Exact Keyword Matching: Is It Still Possible to Write Naturally?
Keywords are crucial for SEO. If we understand what people will be searching for (the keywords or phrases), it becomes easier to create content and optimise it for these keywords and phrases. Most people evaluate keywords on how much traffic they could bring, how difficult they are to rank for, and their relevance to their audience and content. However, it is important to ask if the keywords we use should match user queries exactly.
Exact Keyword Matching
Exact keyword matching is an SEO tactic where an SEO tries to optimise their content for the exact keywords and phrases a user searches for. A few years ago, exact keyword searches were very important for organic traffic. This is because Google and other search engines were not evolved enough to see the relationship between different keywords and phrases.
The need to use exact keyword matches in as many places as possible led to the rise of keyword stuffing. This was done by adding as many exact keywords to the content as possible. The content that came out of this process sounded unnatural, was difficult to read, was messy, and was of poor quality.
Changes to the Google Algorithm
Google has said that it has tweaked its algorithm to ensure its search results include “helpful content written by people, for people”. Using exact keyword searches leads to content that sounds unnatural and that is not helpful because few people would be willing to slog through it.
Over time, Google has tweaked its algorithm to better understand the context of a given page. After understanding the context, it can match that content to search queries depending on the user intent of someone searching a specific keyword.
Understanding content in this way allows Google to understand keyword variations including when different words are used in different positions, synonyms, plurals and the like. Google can also understand related keywords depending on how they are used within the page.
Partial and Exact Marches
Because Google now understands main and related keywords depending on the context they are used in, partial match and exact match keywords now hold the same value. For this reason, you should try to create content that sounds as natural as possible regardless of keyword match. This is content that is useful to visitors and that Google will rank higher.
What About PPC?
SEOs and marketers also create content for landing, products, services and other types of pages. Should these pages use exact or partial keywords?
Exact match keywords were indeed useful for these intents, but Google has tweaked its Google Ads algorithm to treat exact match keywords the same regardless of word order. Google Ads also excludes all functional words and returns results that contain the useful words that remain.
You should aim to write naturally because all unnecessary words will be removed, and all other words will be treated the same regardless of order.
Google’s algorithm is getting better at understanding content. This has led to changes to how it treats exact and partial match keywords, regarding them the same way. Because of this, you should write naturally, incorporating keyword variations in your content to make it more appealing to human readers.