Google is no longer obsessing over keywords. And it’s probably about time marketers followed their lead


The rise of ‘natural search language’ has downgraded the need to focus on keywords. Here, our Content Coms features writer Chris Bilko discusses what marketers should do instead.

Let’s talk about your ideal prospect

He’s got a problem that your product solves. And it’s a problem he’s been thinking about for a while.

He’s receptive to your message, ready to spend some money and is about to search Google for his much-needed solution.

CONTENTCOMS_WEB_768x768_APPROACH_VALUESBefore reading any further, try to answer this:

What do you reckon he types into the search bar?

Search engines now understand what web pages are about

A few years ago, the answer would’ve been easy.

Rudimentary algorithms restricted users’ searches to a specific set of terms that may or may not bring them back something useful.

But today’s sophisticated search engines understand exactly what it is web pages are about.

Which is making searchers’ queries less and less predictable…

The rise of the ‘natural language search’

Of course, key search terms still exist. But they’re slowly being eclipsed by bespoke terms that generally return results of greater relevance.

In fact, safe in the knowledge that Google and the other search engines understand web pages, users are increasingly typing full-blown questions straight into the search bar…

What would once have been a simple search for ‘solar PV’ might now be very specific ‘can I fit solar PV on a listed building?’

And, a keyword search for ‘school lighting’ becomes much more ‘conversational’ – a user might type ‘what type of lighting is best for school classrooms?’

And when we say users are typing their questions, we use the term loosely. Because, these days, searchers are not necessarily typing at all…

OK, Google. Riddle me this

Thanks to major advancements in voice recognition software, there’s in fact no longer any need to type queries into the dominant player, Google.

As the search giant is so keen to demonstrate, searching is now as simple as whipping out a smartphone and voicing a question.

The advances are naturally fueling increases in so called ‘natural language searches’, which means it’s time for those still focusing on keywords to update their outlook.

Succeeding in today’s marketplace requires a slightly different approach.

How to futureproof your digital marketing strategy

So what in the world is a marketer to do?

Building a unique web page to target every possible search term would be impractical. But continuing to focus on a handful of terms would be naive.

The answer, then, could well lie in content marketing; a practise that bypasses technical SEO and instead focuses on answering a prospect’s questions. It’s something Content Coms are firm believers in, and something we’ve before now used to outstanding effect.

To demonstrate its prowess, let’s get back to your prospect and his search term.

Remember:

He’s receptive to your message, ready to spend some money and is about to search Google for his much-needed solution.

All you need to do is answer his question.

Interested in finding out more about how to play Mr Google at his own game? Want to talk about sensible, practical approaches to content-led SEO? Drop us a line.