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Keywords are as old as Google itself. When the search engine was founded in 1998, it relied on the keywords in the meta-information and quickly became the most successful search engine in the world. The reason: Google provided with this simple method significantly better search results than the old hands Altavista, Lycos and Yahoo.

Today you can confidently save the meta-keywords. They no longer have any influence on the ranking because they have been abused for spamming in the past. Nevertheless, keywords are still of central importance even after various algorithm updates. After all, 93% of all online interactions start with a search that always starts with a keyword.

From keyword to context 

The fact that Google is the world’s most popular search engine even 20 years after it was founded is because it never lost sight of its principle. According to Google wants to provide each user with the best possible search results. To ensure this, the algorithm is constantly evolving.

In the past, search terms looked very static: “Berlin sights”. Today, this is no longer necessary, instead, more natural is sought: “What sights there are in Berlin?” This is possible because Google has become much smarter in recent years. The search engine is pretty much able to recognize the intention behind a search.

Not the keywords have changed, but the search behavior 

So less the keywords than the way you search today has changed. Instead of individual keywords, the topics are more in focus. This is also proven by the Google Keyword Planner , which has not been displaying individual keywords since 2014, but is doing a thematic grouping.

For SEOs, this means that they have to think beyond the explicit information of search queries and, instead, have to pick up the implicit clues to identify the concrete intent behind the search. For example, what does a person looking for ” Sous Vide Stick ” want ? Does he want to know what a Sous Vide Stick is, or buy a Sous Vide Stick, or just go to the website of a manufacturer?


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 Understanding SEO Keyword Rankings –Different types of keywords

Short tail keywords

Understanding SEO Keyword Rankings and a short tailShort search terms with high search volume 

Example: “Angela Merkel”

Long tail keywords

Longer search terms with lower search volume

Example: “Who is Angela Merkel married to?”

Seed keywords 

General policy keywords that are not further specified and merely dictate the direction; mostly applicable to the entire website

Example: “Slimming”

Specific keywords

Modified seed keywords that indicate a concrete search intention

Example: “Losing weight fast, losing weight on the stomach, losing weight without exercise”

Branded keywords 

Include the brand name or brand components such as the slogan, campaign name, etc. in the search query; also spelling variants (including spelling mistakes) are included

Example: “Kärcher connect”

Unbranded keywords

All other keywords, mostly questions or problems

Example: “Connecting high-pressure cleaner”

Primary Keywords 

Primary keywords are focus or target keywords and serve as the head keyword for their precise description of the page purpose.

Example: “razor blade subscription”

Secondary Keywords 

Secondary keywords are used to support the primary keywords and because of their diversity they increase the traffic, but are not optimized to perfection.

Example: “razor blade test, razor blade price, razor blades delivered monthly”


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Local keywords 

Assign a clear or subtle local reference and suggest that the seeker is here and looking for something nearby.

Example: “Rent a beer car in Kiel”

Global Keywords Are location-independent and thus offer every website worldwide ranking opportunities

Example: “Bierwagen”

Evergreen keywords

Have a consistently high search volume throughout the year, but usually also a high level of competition

Example: “Symptoms for Diabetes”

Topical keywords 

Topical keywords are current or seasonal keywords that have a high search volume for a short time, but then drop off rapidly.

Example: “Cinema program for Saturday”

It’s not always easy for SEOs to figure out what’s behind a search query. First of all, the shorter the search phrase. If the head keyword is supplemented with “buy”, it is almost 100% probable a transactional or commercial search. If a search query is less clear, it helps to look at the search results.

Recognize and understand search intent

There are a number of clues that can provide information about the search intent:

Which domains occupy the best seats in the search results? Are they more information-oriented websites like Wikipedia or online shops?

Are more websites from the region displayed?

Does Google Direct Answers offer or will a Knowledge Graph be displayed?

Are images, news or Google Shopping displayed?

Is the first organic search result supplemented with site links ?

Which completions, based on requests from the past, suggests Google Suggest?

Which similar queries are offered at the bottom of the search results page?

Are the search results on page two similar to those on page one, or does the type change?

Which pictures are displayed in the picture search?

Only those who know what users expect when they are looking for a specific term can optimize it. But beware: The search intention is not set in stone. Who googles for “iPhone”, no longer expects results for the iPhone 4 from 2010, but to the latest models.

