Some of the leading webmaster and SEO blogs were rocked in recent days by the news that the Google Search Console Content Keywords report has officially been retired, leaving a gap in some people’s assessments of their main content keywords.
A post on the Google Webmaster Central Blog explained the decision to retire the Search Console Content Keywords feature, which dates back to when the platform was still called Webmaster Tools.
Whereas originally it was the only way to see the main keywords used by the Googlebot when determining the ranking for a particular page, times have changed, and there are now alternatives to Content Keywords even within Google Search Console itself.
Now webmasters can instead look under Search Traffic in the left-hand navigation, and click on Search Analytics for a flexible report capable of showing the queries and clicks for verified properties.
John Mueller, webmaster trends analyst at Google Switzerland, also used the blog post as a chance to reinforce the importance of well-written site content that uses carefully chosen words and phrases to help signpost the main topics of the page.
“The words on your pages, the keywords if you will, are still important for Google’s (and your users’) understanding of your pages,” he wrote.
“While our systems have gotten better, they can’t read your mind: be clear about what your site is about, and what you’d like to be found for. Tell visitors what makes your site, your products and services, special!”
This kind of natural or organic SEO remains a cornerstone of improving search rankings through on-page SEO techniques, not only in the main text of a page or post, but also making use of subheadings, blockquotes, hyperlink anchor text and other page features that stand out to the search bots.
By ensuring you publish in-depth, intelligent and accurately written page content throughout your site, you not only maximise your chances of a good search ranking, but also of engaging your human visitors with thoughtful content.
And by using the Search Analytics report as an alternative to Content Keywords, you can quickly see what people are searching for when they find your site, and reinforce those rankings or fill in any obvious topic gaps.