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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 won’t be easily found — or not found at all.

Here’s how to do it.

First Choose the Topic

Maybe someone decides to write about antique desks. So they simply write that article based on the information from various sources. Although the article is likely to be indexed by search engines, it won’t necessarily be found.

A search of “antique furniture desks” on Google produced 1,270,000 results, which is a daunting level of competition.

But keyword research would reveal that popular related search terms include “antique desks,” “antique secretary desks” and “antique roll top desk” among other keyword phrases. These three searches produced 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. Antique roll top desks — 166,000 documents.

These phrases face far less competition than the alternative. Even if the article does not cover secretary and roll top desks, it might use the phrase “antique desks” rather than “antique furniture desks” to improve its chances of being found.

Even better, come up with a list of relevant keywords or phrases. Consider focusing on one that best reflects the article topic and has lower competition. But also consider using some of the other keywords in the article to 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.

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 be fruitless. Don’t be afraid to concentrate on the smaller ones because they have less competition.

Create Content Based on the Research

This 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.

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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