If you’re wondering if keywords are still relevant in 2016, the simple answer is yes. (No, we’re not talking about meta keywords, which died in 2009.) In fact, search engine experts predict that they will remain important for a very long time. However, keywords have evolved. The emphasis is now on the meaning of words, rather than just on the words themselves. Context has taken on increased value, with search engines putting more credence into specifically-worded key phrases.

Keywords Still Relevant

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This new approach from Google has worked to the user’s advantage. Search results are more specific and relevant than before. Users can access specific content with increased speed and precision.

Google achieved this major improvement in keyword searches through various changes to its index procedures and keyword identification processes. Here are the major updates that Google employed to serve up more satisfying content to their users:

  1. Caffeine. This revamp was created to find and serve more relevant content at a quicker pace.
  2. Panda. Panda locates low-ranking content and keeps it from ascending the ranks. These are the sites that contain copied content, spam, and heavy advertisements.
  3. Penguin. The Penguin update weeded out spam-laden links from low-quality sites.
  4. Hummingbird. As people began to type in keyword searches in a more conversational way—often in question form—this update allowed Google to adjust. This system did not just match key words with content, it moved toward long-tail keywords and intent—honing in on the deeper meaning and context of people’s searches.

Doubtless, keywords will continue to evolve, enabling users to get the right content with less hassle. Continual research on the latest keyword trends will help website owners adjust to new changes and maintain and exceed their current rankings.