Keyword Research – What’s New in 2015

Keyword ResearchKeyword research is not the same now as it was in the previous years. So what has changed? In the past, Google’s Organic search results were based on the keywords on a site’s pages and in its links, and a company’s performance could be easily assessed based on how it ranked for its target keywords. This uncomplicated, one-to-one relationship which meant that liberal use of keyword could earn higher ranks, is no more. Now, the objective of researching keywords should be to provide better answers for your audience.

Traditional Research – Why Is It Irrelevant

In the former selection process using Google’s Keyword Planner tool, the focus was on the words on the lists instead of the audience. However, continuing to create content based on this pattern of research will have disastrous consequences now, resulting in low rankings, reduced traffic and search engine penalties. Producing keyword-specific information also leads to over-optimization for specific keywords, rather than focus on the user experience. Search Engine Optimization was easy!

Google’s old structure relied solely on keywords. Google placed the user’s search query into its base keyword components, and then searched the web for any sites that featured those keywords, verbatim, in their headlines and Meta information. This one-to-one relationship allowed companies to improve their rankings for specific keywords through frequency of inclusion alone. But now, the focus is on the audience.

Tips to Ensure an Effective Keyword Strategy

Here are some key points to keep in mind while developing your SEO strategy:

  • Put yourself in the customer’s shoes – Think of your customers and ask yourself “what will they search for while looking for my content”. Use those queries to address specific questions on your website. Google’s Keyword Planner shows you only the most closely related search terms. You can
    • Check competitor’s sites and blogs
    • Use Google Suggest and related searches
    • Use Word Mixer which shuffles the keywords to build more variants of phrases
    • Get long-tail keywords from forum discussions

    More keyword ideas can be collected from resources such as Wikipedia, dictionaries and a thesaurus.

  • Go semantic – Semantic search is another factor responsible for diminishing the relevance of conventional keyword research. Search engines are now smart enough to understand a searcher’s intention by determining the relationship between the words used in the search query. For example, in a search on Google for the query “How tall is the Eiffel Tower?” the actual answer appears as the first result: “310 m” in large bold print, along with an image of the building.
  • Combine similar keywords into composite groups – Grouping similar keywords will make your content strategy more efficient. Instead of a dedicated, full page of copy for every individual keyword, develop articles, blog posts or landing pages targeting a group of related keywords. Keyword groups are vital for cost-effective pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, as closely connected ad groups earn higher Quality Scores.
  • User Intent Analysis – Search results tell you exactly what people are looking for. Find what out exactly what the user wants and optimize your content based on the requirement. Content developed based on user intent can provide better results. For instance, you need to include both informational and commercial keywords in your content to enhance your search ranking. Commercial keywords target buyers who know about the product before searching for it online. They would be searching with the intent to buy or looking for particular products. Informational keywords build a relationship with prospective customers by answering the prospective customers’ questions while they’re in the information collection stage of the purchase cycle.

So tweak your keyword research strategy in keeping with changing SEO trends to attract more targeted traffic and improve your ROI.

About Monica Barber

Monica Barber

Monica Barber is the Internet Marketing Manager of MOS, a leading BPO company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She joined the MOS team in 2013 bringing with her a wealth of experience in SEO, Social Media, web design and Internet Marketing management. She has successfully designed digital marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 and small to mid-size companies and continues creating new MOS digital strategies to keep up with Google’s everchanging algorithms.