Keyword research is a valuable step in the SEO process in which webmasters dedicate extensive time in order to select the best keywords for a campaign. Searching for the best keywords involves finding words that are relevant, words that web audiences are searching for, and words with competition.
But, with the recent launch of Google's webspam algorithm, Penguin, proper keyword selection is important more than ever. Long gone are the days of single keywords. Now Google is on the lookout for related phrases and more descriptive keywords in order to know exactly what people are searching for. Using related phrases helps give search engine crawlers a better idea as to what content to yield in the SERPs and how to index it. For example, if you were to type in the word "bike" into Google, Google wouldn't know if you were referring to a training wheel bike, mountain bike, or a Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Here are three steps to follow to help you select the best keywords that meet Penguin's criteria:
- Create a list of basic keywords
First, pretend the Penguin algorithm doesn't exist at the moment. Instead, focus on what keywords you would target right off the bat. Select words that cater directly to a product or service you're looking to target.
- Expand these keywords
After you select the core keywords, expand upon them. Using the above example regarding bikes, the keyword "mountain bikes" would be an expanded keyword. Also, you want to think about what web audiences are searching for. While the words may not be directly related to the targeted keywords, they will have the same concept, helping to support your targeted keyword.
- Develop keyword questions
What some webmasters may overlook is that people don't use search engines just to type in words, but they also type questions in search engines. Think about the types of questions web audiences would have concerning a product or service. Referring back to the bike example, a keyword question could be, "where to buy mountain bikes."
It's important to stress that webmasters should think of web audiences first and search engines second when performing keyword research. While you want search engines to pick up a site, you want web audiences to utilize the site and turn a reader into a customer. Also, these are not only great ways to find the best keywords, but also help in the brainstorming process regarding article concentration.