Keyword research is not (or shouldn’t be) just about creating a list of keyword phrases a surfer uses when performing a search. Using just a few SEO tools to create a keyword list, you won’t research much.
The deeper you understand the topic, the richer your content becomes and the more “occasional” search referrals (those you didn’t optimize for) you are likely to get. Let’s take a look at what you should / could pay attention to when analyzing your site core terms:
1. The core term derived words:
What words of the same root are there? How are they used?
Online dictionaries are the best sources for this information:
- Merriam Webster online dictionary lists any word derivations along with most often used word combinations;
- The free dictionary offers a comprehensive list of derived words and definitions for each of them.
2. Your core term word combinations:
What phrases usually contain the keyword?
- Conventional keyword research tools (Wordtracker, Google Adwords) do exactly this: they list word combinations containing your term and rank them by popularity among search engine users.
- L3xicon.com is another tool to add to your arsenal: it lists popular word combinations as well related terms and definitions for each word entered.
- Keyword Map also lists some generally used keyword phrases as well represents them on a “map”.
3. The core term lexical environment:
What words often accompany your core term in the context? How do the contexts differ?
I did a guest post on researching keyword context last week. The two most useful tools to do that are:
- Search Cloudlet (reviewed by me previously): it generates a tag cloud of words found in SERP for your core term search. The tag cloud is generated based on words in titles and text snippets. The search snippet is created based on the search term closest environment; so by extracting words used in snippets, you get the list of word that are often used in the same context with your core term. If you set Google to show 100 results per page to give the tool more data to analyze, you’ll get more accurate results.
- Twitter Search: it’s value is about searching the live conversations and thus seeing your core term as used by your readers and listeners.
4. The core term synonyms
What words are there of similar meaning? How do they differ?
Synonyms make our writing richer and more varied. Besides, by using synonyms you cover a broader scope of possible search queries.
Just a few tools to research synonyms include:
- Google Adwords External tool (put a tick on “Use synonyms“);
- Synonym.com groups synonyms based on the core term meanings.
- Rhyme Zone lists synonyms in a cloud-like way with most popular in bold.