When you search the internet, you will discover too many articles teaching you the power and effectiveness of keywords and how to carry out a proper keyword research

I am sure that’s one big tool that is in the finger tip of every online publisher or marketer. It is something that one can never escape in the online space if one ever intends to succeed

This is why you will find numerous articles and online tools (paid and free) that will help you understand the concept of using keywords and researching them



Keywords are simply the exact terms that people are using to find products, services or information in the internet. So keyword research is the process of digging for such words or terms to enable you optimise your web contents for search engines.

Online marketers and publishers are interested more in employing these keywords and doing Keyword research than online users.

Your know why this they do?

It is because it helps them achieve a better SEO result such as higher ranking in the search engine which in turn makes their contents, services or products to be seen by online users.

The use of keywords has been so powerful since the evolution of the internet and search engines. And it has continued to remain relevant even today, though with a lot of improvement and changes .

The aim of this post however is not to teach you how to do keyword research. I bet you will be overwhelmed with the many great articles online on that topic.

If I went ahead teaching you keywords and their research, the purpose of this post will be defeated

My aim is to answer the question of whether keywords are still as powerful and effective today as they were back in the day

I assure you therefore, that at the end of this post. You would understand why your site or blog have been stagnant despite your huge investment (both time and money) in Keyword research, and what you should do differently to succeed


I would say, the answer to this question depends

If you are asking about the old-school way of using keywords. No! its no longer effective. it is in fact useless and may even do your site more harm than good.

But if you are talking about the new model way of applying keywords. it is still highly effective and matters very well today. And you would most certainly be doing yourself a great disservice if you ignore it.

Before we proceed, here is a bonus tip for you:

It is important that when reading up tips and tutorials online. Do ensure it’s as updated as possible to avoid consuming old tricks and outdated strategies that don’t work anymor

Let’s proceed

It doesn’t matter what you have read or heard before about keywords or SEO generally. I must tell you that SEO is an ever changing industry and that, has resulted in many changes in the usage of keywords and pattern of keyword research

That is why most of what you may have learnt about how to use keywords may fail you woefully today

But not to worry

By the end of this exposé. You will be well informed of the modern and effective use of keywords


Stick with me

Google which was founded on September 4th, 1998 is the biggest search engine in the planet and so, what every webmaster strives to do is to be in Google’s good book. Being in Google’s good book means that you will have your blog ranking well in google search engine.

Today, Google has so advanced in their technology that they can now easily figure out the underlying meaning to the words of your content and the search term of your readers(Thanks to Hummingbird algorithm). This is why your outdated keyword knowledge or strategies will most likely fail you in today’s SEO practice. This, Google was able to achieve by way of updating their algorithms


google algorithm

Google algorithm is simply the set of defined rules that Google adopts to rank web pages for users search or questions.

These algorithms updates are the reasons SEO has greatly changed and why the power of keyword has really diminished.

For clarification sake, below are the major updates in the Google algorithm for the past few years which have directly and indirectly affected the old ways of using keywords

1.The EMD, or Exact Match Domain Update

exact domain match

The EMD is a website domain that has the exact keywords being targeted in the search result. This Exact Domain Match update was a 2012 Google algorithm targeted towards such sites.

Their intent was to disallow poor quality contents from ranking well just because they had keywords that matched search words in their domain names.

So the power of keywords was defeated here as Google discovered that quality made more sense than mere keywords.

If you are trying too hard to come up with a domain name that will match the exact search terms of your online searchers when starting a blog or a site in 2019. Be rest assured you are going back in time. It has no ranking power for you any longer

2. Pigeon

pigeon google update

This was another huge Google algorithm update launched in 2014.This one was made for local search results and local businesses to rank well within the locality

Their aim was to offer better local search results by giving a better visibility to local listings that have a good organic presence as opposed to the visibility seen in Google Maps

This means that if there is a Nigerian online store that delivers Banana Juice and has a good online presence. And there is another America online store that delivers same Banana Juice with also a strong presence online even with better keywords in his webpage.

When someone in Nigeria types in google search engine to order for a Banana Juice. This Pigeon algorithm makes Google to favour the Nigerian Online Store in the Search engine .

It’s no more a question of which store did a better keyword research or who has more keywords in his webpage.

Again, the power of keywords was indirectly affected here as one needed more than just keywords to rank well

3. Hummingbird

Hummingbird google update

This is one of the greatest algorithm change made by Google. The wonderful algorithm was launched in 2013. It focused much on natural language queries and emhasized on context rather than individual keywords


In other words, this upgrade had heavier focus on meanings and natural flow rather than forced keywords and their unnatural usage

Days before Hummingbird were days when specific keywords determined the results that popped up in search engine rather than looking at the entire query in context.

Google battled with understanding contextual questions or giving answers in context. Their inability to decipher searchers intent and the bid to solve this problem was what gave birth to the Hummingbird update.

