Keyword research can be a very tiresome affair for content marketers. For the contemporary content marketer, keyword research is not optional because identification of the right keyword can spell the difference between a successful marketing campaign and one that has bombed.
With the right keywords, the visibility of the site can be boosted and users can be helped to find answers to search queries that are more accurate and specific.
The Evolution of Keyword Research
Keywords came into fashion at a time when you could keep on stuffing specific words into the content and trust the search engines to spot them and drive you up on the rankings whenever users searched for that particular term.
The effectiveness of keyword insertion was measured by the sheer density of its occurrence and worked for some time before search engines too grew up and realized that keyword stuffing was not giving users the answers that they really wanted.
Keyword stuffing was outlawed by the search engines and instead long-tail keywords that are a string of words came into existence. Since then Google’s Hummingbird update has further refined the process and Google is now able to factor in the semantic elements of the search term and turn up results that are more intelligent and relevant to the user’s query.
This marked the decline of the technical aspects of keywords and the search process focused more on delivering a better and more useful user experience.
Today there is no need for identifying specific keywords to be matched against user search terms. Rather, a whole host of other factors such as the intent of the user, bounce rates, and user behavior have become more important for satisfying users.
Contemporary SEO practitioners need to now focus on creating keyword-relevant content and attaining organic visibility on a sustainable basis for the creation of site authority.
Some Keyword Research Tools That Content Managers Can Use
Google: Google Suggest is perhaps one of the easiest ways of getting inspiration on the most effective long-tail keywords. What you need to do is nothing more than entering the most relevant keyword you can think of for your query into the Google search box and watch a list of suggestions coming up in a drop-down menu form. The order in which the suggestions are offered is determined by Google using multiple inputs and represents Google’s understanding of what the typical user might be searching for.
On the other hand, Google Trends offer a visual representation of search terms as they have developed over time. Besides specific queries, the keywords tool also displays information pertaining to regional interests on general topics. It is very useful for differentiating between topics that are trending, current issues, and buzzwords. Google AdWords that was developed for advertising campaign planning can also be used to obtain detailed insights into the volume of searches that assumes importance when analyzing competitor performance for specific queries.
Keyword Eye: The free plan allows you to search for 10 keywords daily, generates up to 100 suggestions for every report, and offers access to 25 country keyword databases of Google. Registration allows you to further define if you would like to receive keyword suggestion for the primary keyword, data drawn from search engines for identified keywords or alternatively search using Auto suggest. Not only can you customize the query but also have the results displayed according to your preference. Additional Amazon keyword search data can also be visualized and keyword sets directly compared across relevant metrics. Selected keywords can also be downloaded in a separate list.
Serpstat: The free tool can apply a filter for a specific keyword as well as a domain name. The keyword list thereafter can be filtered for questions only for all keywords starting with a particular search term. The tool has the advantage of being able to look at various Google domains distinctly, has auto-complete, and an option of displaying all questions or just those starting in a specified way.
Understanding how search engines identify and interpret keywords is extremely important for content marketing managers. A variety of keyword research tools can give them a better understanding how a particular search term will fare in terms of absolute performance and what the competitor activity is.
Bill Perkins is an expert SEO technologist working with a leading digital marketing agency. Bill is currently working on the development of a proprietary keywords tool that can validate the results of multiple keyword research tools available in the public domain.