Google’s algorithms are evolving all the time.
Back in the day you could “stuff” your page with a bunch of keywords you wanted to rank for and that alone would help to improve your rankings. This was of course very open to manipulation.
But in 2016 we have Hummingbird, Rank Brain, semantic search and many other nifty technologies. Google has evolved far beyond just looking if you have a keyword in your Title or not.
And besides, we’ve all noticed that pages often rank on the front page of Google. And without even having the target keyword mentioned anywhere in their content.
Should you optimise your page
So does this mean you should no longer worry about optimizing your page for a specific keyword? Just let Google figure out what your page is all about?
Well, we have studied the correlations of different on page SEO factors with Google rankings across 2 Million random keyword searches. Een though correlation is not causation, the takeaways are very interesting in a lot of cases.
What is “On Page SEO”?
“On page SEO” refers to a set of web page optimization best practices that you can apply to the pages of your website in order to improve their ranking in search engine results.
The majority of on page SEO advice that can be seen around the web revolves around using the exact match keyword that you want to rank for in a few “strategic” places of your page: Title, H1, meta description, content etc.
But this kind of advice is actually outdated. In 2016 Google is sophisticated enough to understand synonyms (and overall relevance of the page). Meaning you no longer have to obsess about exact match keyword usage.
When people who are fairly new to SEO are picking a keyword to rank for, they might look at the SERP and see that none of the top10 pages has a “perfect” on page SEO for this exact keyword: