Is there still a place for keywords in 2023? Absolutely. Although voice search, zero-click searches, and Google’s MUM have transformed the search landscape, keywords remain vital to any 2023 SEO strategy. Here are some ways keywords can be utilised to boost traffic, visibility, and conversions in 2023

Here are some of the ways keywords can be used to increase traffic, visibility and conversions in 2022:

1. Target keywords to drive traffic to your site

Once you have users on your site, you have the chance to capture their attention and convert them into customers. But first, you have to get them there.

All marketers know the importance of appearing on the first page of a search engine results page (SERP). And with an average 28.5% click-through rate, position #1 on the SERP remains a highly coveted spot.

Despite Google’s advanced language processing capabilities, keywords still play a crucial role in indexing webpages. So this coming year, marketers can still target keywords to drive traffic to their websites.

Even with Google's advanced language processing abilities, keywords continue to play a crucial role in indexing webpages. Thus, marketers should focus on targeting keywords to drive traffic in 2023. Instead of only prioritising high-volume keywords, consider long-tail search terms that align with your products or services for potentially higher conversion rates despite lower visitor numbers.

2. Use keywords to identify user intent

Utilise keywords to understand user intent: Keywords offer valuable insights into users' search objectives. With search engines' AI platforms becoming more proficient in interpreting nuances and intent, they can more accurately predict the true meaning behind keyword searches. This allows search engines to deliver results based on user intent rather than solely on the words used.

In 2023, targeted keywords will remain vital. Search engines will continue using keywords in titles and meta descriptions to index and display pages for the most relevant queries. Consequently, your page may be shown to users even if their input keywords don't precisely match your target keyword, as long as the search engine recognises their intent as aligning with your page's subject matter.

However, users may only sometimes know the most relevant terms to find the exact content they seek. As a result, Google and other search engine AI platforms are increasingly capable of interpreting nuances and intent, allowing them to anticipate the true meaning behind a keyword search beyond just the words used.

For example, if a user searches for "horse box," Google will display Shopping Ads and images for horsebox trailers instead of a literal interpretation of the words "horse" and "box." Going forward, this does not diminish the importance of targeted keywords. Search engines will still use keywords in titles and meta descriptions to interpret and index pages for the most relevant queries. This can lead to relevant users being directed to your page even if their exact keyword doesn't match your target keyword, as long as the search engine interprets their intent as matching your page's subject.

3. Conduct keyword research to spot easy wins

Various tools are available for keyword research to identify opportunities to improve your SERP rankings. These tools include:

Begin your research with keywords relevant to your business and customers, and use these tools to expand your search and identify similar terms that may be worth ranking for.

These tools can help you identify pages within striking distance—pages already ranking for keywords, perhaps at the bottom of the first page or on the second page but not yet in the top position. Since your page already ranks for these keywords, a few tweaks could likely improve your ranking without starting from scratch.

Implement simple steps to enhance keyword ranking

After identifying the keywords you want to rank for, employ various strategies to improve your ranking:

  • Include the keyword in the title tag and H1 tag
  • Optimise images for the keyword
  • Incorporate the keyword in the meta description and schema tags
  • Add more keyword-related content to the page

Although a more holistic approach to keywords is necessary for 2023, these simple rules remain applicable. Be patient, as changes to ranking positions may take a month or more to appear.

5. Use keywords to locate your target audience.

You may have a very clear idea of the keywords you want your business to rank for. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it is what your customers are searching for or that the content you focus on is the most likely to convert.

Conducting keyword research can help you understand what your target audience is looking for. Once you know this, you can plan and shape your website content around meeting those needs. Meeting your audience where they are will save you from wasting time and resources on producing content that no one is searching for.

For example, your product may resolve your customer's problem. But if your customer does not yet know your product exists, they will be searching using questions related to their problem, not the potential solution. These, then, are the keywords to be targeting.

6. Adopt an increasingly nuanced approach to Keywords

Google’s algorithms have long surpassed the days of keyword stuffing. A more holistic approach to providing quality, meaningful content is needed as algorithms become increasingly sophisticated. Besides, there is little value in driving visitors to your site through keyword use alone if the content they find there does not encourage them to stay on the page, let alone convert into customers.

Think carefully about the content your target audience wants to find. This goes beyond simply the keywords they type into the search bar to what it is they really want to be reading.

Google tends to favour longer content. For example, if a page has only 200 words on it, it is less likely to be favoured over a 1000-word article on the same topic.

And since any topic could cover various subtopics, making sure to cover your subject matter in detail will likely attract more users since it will answer a wider range of search queries. It also elevates you as an expert on your subject and increases the likelihood of the user finding all they need to know on your site instead of bouncing.

Key takeaways for a 2023 SEO strategy

As the digital landscape evolves, adapting your SEO strategy to stay competitive is essential. In 2023, a well-rounded approach to SEO will include a focus on keywords, optimisation, research, and content creation. Here are some key takeaways to guide your SEO strategy in the coming year:

Keywords remain crucial in 2023: Despite the evolution of search engines, keywords continue to play an essential role in SEO strategies.

Optimise webpages for keywords: Enhance indexing and visibility on search engines by optimising your webpages with targeted keywords.

Value of keyword research: Conducting keyword research is invaluable for understanding potential customers and their search behaviour. This knowledge can inform your 2023 content strategy.

Adopt a broader perspective on keywords: Use keywords as a starting point to create deeper, richer content that addresses your audience's needs and interests.