A SEO world without keywords

Last week my head was in SEO-land as I was thinking through how a Shopify store was working on their SEO.

It got me thinking.

Keywords are such a large part of SEO but Google tries to downplay them and their usage. It’s harder and harder to see what keywords are actually used and to get any legit data on them.

The industry thinks because they are a core part of Google’s algorithm so Google’s deliberating trying to make it hard.

But what if Google downplays keywords because they don’t actually matter.

What if keywords are just one of the results of doing search engine optimization (the activity) just like better rankings and more traffic.

Sit with that for a minute and think about how the entire industry of SEO would be different if there was no such thing as keywords.

What would websites do then?

They’d focus on content that made sense for their website. The good ones would create a large variety of content, go in-depth to show their expertise, or make their website entertaining while still functional.

Assume the search algorithms can somehow then know which content is good, which content sucks, and they’d promote the good over the suck. How? Just call it AI like any other advanced technology we don’t know it works (or for the fantasy fans, call it magic).

Sounds a lot like Google’s original PageRank paper where research papers would cite their sources and that’d show expertise.

A lot like recent Google algorithm updates too, where it’s the content that matters.

This would sure make optimization easier, you’d just focus on creating the best content you can for your store.

So again, what if keywords really don’t matter and they are just the SEO industry latching onto something tangible they can sell?

Pretty disruptive thought right?

Time to exit the thought experiment now and go back to reality. I actually think keywords matter but their value is getting weaker with every update. Even though they matter, you could probably cut back on the reams of keyword research that was typical years ago.

Just like how experts laugh at the odd things people did in 2002 to rank in search engines, perhaps in 20 years they’ll look back and laugh at how primitive keywords were in 2022.

Eric Davis

P.S. On an different note, I’m getting new feature getting ready to release for Repeat Customer Insights. It should open up a lot more customer segmenting options without having to pull out Excel.

Use cohorts to find out who the best customers are in your Shopify store

Repeat Customer Insights icon

Repeat Customer Insights will automatically group your customers into cohorts based on when they first purchased. This will let you see how the date customers bought would impact their behavior.

Install Repeat Customer Insights for Shopify