Keywords aren’t dead, it’s how we use them that has changed.

By Christian Carere

We have simply replaced the idea of ranking for a single keyword with the concept of ranking for a keyword topic. The irony of this is that optimizing for keyword topics requires finding as many keywords as possible. Crafting content that performs well in the search results requires effective keyword research.

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is a process that measures the most effective phrases typed into a search engine by people searching for your product or service. The objective is to identify a group of related words that will contribute to optimizing a page for a specific audience so that your website appears for any searches that relate to the same or similar search intent.

How important is keyword research?

The process uncovers words, phrases and topics most relevant to your business. Many of these words and phrases will influence the content you produce because they bring to light many related issues and subtopics that enhance the optimization of a page. By reinforcing your content with as many anticipated questions and answers you increase the ability of your page to satisfy search intent.

How do I perform keyword research?

  1. Choose a seed keyword
  2. Perform a technical analysis
  3. Create a long tail key phrase
  4. Create relevant keyword subheadings
  5. Group by search intent

Choose a seed keyword

Choosing your main keyword is as simple as describing what your business offers. Make a list of as many words as you can think of that describes the main item or service you are promoting in the page you’re creating.

Mainstream keywords attract more competition. Being creative can pay off in dividends. There are many ways to describe a single item and by coming up with a list of variations of the same word you may uncover a diamond in the rough-which is a keyword that will convert well, with high volume and low competition.

Perform a technical analysis

Use a keyword tool to get the values necessary for completing a technical analysis. To make a technical analysis you will need the values for monthly traffic, keyword difficulty, cost per click. Paid tools will provide more helpful information such as the organic click-through rate, but you can make an accurate assessment using free keyword tools such as Ubersuggest.

Plug in your keywords and get values to compare them against each other. Choose the best keywords by balancing the highest search volume and CPC with the lowest competition.

Create a long-tail keyphrase

Long-tail keywords are less competitive than their counterparts and tend to convert at a much higher rate. Using long tail keywords allows you to get more specific with what you’re optimizing your page, which in turn, filters your traffic. Additional words in a key phrase narrows the scope of your traffic and focuses on attracting visitors looking for what you offer.

To some it may seem counterintuitive to “filter” traffic but the old saying “the more the merrier” doesn’t apply when it comes to good onsite metrics and user experience. By targeting the people that are genuinely in need of what your business offers, you create a more enjoyable user experience for the majority of visitors to your site.

Why drive traffic that consists of people who aren’t going to become clients or even worse-they immediately back out of your site because the search term they originated from was too vague to determine that your supply didn’t meet their demand. If your site is optimized for picture frames but you only offer wooden picture frames-you don’t need traffic with people looking for metal picture frames. The truth is that type of traffic will do more harm than good to your website.

When a user lands on your site and then backs out without clicking further, it contributes to a higher bounce rate. The bounce rate is one of the metrics Rankbrain measures when determining ranking between websites. Other metrics include the length of time visitors spend on your site and the click-through rate your site receives. Long tail keywords will help weed out traffic that is of no use to your website and attract more users who are more engaged in your keyword topic. Higher engagement means better metrics which leads to an improved ranking.

Create relevant keyword subheadings

At this stage, you have a list of keyword synonyms (your first task) and a descriptive long tail keyword that identifies your product, service and the object of desire of your ideal visitor. The next step is to find out everything that your prospect could possibly want to know about your product to create content that satisfies search intent.

Type your keyword into Google’s search engine and write down the questions you find in “People also ask” box, that are relevant to your keyword topic. This box of questions can provide you with popular search terms that will add to the depth of your content. Make a list of everything you find that would be of interest to your ideal visitor.

Next, type in [your keyword] + forums and visit the forums that are related to your keyword topic. Scan the threads for questions being asked as topics as they are indicators of topics that hit home with your target audience. Make a list of the questions and topics that can be used to enhance the article or content for which you are optimizing.

Group by search intent to create quality content

The list you create from researching live searches and keyword related forums should be fairly extensive so you will need to group the phrases and questions by search intent. Many of these questions will make excellent subheadings because they represent a legitimate need for a solution.

The research you do should uncover as many details about the problems people encounter in their lives. People love content that provides answers to their problems. Cover a wide range of issues and present the solution within your page. Take it another step further and present an anticipated problem with a solution in order to cover a keyword topic in its entirety and effectively satisfy search intent.


The standards for creating top performing pages are based on how well your content meets the demands of the person performing the search. Effective keyword research makes it possible to uncover the details that help cover a topic with depth and clarity. When the content you create solves the problems of a visitor you are able to connect with them on a level that builds trust, confidence in your brand.

Christian Carere is an SEO consultant and founder of Digital Ducats Inc. Christian specializes in search engine optimization services that allow businesses more opportunities to convert visitors to clients.

Keywords stock photo by FuzzBones/Shutterstock