Keyword research is the foundation of your seo plan if you intend to drive organic traffic to your site through channels like Google, Youtube and other search engines.
Keywords decide who comes to your site and why. The better it is done, brighter are the prospects of getting traffic that is targeted and meets your goals be it business or something else.
In 2016, and things have significantly changed in the arena of search engines, seo and keyword research.
Users are more “Google-aware” than before, more searches are made than before, Google is better at analyzing content than before and so on. This entire evolution brings new challenges and opportunities at the same time for the SEO and internet marketer.
In other words you need to upgrade your keyword research strategy to meet with the demands of both your audience and the search engine.
1. Look for meaningful topics instead of words/phrases
The Google search engine has made serious advancements in its capacity to understand and analyse content. It is no more merely a content indexing machine that can be controlled with a bunch of keywords and told to rank your content above others.
Google can now actually “read your content” and understand the concept, quality and purpose of it. Yes, it really does that just like a human. If you are curious to know how, then read about Latent semantic indexing.
So it is of utmost importance to actually write content around meaningful topics instead of just a keyword phrase for the sole purpose of targeting that keyword only.
This means a lot for those producing content –
1. Firstly, you can write about different and diverse topics around a keyword. Google will treat them all appropriately, and show them in search results whenever and where ever relevant.
2. Secondly, google can actually determine the quality of your content much like a human reader. So spam techniques like outsourcing cheap articles, using spun articles etc will all start to fail.
Assuming that you are serious about producing quality content, the first point is of great benefit. That is, you should use high intent, meaningful topics and write quality and unique content around it.
Consider the following examples –
1. how to make strawberry cake at home – descriptive, clear intent, nice topic to write about
2. easy strawberry cake recipes – descriptive, but less intent-full compared to previous one
3. strawberry cake recipes – Very generic !
So if you write on the first keyword, you have something very specific to write about. It makes your job easier, produces unique content and Google rewards you with justice.
Further more, you can actually come up with many different and unique topics like that and create multiple different posts or pieces of content. This gives you an opportunity to make your site appear more relevant and more heavy weight in the eyes of Google.
2. Go beyond conventional tools
Call out keyword research and everyone jumps onto Keyword Planner. Yes its the default tool to start keyword research perhaps because it tells you the search volumes.
It has some really intelligent mechanism in place which retrieves some of the best keyword ideas around a seed keyword. But it is just the very first step and a lot lies ahead.
There are lots of other places where keywords can be found and retrieved from. These include keyword suggestions and related keyword searches data from all search engines. These include Google, Bing, Yahoo, Youtube etc.
The more places you look, the more keywords you discover and sooner are you able to reach your keyword research goals.
Don’t feel intimidated and start using multiple different tools to gather keywords from different sources.
There are plenty of tools that can help you gather keyword data from these additional sources. Check out the following tutorials to learn more
6 Top free tools to find long tail keywords for your content
7 best free tools to get keyword suggestions from Google in 2016
SeoStack is a powerful keyword research tool that allows you to gather keywords from many different sources including Keyword Planner, keyword suggestions from Google, bing, youtube, yahoo, amazon and ebay.
Try it today – http://www.seostack.net
3. Use social sites to find popular and viral topics
Do not confine yourself to just keyword tools when doing keyword research. Numerous topics and ideas exist out there that these tools simply cannot reveal.
Social platforms like niche forum sites, question answer sites are a great place to find traffic intensive popular topics that you can write about.
Read a previous on how to find great keyword ideas and topics on forums here –
How to do keyword research on forum sites to find great content ideas
Brian Dean calls this the skyscraper technique and it is precisely about stealing popular topics from elsewhere and building better content to outrank your rivals.
Another way to find popular content is using tools like Buzzsumo that help you find content that have been shared a lot on social networks like twitter and facebook.
Apart from these, there are many other social sharing sites where you can find popular content and topics. These include Reddit, Pinterest, Google+ communities and many others. The idea is simple. Find out content that has gone viral and use the idea.
Summing up the list –
- Niche forums and question answer sites
- Facebook pages and groups
- Google+ Communities
- etc …
4. Monitor Trends
Trends give a glimpse of what kind of keywords might come next in a few months or years. Planning content in advance for such keywords could be a great strategy to take lead ahead of others.
Google Trends can show you keywords that have become popular recently and are rising the traffic charts. Targeting these keywords in your content could get you ranked without much seo, since competition on these keywords might be lower.
