March 24, 2017
The vast majority of online marketing campaigns start with a keyword research. It is simply natural — to know how to sell your product, service or content, you need to know how people look for it. How have SEO and marketing specialists done it over the years? Well, they used Google results, they analyzed their competitors, they tried different tools, etc. Then they just picked a bunch of keywords and stuffed them into titles, meta descriptions and content as often as possible. While this method can still work, we need to remember that Google always tries to make it better for its users and, therefore, always creates new algorithms that we should conform to.
The current situation suggests that the traditional keyword research is not enough. The following points will explain why.
SEO is more about people now than ever
Back in the old days, SEO was all about pleasing Google and making everything to look good in Google’s eyes. Now Google’s primary goal is to provide the most relevant content for people as possible. Thus, to please Google now, you need to wow people with your content. Texts stuffed with keywords are usually not very readable or helpful. That is why a new approach to keywords is essential.
LSI approach (latent semantic indexing)
If your goal is to go to the Google’s first page with particular terms, using traditionally-found keywords may not be enough. While it still works at the moment, Google is actively working on a new approach to indexing pages based on the relevancy of content. Google has done it before with its Google Hummingbird, an algorithm that scared all of the marketers, at least for a little while.
LSI is a new thing that everyone is talking about. It’s a smart algorithm that allows you to analyze a page and see how relevant it is to a particular keyword. This algorithm checks not only the presence of the needed keywords but also looks for synonyms and related terms. With the LSI approach, marketers see the necessity of creating high-quality content that would adequately cover a topic and contain all the necessary synonyms and sub-topics.
We need to understand that people are starting to search for things differently. For example, a couple of years ago, people would have typed ‘Italian restaurant Kansas City,’ into the search engine. Now they can just ask Google “Where can I eat delicious Italian food” and, based on their location, Google will show them Italian restaurants in Kansas City.
Google now can understand natural queries. Users often ask personal questions instead of robotic queries that consist of keywords, such as “buy car cheap Missouri.” That is why marketing and SEO specialists need to pay attention to how their target audience behaves online: what they talk about and what questions they ask. You need to analyze their comments, dialogs in support messengers, phone calls, forum topics, etc. These sources can be a great place to look for natural search queries that you may need for adapting to Google’s new algorithms.
How to search keywords
Not long ago, online marketers searched for relevant keyword phrases and then tried to stuff them into content as ia. Now that search engines have a good understanding of natural language, marketers still look for keywords but use them in texts naturally. Keyword research is still the first step of creating your semantic core. The following tips might help you do the best job considering current algorithms.
• Find your main keywords
You can do this with your traditional methods. It is crucial to have a clear idea what your site is going to be about and what pages you plan to create. Here, you need to rely on services such as Google’s Keyword Planner, because you may think that you know perfectly well how people look for your products, but there may be some popular queries you know nothing about.
Remember to broaden your search for keywords. It is essential to use several tools and search as many channels as possible. Market research can be of huge help at this point — for example, a substantial research paper can offer you many insights. And do not forget to analyze your competitors.
• Add similar keywords
When you have your primary keywords, you need to find as many relevant phrases and topics as possible. You should use the same tools that you did for finding your main keywords.
• Find relevant words
Google can now turn original human queries into standard robotic ones. The biggest search engine uses proper words for that. These are the words that create a topical context of a page and make it more relevant and informative. Beware that these are not the words you rank for.
Relevant words can be divided into two groups. The first one is the synonyms that you can use instead of your main keywords so that you don’t over-optimize your content. Real users understand what you are trying to say using the words “clinic,” “hospital” and “infirmary.” Google won’t consider a page irrelevant if you use synonyms instead of the constant repeating of just one term.
The second group is co-occurring words. These are the words and phrases often found on pages relevant to a specified query. To find co-occurrence words, you can just type in a query and analyze the first five results. You can use a keyword cloud tool for that.
Well, that’s about it. The main point is that you now need to concentrate not only on what Google wants from a site or a page but also on what people want. No one is saying that you should stop researching keywords. The point is, you ought to change the way you search and analyze them.
William Sarto is a content marketer and passionate blogger. He loves to share knowledge and experience in his articles describing all new techniques and methods appearing in digital marketing. Feel free to contact him by e-mail or stay tuned via Twitter or G+.