Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Mark Gilvey on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, March 5, 2015).

Does Google associate other words with your keyword?

Does Google associate other words with your keyword? I am a commercial photographer in Woodbridge, Virginia. I did a search for "catalog photography woodbridge" and I came up #3. The thing is, I don`t mention the word "catalog" anywhere on my website but I do mention "product photography" and "product photographer". Is their an association going on between the phrases "catalog photography" and "product photography" or could I be coming up because of other external factors? I know that the #1 listing on the SERP; Greenwood Photography does not do any product or catalog photography but they are #1 I think partially because of all the backlinks going to them. So, do you think this SERP is a result of other factors or could the word "catalog" be associated by Google (maybe as a synonym)?

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YOUR ANSWERS

Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Mark Gilvey: Does Google associate other words with your keyword? I am a commercial photographer in Woodbridge, Virginia. I did a search for "catalog photography woodbridge" and I came up #3. The thing is, I don't mention the word "catalog" anywhere on my website but I do mention "product photography" and "product photographer". Is their an association going on between the phrases "catalog photography" and "product photography" or could I be coming up because of other external factors? I know that the #1 listing on the SERP; Greenwood Photography does not do any product or catalog photography but they are #1 I think partially because of all the backlinks going to them. So, do you think this SERP is a result of other factors or could the word "catalog" be associated by Google (maybe as a synonym)?
  • Promoz SEO: 'product photography' is a LSI (related) keyword of 'catalog photography'. So it's quite natural to rank for both the keywords even when optimized for any of these two. Intents of both the searches are same.

    Ranking not only depends on the onpage keywords but ranking also depends on the outbound links, backlinks, external anchor texts, external contexts, industries etc.
  • Mark Gilvey: Thanks Promoz,

    Yea, I figured there were lots of external factors related but one question I have related to that is, if someone searches for "product photographer" why are they being out ranked by someone who doesn't even offer it? Regardless of the winning positions external factors, I feel, they shouldn't even come up for the search query unless of course there are so few people trying to rank for that phrase that it puts something together and even so, mine is still more relevant (even though I may not have the external juice coming in).

    What is LSI btw?
  • Promoz SEO: It's all about the context of the page and the intent of the search, it's not about keywords anymore, especially after Hummingbird update.

    LSI - Latent Semantic Indexing means related or variation or synonymous keywords.
  • Tony Wang: + ;, I agree that LSI can connect your "product photography" with "catalog phototgraphy". However, since the #1 doesn't even offer this, it's very possible other factors are in play, definitely so for the #1. And you are also correct that they shouldn't show up since they don't offer that as a service. Welcome to the VERY imperfect world of Google :-)
  • Mark Gilvey: Ok, if it's not about keywords any longer, are you still populating your head, description, on page and file names with keywords or what is the logic now? My logic has always been to provide the search engines with the content they need to be able to inform their users as clearly as possible what you are offering so that their users can get the most relevant result. Has that changed? I understand that it is also about off-page factors such as what others think about you and if they think your site is valuable to them. I get that. But isn't on-page and in-page still important?

    Inspiring words from the Masters. I thank you for your guidance.
  • Jann Grond: + Onpage is still important, Google is just better now in understanding your content.

    (at least they think they are)

    :)
  • Mark Gilvey: Thanks Jann!
  • Promoz SEO: + ;, on-page structure and content is very very important. Even keywords are still important for proper indexing, just use different variations, synonyms of your main keywords on the copy, title, desc, h1, h2, alt, internal contextual anchor texts etc. Do not stuff keywords, do not create separate pages for similar keywords where the intent of the keywords is same or very similar.

    Use Google Adwords Keyword Planner tool to find out keywords and try UberSuggest to jot down LSI keywords.

    I don't believe that this is 'imperfect world of Google', actually this is the perfect way it should be, Hummingbird reduced the keyword spamming on content.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on G+, Thursday, March 5, 2015).

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