It wiped out a lot of sites from the organic search results just a couple of days ago.
If you're a freelance writer who mainly crafts web content for a living, here's a heads up for you: You can cut some slack on canned content and exact keyword positioning, and give natural writing a big welcome hug. Hurray!
The Old Way
For quite a while, search engine optimization (SEO) specialists managed to game the system and manipulate search results by:
- using key phrases in the exact same order -- even if they do not make sense
- using formatting techniques (bold, italics, underlines) to emphasize the key words
- positioning the key phrases "strategically" so that they appear in the title, in the body, and in the last paragraph
The New Way
Today, the web is abuzz with a new technique called partial matching, which appears to favor natural writing and which will hopefully change the quality of freelancing content creation assignments that you receive from your clients.
The following are now allowed (and even encouraged):
- transposing or changing the order of words in an assigned key phrase
- using punctuation and other words in between the key words
- using only a partial combination of words
More Variations, More Legroom
Exact keyword matching is strict with the sequence of the words. You and your readers have no choice but to make sense of some unheard of phrases in the exact same order as they appear.
As you can see in the following examples, partial matching allows you to produce several variations of the key phrase. This gives you a lot of legroom for creative expression.
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Now that the cat is out of the bag, there's no telling when Google will change its search and quality guidelines again. No matter how much and how often SEO rules changes though, there is one thing to be happy about: Quality content is and shall remain king.*