If you are in a market segment where newer versions of products or entirely new products are launched regularly, then you can target upcoming keyword in advance using trends data.
Other than Google Trends, social network sites and social sharing sites also help to discover new and topics. Whenever something new has arrived, people discuss it everywhere. You just need to keep a vigil and act prompt.
5. Investigate your competitors’ keywords
Your competitors’ have content which is already ranking for keywords that you wish to target. Finding out those keywords can uncover lots of new keyword ideas.
And sometimes you may be able to outrank your competitor simply because you possess a superior backlink strategy.
There are a number of ways to go about this. The free way is by using keyword planner. Make a list of some of your competitors’ and feed their urls into keyword planner one by one.
It would then come up with various keyword ideas that google saw related to those url in some way. These keyword may not necessarily be the ones that rank your competitors and send them traffic, but they are related to some degree.
If you want to find out the exact keywords your competitors are ranking for, then better use some paid tool like Semrush
6. Steal popular topics from your competitors’ blog
This is a very very easy and quick way to find bright and high traffic topics and ideas for content. Simply take a look at your competitors’ blog and see if there is a section marked “Popular Posts” or something similar.
Those are the posts that are driving lots of traffic to your rival. Steal them and write better content and launch. This is a very commonly used tactic to actually build traffic quickly without investing much time into keyword research.
However there are some conditions. First, you need to be able to produce content that will be superior to that of the other site. Secondly you need a sound backlink strategy to give an initial boost to your content. If you can manage these, then you can quickly generate lots of traffic.
Otherwise focus on low competition keywords first, establish domain authority and then go after this technique.
7. Identify and target intent-full keywords
Search terms that are descriptive enough to express the intention of the user are called intent-full keywords.
Google is able to intercept the message behind such keywords and then refines the search results accordingly. Google is increasingly getting better at this.
If you search for – laptop repair service nyc the search results would show you the best shops and places where you can get your laptop repaired.
Search for “what is the distance between earth and sun” and Google tells you the answer.
All this is because Google is actually able to interpret and intercept your intention and this is called intelligence.
Keywords like those have a heavy intent. The user was looking for a very specific piece of information. Given the fact that google can understand the intent behind the query, it can relate it to content with similar intents.
Every niche or market has a different pattern of intent-full keywords. Work on it and identify the most useful ones.
Lets take some examples
Top seo companies in seattle – you are a local seo agency in seattle
How to increase adsense income on your blog – Nice topic for a make money blog
10 tips to speed up your Windows 10 laptop – Nice topic for a tech blog on windows
Best places to visit in Japan in winters – Nice topic for a tourism blog
8. Focus on the long tail
So long tail keywords are keywords that are 3-4 words or more in length. Its been told numerous times that they are the future of seo because they are intent-full, offer low competition in seo etc etc etc.
Long tail keywords are the key to find relevant topics in any subject. As already pointed that Google is getting better at analyzing the relevance and intent of both content and search queries, it becomes important to shift focus on long tail keywords.
Here are some previous posts that can help you with long tail keywords
3 good reasons why you should use and target Long Tail keywords in seo
6 Top free tools to find long tail keywords for your content
9. Review your own keywords
As you start building content on your own site, google starts ranking your site for a variety of keywords including those that you did not target. You would use Google Webmasters to track keywords that are ranking your site.
This is a common phenomenon. You write a post about a particular topic or keyword phrase and google sees it relevant for many other search terms and starts ranking your content somewhere.
The interesting part is that you are able to grab those new keywords that you were probably unaware of earlier. Now you can publish more content around those distantly related keywords to generate more search engine exposure. Simple and easy!
10. Do it more and regularly
Keyword Research is never done enough. Its a never ending process of finding new keywords that went undetected or those that have just come into existence.
The market around every product or service evolves over time and is doing so more rapidly today. People are learning to search for things in new ways which brings us new keywords.
Keep an eye on niche related social sites, competitors’ sites and blogs, news portals and all other sites related to your market segment. These would help you discover new ideas to write content about.
Mastering the art of keyword research takes time and even more time has to be invested in every niche or market that you plan to target. Every market has a different pattern of search queries and identifying these core patterns enables the marketer to understand the market better.
With better keyword research you produce better content and eventually get better exposure on search engines. That is the ultimate goal, traffic!
Hope that you are able to get lots of it. Good Luck doing keyword research.