Also, the season in which is searched, can have an influence. In the spring, users looking for car tires can expect offers or information on summer tires, and in winter on winter tires.

Especially with novelties and trend products, the change in the search intention is easy to recognize. When the e-bike came onto the German market a few years ago, the need for information was especially high.

Typical for a relatively complex and above all expensive product. Page one of the search results was dominated by websites that provided information. Many people now know what an e-bike is. The intention may thus have shifted from the information to the transaction. As a result, traders are now mainly on the TOP positions.

Understanding SEO Keyword Rankings –Focus from Short Tail on Long Tail Keywords 

In the past, optimization was mainly based on short tail keywords, in individual search terms. Everyone wanted tobe number one for “smartphone”, “car insurance”, “student exchange” or “city break” and of course, today has nothing against it. However, with these tough keywords, competition is huge. There are only a few winners.

Today, 70 percent of searches are long tail keywords with three, four, or more words. This also has to do with the fact that the smartphone has become our constant companion and we are increasingly using language assistants such as Amazon Echo.

So we do not necessarily enter our search queries into the search slot of Google, but speak them into some device. In the process, we certainly do not use choppy keyword combinations, but formulate our search queries. Because we usually seek answers to questions or solutions to problems, they are usually issues.

Search engine optimization has therefore focused primarily on optimizing the long tail in recent years. In this context, the content has moved back into focus. The search phrase does not need to be in the exact orthographic and grammatical form in the text as used by the searcher. Today, Google’s semantic understanding is so sophisticated that it is no longer important for a web page to use the exact keyword as often as possible in the text, but to provide the best content on the subject.

Properties of short and long tail keywords 

Understanding SEO Keyword Rankings with a long tail
Keywords must be embedded in good content. That’s why holistic content has become established. Anyone who wants to rank well for a keyword today has to offer texts that go deep, highlight a topic from different perspectives, answer questions and provide solutions. If a text meets these requirements, then it is relevant and will be appreciated by Google accordingly. Such a text is inherently full of keywords and synonyms without having to greatly optimize it.

Nevertheless, of course, the “hard keywords” still play a major role. They set the direction and make it easy for Google to identify the topic. For success, however, the long tail keywords are crucial.

Because even if the search volume and traffic are low for long keywords, the conversion is usually higher. The focus is on the long tail. Website operators who do not focus do not reach anyone. Focusing is the only way to reach the right group of people, the much-acclaimed target group.

In practice, it has therefore become established for each page with one or two head keywords the direction and then with synonyms, perspective changes, questions and related searches on the long tail to focus.


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But how do you find the right keywords? Here is an example guide: 

With which terms would I search for myself? Every website operator and SEO is also a Google user. So before you try any tools, you should use your own mind. Over 90 percent of people think like the average or the mass.

In the second step you should take the perspective of the target group and put yourself in it. With a little empathy and understanding, it’s easy to get to the keywords your audience uses.

If a web page already exists, you should use Search Console, Google Analytics, or other tools to check the paths visitors have taken to the page. Admittedly, that’s not easy, because most search queries today are declared “not provided” for privacy reasons. Nevertheless, these tools also provide important clues.

Now is the time to use SEO and special keyword tools (eg the “Keyword Explorer” from ahrefs.com) to find out, for example, which brainstorming keywords have the most lucrative search volume.

In the final step, a few primary keywords are selected to derive semantically-related long-tail keywords using mind and tools.

Depending on the focus of the search intention, which may well shift as already described, the keywords can of course also change over time. Search engine optimization is a perpetual process, which of course also applies to keyword research.

Place keywords specifically

If you have found the worthwhile keywords, it is the website to optimize it. There is not one all-important set screw here. Decisive is the interplay of many small gears that can only move the big picture together. The following are the most important tips when it comes to keyword integration:

URLs: URLs rarely change, are highly visible and describe the entire page – that’s why Google likes the web address and pays attention to the keywords.

Title: The same basically applies to the title, which serves as a title for the entire page. Keywords in the title therefore have a special meaning, also because they influence the click rate.

Meta-Description: What applies to the title, also applies to the description. It offers more space for refining the summary and should be long and convincing with regard to the snippet.

Headlines: Headlines have an important lead function and are closely analyzed by Google. All hierarchy levels (H1, H2, H3, etc.) should therefore be specifically optimized.

