So what is keyword research?

You’ve no doubt heard about what it supposedly takes to get a site ranked in Google and other search engines, but you have no real idea of what it takes to get any sort of results.

There is a real grass roots approach to search engine optimisation that most SEO companies, agencies and “pro’s” seem to ┬áconsistently overlook. There are simple ways of doing SEO that will give small gains in rankings and visibility, but these simple methods generally aren’t any way of guaranteeing solid, predictable or long term rankings. Many people pay to get their website “SEO’d” and most of the time all they receive is a simple “audit”, some basic link services and a pat on the back. Most of the time there is no accountability taken on by the SEO service provider and at the end of the day this is really not a great deal of good for anyone.

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Learning how to properly research keywords. But why?

The long and the short of it is that if you aren’t building content that is relevant to both what your site is designed to do and what people are searching for then you are taking stabs in the dark. Proper content creation revolves around a merging of building content based on trending searches and building content that people actually want to read. There is a delicate balance between building content for machines and building content for people, but both are totally possible and are actually both required.

So where to start?

Starting to build content requires a pretty good understanding of how people are searching in your niche. Generally speaking most online tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner only offer half a service as search volumes paint part of a picture. Google search itself, however, can help broaden the comb of research in the swamp of information that is the Internet, and using it is pretty straightforward. Many SEO “gurus” like to peddle half-baked methods of uncovering “hidden” keywords people are using to find information, but the reality is that search trends are actually pretty straightforward to understand and exploit.

I’d recommend that you start by looking for high level keywords that have a lot of possible variations. Google is constantly on a mission to find high quality information for its users to find and absorb. You need to find the keywords Google likes for your niche and try and build content that encompasses as many of the relative keywords as possible. This isn’t the same as building content littered with every keyword imaginable like times of old, it differs in that it is a much more subtle “human” way of optimising content for searches. Begin by using the Keyword Planner to find a general idea of which keywords relate to your niche and its specific keyword possibilities. Start at a high level, for example “home gardening”, and keep looking until you start to find keywords which have lower search volumes, but are of a more natural nature. “How to garden at home” would be a good example of a human keyword, and Google is progressively taking more and more notice of this sort of keyword formation, both from a searcher’s perspective as well as what is found in content.

The trick is to create content which contains subtle but different variations of many long formed keywords. “How to garden at home”, “learn how to home garden”, “how to grow tomatoes at home” etc, are all keywords which would be searched for by humans and would be easier to optimise for than shorter more “indirect” search keywords.