Keyword research has changed substantially in the last few years and we’re keeping up with the changes so that you can tackle this job efficiently and get on with that mile-long list of to-dos that running a business require.

1. Beyond AdWords Keyword Planner

In the past, this could be your end-all for keyword research. No more. The AdWords Keyword tool now hides data, so you need to go further. First, complement Adwords Keyword Planner analysis using Google Suggest and related searches. Second, brainstorm with your customers and employees for further keywords. Once you’ve collected these additional words, input them into AdWords for a more comprehensive and accurate list.

Google Trends is another effective tool for a different type of keyword research. Instead of commercial terms based on suggested bids that the Keyword planner gives us (generally for AdWords campaigns), Google Trends will give more contextual and no commercial keywords based on actual news and the freshest content, this can be very useful when generating original content based on those specific keywords.

Trends on USA travelBased on trends and interest over time.

ad planner - USA travelBased on suggested bid & Avg. Monthly searches on exact keyword based on the date range and targeting.

2. Consolidate Pages with Intent

As covered in 6 Quick SEO Tips for 2016, understanding user intent has become key for your SEO initiatives – including keywords research.

The key concept to adopt is that for different keywords matching same intent Google will resolve with the same content. That’s different from the past, when we almost had to build a different page for each different keyword. So, we need to understand which keywords can be group under the same intent, and then build pages for each intent.

An example can be the different search queries regarding “computer” related keywords and “laptop” related keywords. Since both are really looking for the same thing we must optimize the same landing page to include these keyword terms as relevant. Although these might be different, they represents the same basic idea, as computer can be searched as a generic of laptop.

3. Head Terms & Long Tail Keywords

Not sure what we mean? A head term is a keyword search that is generally shorter and more generic such as “swimming.” A long tail keyword is longer and more specific like “swimming lessons in Tucson.” Although head terms usually provide a greater volume of searches, long tail keywords produce more desirable traffic. Long tail keywords can be much more profitable at the end, usually are associated with lower bidding costs. A good mix of head terms and long tail keywords is the idea.

4. Competition

First, if your competitors are ranking for the same keywords you are, you know you are on the right track and should push harder for higher ranking on those terms. Second, if you are ranking for keywords that your competitors have not included, these provide you a unique opportunity to own market share on that terms.

There are several online tools to take advantage of the Competitors keyword research like compete.com or semrush.com. But before you start using these tools make good use of the old excel spreadsheet where you will put your keywords and the competitor who´s ranking for those.

Sem Rush

Semrush user interface

5. Focus on Rich Content

With the introduction of Hummingbird in 2013, everything changed in keyword search. Gone are the days of incorporating keywords into your site as many times as possible. Instead, rich content now produces the most desirable traffic. Avoid keyword stuffing.

It’s all about what your audience is expecting to read (or watch). If your audience doesn’t care about your content, they will leave your website and Google is watching hurting your page relevance to the search query, which may hurt your page ranking next time.

Try to connect with your audience. Remember, always write for your audience, never for search engines.

6. Squeeze Value From Your Spreadsheets

If you’ve been doing keyword research for any length of time, you probably have a spreadsheet going to track it all. But are you using this tool to its fullest extent? In his posts, Rand Fishkin (SEO guru) suggests adding in the following metrics: difficulty, opportunity, business value, requirements or options, and prioritization.

By evaluating keywords from all of these angles, you will see tangible improvement in your research efficiency.

7. Think Small to Think Big

With the increasing use of the voice search, many keyword searches have a greater local element. For example, on their PC someone might search “iPhone repair Orlando,” but using voice search their search changes to “iPhone repair near me.” How should you change your keyword search to accommodate this change? First, check local listings for your firm (i.e. Yelp) to ensure their information is correct. Also, utilize Google+ and confirm that your keyword search terms include local reference.

Local SEO for business

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