But to find success in the coming content-wars, building content that serves a purpose, and understands our audience’s intent, is to build content that lasts. And that’s not dull.
Looking to help your content stand out? Need depth to make something the search engines care about? Want to find new ways to appeal to your audience and even new audiences?
Keyword topic research is the key to building content your audience wants.
Now, there’s an argument that we don’t need keywords. That Google’s semantic understanding means they can analyse content and present it to a searcher, no matter the terms they use to describe the topic.
But keyword research helps us build better content. Content that works harder. And that does a better job at helping users.
- It gives us better knowledge of a topic, and of how our audience is searching within it. By incorporating more terms, we can catch more of our potential audience through addressing more of their questions (ask a PPC veteran if they leave to Google to choose the keywords they bid for…)
- It gives us more to write about. It helps provide the depth that the search engines often seek. Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines highlight the need for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Whether answering more common questions about our product or creating a better how-to, deeper keyword research gives us more angles
Our goal for any piece of content is to provide the best possible answer. Better keyword research gives us more insight into what our audience wants.
Got your seed list of top-level topic ideas together? It’s time for some fun.
I’ve used dozens of keyword tools over the years, and despite the challenges Google throws at us, there’s great data to find. Here’s some styles anyone can use to add some gravitas.
- Semantic variations:
Search engines are smarter, they can show content that’s relevant, even if the search phrase isn’t used.
But we can still use semantic variations and synonyms. They show new audience intents we can answer, and show the breadth of terms we’re relevant for.
First stop, a thesaurus. Sites like Thesaurus.com help us put in our keywords and quickly find variants that our audience might use instead. For example, instead of research, we might consider process, exploration or analysis.
Next, there are tools that are designed to search for semantically related terms. Sites such as LSI Graph (lsigraph.com) produce a list of phrases that are thematically linked to our seed term. These are perfect for ideas that add layers of depth to our work.
- Related searches:
The least effort to expand keyword ideas? Related searches – those we have proof Google regards as related.
At the bottom of (most) search results, we find Searches related to <keyword topic>. These are a rich seam.
Now let’s step it up. We can scrape Google Suggest – the suggestions that appear as you type into Google’s search box. We’ll find not only our topic’s most common search queries but also questions, prepositions, and purchase-intent variations.
Tools such as Ubersuggest (ubersuggest.com), Keyword Tool (keywordtool.io) and Answer The Public (answerthepublic.com) are starting points for finding fresh possibilities.
For product topics, related searches often highlight buying-intent modifiers. Sometimes they reveal some of the most important specifications or common concerns. For informational topics, they reveal questions, points of concern and the advice being sought. Expertise that you can provide with your content.
Bonus: Especially helpful for e-commerce content, you can scrape the suggestions from Amazon and Ebay. Some of the tools above offer this, as well as others such as Keyword Tools Dominator (keywordtooldominator.com) and Merchant Words. This can offer some excellent terms with true commercial intent.
- User-led keyword research
Let’s find the exact language our audience uses for our product.
Find where your audience has discussed your topic. Forums and Q&A sites such as Quora unveil the language used to describe your product, and also the questions customers face when choosing a solution, plus highlight the benefits they find most important. If they’ve asked it online, they’ve probably used it as a search query.
Amazon’s reviews and customer questions are another recipe for opportunity. Seek out common language, and the questions your content should be answering. This way you not only start using the language your audience searches with but also make your content more useful based on something more than a guess.
Don’t know where to start? Seed Keywords (seedkeywords.com) lets you set an experiment to find the language people would search with. Another great idea is to survey the public, potentially with an image of your product or the problem you solve, asking them what they’d search for.
It’s an exciting time to use keyword research for audience insight. Information that creates something memorable and enjoyed by your audience. An asset that earns links from influencers.
There’s bound to be plenty more excellent keyword research tools and ideas shared today. So, next time you develop content, expand your keyword ingredients and get building.