the use of keywords. And finding out what exactly are people searching around a keyword has never been easier, thanks to tools such as Google AdWords. Using AdWords, you can grasp the intent behind the search and use that information in order to ensure the best possible user experience. Not to mention that it’s far simpler to create content which revolves around the visitors than it is to retrofit the content to follow some outdated keyword rules.
Keywords Need to Be Related to the Topic in Question
Simplistic keywords rules and over-the-top repetition aren’t going to boost the ranking of your website, but related topics certainly will. Google’s algorithm favors documents and text which use words and phrases intelligently. Furthermore, these words and phrases must be lexically, logically and semantically connected to queries used by searchers. Related topics tell Google’s search algorithm that your text is relevant and includes accurate answers and credible information regarding the searcher’s particular query.
Yoast plugin has its own content analysis tool which specifies writing rules similar to those seen on the popular writing app, Hemingway. Both recommend using single-line sentences and broken up paragraphs no longer than 100 words. These rules may have been relevant a while ago, however, Google’s algorithm has gone through numerous changes over the last couple of years. Instead of simple, single-line sentences, content creators are encouraged to use more complex constructions and focus more on what they want to say, instead of limiting themselves to obsolete rules regarding paragraph lengths.
Do These Plugins Hold Any Real Value?
Don’t get me wrong, both Yoast and All-in-One SEO are extremely useful and efficient tools when it comes to optimizing your website. With them, you can quickly make a sitemap of your website, place separators in the page URLs and even set noindex and nofollow rules without having to manually edit the robots.txt file. Doing all of this by hand would take up a lot of time, but with these plugins, all that work can be accomplished in a matter of minutes.
That said, a number of rules enforced by these plugins simply aren’t valid in 2017. Another excellent example is link building activities, as back in the day even the most boring, low-quality content could outrank a better page simply by using more links and anchor text. Today, interesting high-quality content and on-page SEO trump even the best-linked pages. This is why it’s important to look beyond the simple use of plugins and to focus more on engaging the visitors and providing them with the most accurate and up-to-date content relevant to their personal needs.
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