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February 24, 2016

Keyword Strategies to Raise Your Rankings

Image courtesy of (Stuart Miles)/

Keyword research and strategies have always been an integral part of SEO. This is how search engines determine relevance, content schemes are driven, and how individuals will ultimately find your site.

Much in the way that search engines (and the Internet overall) are highly dynamic and always in flux, your keyword strategy should be the same. As various engines continue to refine search experiences, user expectations, search queries, query length and methods of searching, keyword strategies can become antiquated in a flash.

Today users don’t just have desktops and sub-par mobile browsers to conduct searches — mobile has transformed into high-powered, omnipresent computers that have dethroned desktops as the preferred search platform. Moreover, voice search has altered the online investigation landscape in a way that is irreversible. As these newer modalities continue to proliferate modern society and more contemporary approaches are developed, business owners and marketers must evolve keyword strategies to fit with the times.

Let’s take a look at how you can mature your keyword blueprint for the dawning of a new digital era.

Take the Long Way

It’s no secret that long-tailed keywords have become more prominent and powerful over the years thanks to the advent of the aforementioned mobile features. As mobile use continues to increase, these terms and phrases will only become more valuable. According to a Blue Nile Research study published in 2015, the firm noted that:

“Blue Nile’s research shows an exact 50-50 split between users who search in fragments (e.g. “swollen ankle”) and those who search in more fully formed terms (e.g. “causes of swollen ankle during sleep”). When it came to questions vs. statements, 27 percent of respondents phrased their query in the form of a question, with “How” being the most commonly used prefix.”

This same study showed that 50 percent of search queries contained four words or more. In regard to voice search, Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land noted in his SMX West presentation the average voice search query is five to six words in length. This means that effectively targeting single keywords is simply not as powerful as it once was. Does that mean that this strategy is now useless? No. It is just losing potency as long-tailed keywords grow in frequency.

The bottom line is that users want answers when they search and know that the more specific a query is, the higher the chances are of them finding the resolution they seek. Armed with this information, website owners and marketers must shift their focus from targeting specific keywords to answering questions, and to do that you must venture beyond Google’s keyword tool.

Employ the Right Tools

While Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends are still outstanding resources, there are a bevy of other alternatives to explore. With the idea that you must now seek to answer direct questions as opposed to simply targeting keywords, a new tool called Answer the Public is just what the SEO doctor ordered.

This U.K.-based tool (different countries can be chosen from the dropdown) is a highly unique way of identifying terms and phrases to add to your arsenal. After entering a keyword like “shoes,” Answer the Public returns a slew of questions related to your term in the form of a wheel organized by queries that begin with “where,” “who,” “what,” “when,” “why,” “which,” “how,” and “are.” There is also a second wheel formatted by prepositions “like,” “for,” “with,” “without,” “versus” and several others.

This is an invaluable tool because the results displayed introduce potential problems that your audience is encountering that you can then create content to solve. The drawback to this tool, however, is that no search volume data is provided, but this can easily be obtained from other tools like InstaKeywords.

InstaKeywords allows users to conduct basic and in-depth research on long-tailed keywords. Search the phrase you want to know more about and the tool will return various long-tailed phrases, cost-per-click information, local and global search volume and the previous month’s numbers.

Gather Right from the Well

No matter if you have a dedicated team, or it is just you, customer service is your eyes and ears. These folks have more intimate insights about your customer base than possibly any other team within the organization. The main issue is that there is often a large detachment between customer service and marketing, so these insights rarely make their way past support.

A great way to refine your keyword strategy is to consult with these folks directly. Anyone who is answering phones, running live chat conversations, or answering e-mails can give you feedback on the most common questions and concerns customers have, opinions about products, and what issues people have on the website.

Each answer you receive will assist you in bolstering your keyword list and creating valuable content to assist customers and rank in the Google SERPs. Alternatively, you could also frequent popular forums, communities and review sites within your industry to gain similar insights.

Search algorithms and behaviors are constantly changing as the surrounding technology continues to evolve. In today’s world, keyword targeting alone won’t cut it; you must be addressing direct problems with direct answers. Long-tailed keywords are the future of search as mobile ubiquity carries forth. Be sure to give searchers and potential customers what they want by creating valuable content that answers their concerns and you are likely to see your site rise in rankings.

What new ways have you improved your keyword strategy? How do you think mobile and voice search will continue to change the face of how query research is conducted?


Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

37 Responses to “Keyword Strategies to Raise Your Rankings

    avatar Jermine Peter says:

    Well, Google keywords planner tools make a various differences from the old version, i think old option is better then the new one because now it makes no sense of competition level on the keyphrases. create your own website template

    avatar Neeraj Kumar says:

    Voice search is a new point SEOs must keep in mind and study of human language, how they speak, how they pronounce and how they form queeries has become very necessary.

    I thing long tail keywords (compact group of words) will go and queries in simple language (main keyword with question words) will rule in coming future.

    avatar Aventura12 says:

    Thanks for sharing a great article about the keyword strategies to raise ranking. We always use long keywords for the same, but now we found after read this article, how keywords works.

    Thank you for your informative post….

    avatar Alex says:

    There is something I don’t like. As the author of a website, I do not have freedom anymore. If I want and need AdSense (I don’t want but I need)everything must be like Google want, not like I want. Everything becomes a sitcom. Long-tailed keywords, how long they would be a year now? 155 letter long?

    Hi ! Actually I am looking for some blog where i can read about the latest tips about seo, this is nice information. i love it

    avatar Angu Ransom says:

    You can Google RANSBIZ to get SEO tips

    avatar reet cutoff says:

    nice article thanks for sharing with us.

    Many learn about important things like this. Thank you for the information and knowledge

    Hello dear,
    Really nice Keyword Research Now a days very IMP factor for every website.
    Sagar Ganatra

    Targeting more long tail keywords has helped me to increase my website traffic significantly. Great read… thanks for sharing.

    Thanks for the informative article. Still learning the SEO social media thing as to expanding our reach on the internet.

    Nice article. Thanks for writing about our keyword research at Blue Nile.

    avatar Raone says:

    This article is very helpful for me, all the points you described in your article is very important to understand. Thanks for this awesome article.

    avatar Rose Dovey says:

    Great! I read this article get more information about long tail keywords and strategy. Which bring your selected keywords at the top ranking.Here we learn more about keyword placement techniques as discuss above that 50 percent of search queries contained four words or more.Thanks for Nice information. Cheap Flights Australia

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    avatar Angu Ransom says:

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful article. In order to do a proper key word research, we must use at least three tools. Some of my top three are Bing Key word research tool, Google key word planner and SEO profiler. SEO profiler is one of the best tool to try out because there go beyond the keywords to make your website rock.

    They issue of KeyWords is now more complicated than before. Most espacially as SEO practices is becoming more complex. And given that we all try to shape our thinking from what Google decides, the issue of long-tail keywords can better be optimized on on-page SEO than as a general concept.

    avatar wedding tips says:

    Great! I am still learning the SEO social media thing as to expanding our reach on the internet. We always use long keywords for the same, but now we found after read this article, how keywords works.

    avatar paykasa says:

    I will do everthing my web site and my keyword paykasa ı work hard to seo

    avatar John says:

    Very interesting article and something I must incorporate into SEO practices.

    this is awsome one, i will share it wid my frnds

    Very nice and informative post. Thanks for sharing your valuable ideas.

    I read this carefully. I need to make sure to maintain keyword planner to sustain the s.e.o limitation to rank in google.thanks for your info Tina appreciate it.

    Hi Tina,

    I agree with you, Keyword research and strategies have always been an integral part of SEO. This article is really useful for SEO Community.

    Thanks a lot for sharing. keep doing the great job…

    avatar Ümit says:

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    avatar AtulHost says:

    Great! now I am still learning your SEO sociable media thing As in order to expanding OUR reach for the internet. my partner and i always USE prolonged keywords to its same, but right now my partner and I found soon after read the particular article, how keywords works.

    avatar otopay says:

    Thanks For Sharing Trips

    Please tell me how to check keyword density….?

    avatar Kapil Sharma says:

    use keyword planner.

    How do I check my keyword ranking on Google?

    Great!Nice article. Thanks

    great!Thanks for sharing a great article about the keyword

    Be focused and stick to point are the key factors of writing. This article does with full retention.

    Lots of tools that can help us to get a keyword in the search engine Google. But can you tell me about the characteristics of buying keywords? CV. BKJ would be very grateful to you

    Really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Thanks for sharing useful information. keep sharing like this so i can keep myself update through this blog

    avatar women's health clinic Pretoria says:

    long tailed keywords as keyword to greater rankings but does google have to say about the stop words when using the Yoast SEO Plugin? i have read quite a number of articles about SEO but its only the Yoast Plugin that confuses me i wonder if the other plugins too offer the same tips about stop words. But thanks for sharing will keep track of this blog and many to come.

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