By Dan Kaufenberg

What Theme Words Mean to Google

By Dan Kaufenberg

There are many factors that Google and other search engines use to rank content: back links, keywords, social signals and age among them.

There is one factor, however, that is often over looked when creating quality content and that is theme words.

Theme words are the body of your article and tie your content together. With the talk of Google trying to turn into a semantic search engine, we need to understand theme words. Coincidentally, understanding theme words will allow you to write more relevant content and rank better in organic search results

What are Theme Words?

Theme words are another form of keywords that Google uses to understand and rank your content. Let’s put a block of example text up: the theme words will be in bold.

In the aftermath of Penguin and Panda, search engine optimization is still alive. More so than ever we are able to rank our content through simple white hat methods. Theories and practices that have always allowed a website to rank in organic search traffic are still true. Staying relevant is the key for back linking, content creation and social interaction.

These simple theme words tell search engines that you know what you are talking about. While using these words will come naturally to an expert in the field of search engine optimization, they may not come easy to someone new to the field.

Tools for Brainstorming Theme Words

As I said, if you are an expert in the field for which you are writing content, using theme words should come naturally. That being said, everyone can use a little help to ensure they are getting the highest rankings from their content. Some simple tools to help you brainstorm theme words and help ensure you are using them are essential.

LSI Keywords: a great tool for brainstorming, it will help you come up with relevant theme keywords. This will give you some extra food for thought when writing your article

Ubersuggest: basically the Google instant method of research on steroids. Type in your seed keyword and get a full list of related theme and keywords.

ctrl Semantic Engine: will allow you to properly enrich your post with relevant content. Use this tool after you complete your blog post to ensure you are using relevant theme words.

The point is to ensure you are in the right mindset before you create your content and ensure you are using the proper theme words and keywords that will do the most work when ranking your content.

Using Back Links and Relevant Content

While most of us understand how to link our content, I still want to briefly talk about it. While creating a powerful piece of content is important for rankings, search engines still use back links to rank content. The only catch is they do it a little differently now.

Google (maybe not other search engines) is trying to move into the semantic world with theme words being the key for their move. This is why the latest updates changed the way back links work in general.

Anchor text is no longer the best practice for back links (still can help). Now the best practice is to get links and to link out to other relevant content and websites. Yes, linking out can now be a benefit when before it was kind of frowned upon.

Linking out is beneficial when linking to relevant content. Be careful and ensure all of your links are quality. Quality, not quantity, is the key.

Putting it all Together

I want to put everything together so we ensure everything is done right. When laying out a new blog post or article, we want to follow a simple process.

  1. Pick a good topic
  2. Brainstorm Keywords
  3. Brainstorm Theme words
  4. Write quality relevant content
  5. Link to quality relevant content that builds on the article
  6. Get back links from quality relevant content that complements the article

If you can carry out these six steps correctly, and create a good piece of content using theme words, and build the link structure correctly, then your content will have a very good chance of ranking highly in Google.

Writing high quality content that will rank in Google all boils down to the new way of thinking from the recent changes that Google has made to its algorithm and the intricate web that it all entails.

Again, the most important factor is relevance and if you keep your content, back links and words relevant you will do well in rankings.

Don’t forget about the social signals as well, and if you are doing your job of creating great content all of those signals will point at you.

  • This makes me so sad… What ever happened to writing for the humans? Matt

  • At first I kind of agreed with you, Matt. But, on reflection, all this really means is you still very much write for humans but need to understand what you’re writing. The best way to “win” from this situation is to do exactly what you think you ought to do, ie write meaningful content that is focused on meeting the needs of the end user. The only people this should trip up is people who are trying to “game” Google and write to “attract traffic” rather than “inform people”. It may also help people to hone their writing skills.

  • This shouldn’t make you sad Matt. We are still writing for our readers, we do however need to try and give our readers the best experience from our content and that is what Google is looking for. I try to think of it positively. If we do our research and understand what we are writing about, we will naturally place theme words into our article and give the reader the best experience.

  • Dear Dan,

    interesting article. I wonder if you have any proof for your concept? Please don’t misunderstand me, I don’t want to be trolling or provocative but I wonder if you have whether seen any rise in SERP listings by applying your theme word strategy or maybe have seen any decrease by not doing so? I’m asking this because within the world of SEO there are a lot of ideas what might work and what not and sometimes very little proof (not saying that you are posting unproven concepts). I just would love to evaluate the core of this strategy with some facts. Hope you understand :) Thanks!

    • Hey Phil, thanks for your question. There are many other companies and bloggers talking about Google moving into the semantic world. This simply means they are pushing to better analyze content. Theme words are not an aspect to worry about, but something to remember when writing. If you know what you are writing about, you will naturally place theme words into your articles. If you don’t know you probably will not.

      Most of my research was done through reading new books and blog posts about theme words and then applying them to my blog. I have not seen a huge decrease from not using theme words. After implementing the practice of better research and writing on my own blog, I did see a rise in organic traffic by about 3000 impressions per month.

      I’m not saying theme words are a cure all end all, but they can help write better content which will naturally rank better in search. This is why there are various plugins for WordPress that help you write better content and insure you are using the proper amounts of key and theme words. Two plugins for example are Inbound Writer and Scribe.

      I cannot show any proof here of course, but if you want to contact me through my website, or through email, I will show you some screenshots of increased traffic.

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