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SEO in 2017, Part 3: Upgrading Your On-Page Strategy

By Andy Mullins on March 8, 2017 in SEO
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The SEO world seems to evolve in dog years. Rather than occasionally updating every so often, the SEO gods of Google are constantly poising the SEO game to be about helping users. While the shifts have been gradual over the years, a period of time as short as 5 years has seen the SEO world change drastically in several areas. Moz’s Rand Fishkin is among the most foremost authorities in recognizing and adjusting SEO to its most current state. In a recent Whiteboard Friday, Fishkin laid out some SEO changes in 2017 that nullify helpful tips even he would have given out in 2012.

Kill Keyword Repetition Rules

Back in 2012, the proper use of keywords was measured by how many times a page contained the keyword. Many SEO’s found themselves paying too much attention to this measurement and in doing so, created content that was less helpful and more redundant.

The rules of keyword repetition were put in place by Google (and other SEO tools like Moz and Yoast SEO) to make the indexing process easier for search engines. It didn’t take long for Google to realize the unintended consequences of redundant information. Now, Fishkin suggests paying less attention to redundancy and more to actually creating helpful content. Yes, your page should contain your keywords, but not in a formulaic way. Instead, set out to create the most helpful content, and you’ll find the right amount of keyword mentions along the way.

Build SEO with Searcher Intent Rather Than Raw KW Use

You may read that last paragraph and wonder, what does he mean by “helpful” information? What does Google consider “helpful”? To answer that, I’ll quote Fishkin’s point about aiming for satisfying the intentions of your searcher rather than using keywords the right amount of times. “In my experience,” Fishkin says, “it’s vastly easier to create content of any kind that serves your visitors first, then retrofit that content with keyword rules vs. the other way around.”

Helpful content, the kind Google is looking to reward with great rankings, is content that aims to answer users questions in the most quick and easy manner possible. According to, Google has added SEO updates to seek out pages with excessive keyword mentions that are redundant than legitimate.

Stop Assuming Links always beat On-Page

In earlier SEO guides, link building was king. But the scam of link manipulating caused Google to adjust their approach toward rewarding link building. While Moz’s link building guide suggests link building will always be important, the trending assumption for a long time was that poor on-page content quality could be tolerated and still do well in SERPs. By adding “a few more links with anchor texts,” Fishkin says, “an irrelevant, low-quality page of content could move above better and more valuable pages.”

That is no longer the case. Today’s SEO climate is about better serving users with intelligent, high-quality content delivered in the best format and readability possible.

In case you haven’t noticed the trend, the SEO world is constantly pursuing creating a better experience for users by answering their questions, discerning their intentions, and satisfying their search queries. So outdated keyword repetition rules, keyword usage that actually threatens the quality of your on-page content, and covering up that low-quality content with old link building tactics are all surefire ways to get your rankings decimated.

Key Takeaways

  1. Ease-up on the Keyword repetition.
  2. Aim for searchers’ intentions rather than raw keyword use.
  3. Links don’t always beat on-page results, keep that in mind when building links and on-page content.

About the Author

Andy MullinsView all posts by Andy Mullins >