With Hummingbird, Google is now able to understand synonyms and make keywords less of a huge deal. This brought a total revolution to the usage and research of keywords

4. Penguin

penguin google update

Google launched Penguin algorithm (firstly, known as “the webspam algorithm”) in 2012. This was particularly meant to combat link spam and link building malpractices.

The update became imperative when Google noticed that webmasters were adopting many unethical practices to build links bacause more links then meant a better rank in the search engine

This algorithm’s aim was to reduce the black hat link building practices by downgrading them and allowing only natural and relevant links

Although this battle of Google to combat low quality sites began with Panda. Penguin was an addition for a better Victory on Google’s part.

5. Panda

panda google update

This was one huge google algorithm update launched in 2011. It was especially developed to minimize the increasing rate in the rise of “low-quality contents” and “thin contents” in the search results by downgrading them while favouring high quality and unique contents by making them appear in the top of search results

This algorithm update was able to combat Content farming that was prevalent among nline publishers back then.

This also meant that keywords alone could not save. One had to write and published quality contents

Online searchers welcomed this update as it made webmasters to start writing and publishing quality answers and information for their queries

6. Rankbrain

google rankbrain update

This was one big algorithm that was launched in 2015. It uses machine learning to filter out the best and most relevant match to your query when it is not certain what that query is demanding. It now aids Hummingbird in bringing out best results for a search by using artificial intelligence to make suggestions for a search term it is not familiar with

7. Mobilegeddon

google mobilegeddon update

This is a Google algorithm update launched in 2015 with the aim of giving priority to sites that are mobile friendly

This means that sites that display well on smart phones and other mobile devices will perform better in search engines than merely keyword optimized sites that are not mobile friendly. Clearly, emphasis was not on keywords but the mobile friendliness of your site


Having gone through these major Google algorithm updates in the last few years. Your guess is as good as mine with respect to how keywords effect and usage have changed lately

Nonetheless, I like to make an analogy for you to drive home the main theme of this post if it is still vague to you.

1. OLD WAY OF USING KEYWORDS (Keywords Stuffing)

Keyword stuffing is the act of loading or inserting too many keywords into web contents, meta tags, image description, post titles etc in an attempt to get advantage of a higher rank in search engines.


This worked so well back then because Google was after keywords. The search engine was able to grab hold all of the keywords in your content hence considering it valuable.

It made sense since your ranking depended on your ability to use much of your keywords.

Although It was not without it’s own downside. Yes, most web contents then, made more sense to search engines than it made to humans. In other words, this practice produced a lot of badly written articles

Publishers were more concerned with satisfying the search engines with keywords rather than satisfying the readers

2. NEW WAY OF USING KEYWORDS (Keyword Positioning)

The birth of Hummingbird since 2013 rendered useless the excessive use of keywords. In fact, these days, Google frowns at keyword stuffing as it is now considered a black hat(an unworthy and unatural way of getting an unmerited ranking in the search engin) SEO practice

It is however important to know today, that when you have a working keyword. it should be inserted in strategic and smart positions like in your headline, in the content URL, image and meta descriptions etc to make contents readable and reasonable to humans.

Google is now interested in you writing to satisfy the queries of users not in writing for search engines alone

With Hummingbird and Rankbrain updates, Google now uses what is called Searcher’s Intent to rank web pages. That is to say, Google now understands semantics, context or underlying theme in a search term

For example, say you search for “best web host”. Instead of google showing you a lists of individual web hosts that pride themselves as the best. It will show you comparisons or reviews of the webhosts that there are(it is actually what the searcher is looking for) . This is because Googles now understands the intent of the search.

best web host search result

Write for people and optimise for search engines because Google now understands human languages. Google is now smarter

This is the way keywords usage has changed overtime. The power it had in those days has been greatly waned and it’s now been over taken by searcher’s intents and other factors we have seen from the algorithm updates

This is simply saying that it is very possible to rank for keywords you didn’t exactly use in your posts


Today, You need more than mere keywords to be in Google’s good book. There are now plenty of measures that Google uses to analyse or determine the authority of web pages. They include content quality, internal links, back links, social media shares, site responsiveness etc. All of these should be taken into consideration.

This is why Keywords though still effective and powerful are not used in the same way they were been used before to achieve a better result. SEO changes, Keyword usage is also changing. Don’t remain stuck to your outdated ways. Get informed and follow the trends.

Optimize your sites with natural flow rather than forced keywords.

Your Turn

You have read and I am dead sure you found it valuable. Leave a your comments and share to your friends and family

Sharing is caring

This Post Has 3 Comments

    1. You’re welcome Dewitt,
      Your comment is highly appreciated

Leave a Reply

Onah Edwin

Onah Edwin is a passionate blogger, writer and a certified digital marketer who helps businesses grow online. I also share blogging tips and effective ways to make money online
Close Menu