Are Keywords the Only Way to Optimize?

Whether someone is typing on a desktop or speaking into their mobile device, their searches require words—keywords. So, are keywords the only thing used to optimize a website?

Keywords Cannot Be Understated, But…

There is no denying the importance of keywords in search engine optimization. For best results, keywords—the words you think potential customers are using to find what you offer—should appear in a number of places, like:

  • URLs
  • Headings (H1 tags in SEO-speak)
  • Subheadings (H2, H3, H4, etc. tags in SEO-speak)
  • Body copy (the stuff viewers actually scan/read)
  • Meta descriptions (for pages, images, posts, etc.)
  • Alt text (before bots could “read” images, they read text “attached” to an image or video)

Keywords should also appear in other online properties, like:

  • Your Google My Business profile
  • Yelp profile
  • Product descriptions in your ecommerce shopping cart

But keywords are not the only thing about your website that can be optimized. There are a number of factors, both on-page elements and off-page technicalities, that need to be optimized for the human user and search bot experience.

Lesser-Known (But Not Less Important) Optimizations

Search engines are never forthcoming about all their ranking factors and/or the weight assigned to any given ranking factor. But, based on publications, announcements and observations of performance metrics, we know that non-keyword elements that need to be optimized include:

  • Mobile usability

Every web page and on-page element must be optimized for viewing on a mobile device. And priority is given to the mobile experience.

  • Page loading speed

Pages must load fast, and although Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is not a published ranking factor, Google has stated a preference for implementation of the protocol.

  • Content origin/originality, quality and freshness

Optimized content features more than keyword density. Optimized content must be original, well-written (as in, grammatically correct) and fresh—updated and/or newly published regularly.

  • Search bot directives

Search engine optimization can be facilitated by providing directions for search bots on what to index, what not to index, what links to follow or leave alone, etc. through robots.txt commands and other Google-supported channels.

  • Data structure

Search engines prefer structured data that allows them to display visually appealing search results and search results that conform to their layouts.

  • Coding

Optimal website performance requires the use of up-to-date coding, which also gives signals to the search engines about the current-ness/relevance of a site.

  • Links

Quality inbound links are a ranking signal, as are outbound links to quality resources. clients can rest assured that all SEO ranking factors are covered. From design to on-page content to off-page technical elements, we know what and how to optimize your website for best search engine performance.

Still, if you know of a change in your industry and the words used to describe and search for your products and services, please contact us. We will update all keyword-related elements to reflect the latest industry trends to keep you ranking above your competitors.