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Keyword Research for SEO Pays Off with Audience

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SEO keywords
© 2018 Scott Bateman

A little keyword research for the sake of search engine optimization can prevent a disastrous waste of time on content development. Why write about something that no one will find or read?

Traditional media such as newspapers and TV stations create content based on experience, judgment and common sense. Effective online media creates content based in part on something else: SEO-based keyword research.

The popularity of a keyword phrase has an important impact on a document’s ranking in search engine result pages. Otherwise, the article isn’t easy for anyone to find — if they can find it at all.

It is essential for content developers to know what terms people use when searching for information. Here’s how to do effective keyword research for search engine optimization.

Choose a Niche Topic

Maybe someone decides to write about antique desks. They simply write that article using their own expertise or information from various sources. Although search engines likely will index the article, it has a major problem with competition.

A search of “antique furniture desks” on Google produces 1,270,000 results. That’s a lot of articles about antique furniture desks.

Good keyword research will show that popular related search terms include “antique desks,” “antique secretary desks” and “antique roll top desk” among other human-friendly phrases. These three searches produce the following results on Google at the time of this writing:

  1. Antique desks — 212,000 documents
  2. Antique secretary desks — 137,000 documents
  3. Finally, antique roll top desks — 166,000 documents

Although still daunting, these phrases face far less competition than the alternative of more than 1.2 million articles. Even if the article doesn’t cover secretary and roll top desks, it might use the synonym “antique desks” in addition to “antique furniture desks” to improve its chances of being found.

Find Synonyms

Even better, come up with a list of relevant keywords or phrases and consider focusing on one that best reflects the article topic and has lower competition. But also consider using some of the other synonyms in the article. They will enhance its potential for getting found. The longer the article, the more opportunities exist for using multiple versions of the major keyword phrase.

That said, don’t overdo it and risk a penalty from keyword stuffing. Even if the heavy use of keywords doesn’t draw a penalty, the article still has readers who may find the article awkward to read. Make the use of them as natural as possible. Balance human friendly with SEO friendly.

Conduct the Research

Here are a few simple ways to do keyword research in a matter of minutes:

  1. Use the Google keyword tool:
  2. Try the SEO Book Keyword Suggestion Tool:
  3. Another good one is the SEOmoz Keyword Difficulty Tool:

If you use the Google tool, it’s important to note a few guidelines:

  1. In the top box, enter the word or phrase that is most relevant to the topic.
  2. In the second box, use the name of a Website if you want to identify keywords most relevant to that site.
  3. Narrow the results by clicking on Category in the middle and choosing the audience target.
  4. Check the box “

Depending on the tool being used, the resulting list may be displayed by relevance rather than total volume. Chasing the keyword with the highest volume of searches may end up fruitless. Don’t be afraid to concentrate on the smaller ones because they have less competition.

Create Content Based on the Research

Search engine optimizationThis is where SEO-based keyword research pays off in content development.

The final keyword phrase should be represented in the document’s title, meta description, headline (H1 tag), first paragraph, image caption, image alt tag, etc.

Prominence is important. Try as much as possible to put the keywords at the beginning or near the beginning of each placement.

The keyword should flow as smoothly as possible. An unnatural use will be jarring to readers and possibly lose effectiveness in search results.

Again, if possible, use other related keywords from the research in the article to boost results. It is surprising sometimes to see an article rank higher for a secondary keyword than for the primary one. But that suggests the primary keyword has more competition than the secondary.

Do the tactics above guarantee high rankings for every article? Not at all. Some of them will move up and others will languish. Many other factors also have an impact on article rankings. They include backlinks from authoritative internal or external pages, social signals, etc.

What matters is tracking the results and seeing which pages do better. Then concentrate marketing efforts on those pages to boost results even more.

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