Text: The text should contain short and long tail keywords as well as synonyms. In general, a reader-oriented writing style is sufficient, the keyword density does not matter. Highlighting such. B. boldface are helpful.

Internal links: Even with keywords in the anchor text helps Google to understand what it is thematically on the website. Google is also watching the content around the link with great intensity.

Image name: Since Google can not recognize the content of images, the file name should describe it with keywords, which also ensures a better ranking in the image search.

Alt attribute: The Alt attribute is used specifically to describe the image content, also to offer visually impaired visitors an alternative.

Title attribute: The Title attribute does not work for every browser, but it is mainly used as a source of information if there is no caption. It should be used with keywords in any case.

Caption: To make it easier for Google to interpret images, they should always have a caption. This applies equally to videos.

Basically, every section of a web page should include the keywords, though some have more impact on the ranking than others. Despite everything, no over optimization should take place. The visitor is always in the foreground. That is also the goal of Google. He expects clarity and readability and no convincingly optimized SEO texts. They have little sustainability anyway and will probably lose visibility on the next Google update if they work at all.

The meta-keywords can safely be ignored as mentioned above. Instead, you should take the time to consider each page in context to the entire website to exclude the cannibalization of individual pages and close gaps in the keyword portfolio. And of course, here too: testing, testing, testing. Some keywords scale better than others, despite thorough research. Taste is about studying!

Understanding SEO Keyword Rankings: Conclusion


For the search engines, they are still the means of choice when it comes to the interpretation of the content – regardless of whether texts, images, videos or audio content. They are indispensable when it comes to generating relevant, organic traffic.

And that makes them curse and bless for Google at the same time. But the scope for dirty tricks is getting smaller, which benefits all those SEOs who rely on Google search engine optimization.

But it is also true that the users and Google have changed regarding the keywords. The trend will continue through Voice Search and Co. in the future for the Long Tail. Google will gain more experience and methods to better understand search intent and content. For only if the search giant succeeds in ensuring that the intention and content match each other perfectly can Google defend its market leadership.

One thing is certain: The keywords will not die out as long as there are people who use words to communicate with search engines. Probably never.

The ranking of the 9 key factors in terms of SEO- Understanding SEO and Keyword Rankings

This is the ranking of the top 9 most considered factors in terms of indexing and ranking on search engines:

Link building at the domain level

Link building at page level

Page-level keyword and content based featured

Keyword “agnostic” at the page level

Interaction of users and traffic linked to target searches

Brand-level metrics at the domain level

Keyword used at the domain level

Keyword Agnostic Featured at the domain level

Page-level social metrics

This survey among the best representatives of global marketing subverts – and not just – the common feeling about the metrics that contribute most to the success of a strategy .

In fact, capital importance assumes link building, both at the domain level and at the page level. Links / quotations of the highest quality input (but also output), facilitate the work of spiders and the correlation of content, in addition to rank exponentially. For search engines  are the Search Engine Factors Primary par excellence.

Not to be underestimated also the importance of the keywords, in particular their integration with the HTML of the page, the semantic binds and the relative language modeling.


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The keywords, for those of SEO does not understand a chip, are not only those “spots” in bold almost drawn by lot, but facilitate the task of the user, who also visually can immediately realize that what he was looking for is actually reported in contents, both of the engine, which hardly digests a text table preferring “holds” and more visible solutions.

Returning to the results of the report Moz comes the confirmation that the influence of the correlation between on-page keyword and rankings is rather low, in fact the current search engines are intelligent beings or smarter.

Instead, only the fifth place is the interaction of users : engagement is a symptom of the “good health” of a brand and the positive or negative consideration that the user has towards the product, but it is also It is true that the search engine does not consider such comments, likes and shares as relevant.

However, the “reputation” of social networks ,which rank at the bottom of the rankings and only affect relatively the task of the search engine. It is therefore increasingly evident that the task of Facebook and its “brothers”, deputed to be a showcase of the brand and not a useful means to Google and other engines.

For a winning communication strategy ,it will be fundamental to include all the parameters, both those that affect the motor activity, and those useful only on the user’s side, but it is essential to attribute to each lever its task, allocating a budget studied, estimated not depending on the fashions but depending on the actual profit for the brand.