Ah, keyword research. This used to be the cornerstone, if not the very mortar, of a great SEO campaign. If you had keyword research done right, you were able to totally dominate your competition. You were able to build traffic using low competition, decent traffic, exact match terms. You only need to backlink to the pages you created around these longtail terms. Sadly, just with any great discovery involving online marketing, this was abused. The Internet quickly filled up with low quality thin content sites that existed solely to poach the traffic that searched particular longtail keywords. The thinking was right on-build a huge river of traffic by aggregating many small streams of traffic generated around longtail keywords. The problem is the end objective and the implementation. The end objective by these SEO abusers was to rack up a huge amount of cash in no time. They were willing to use crappy content to achieve those ends. Can you see where this was headed? The truth of the matter is that Google’s Penguin and Panda updates were attempts to clean up the content quality of the Internet due to the proliferation of bad websites. Sadly, keyword research was the cornerstone of this sorry episode and, as a result, classic keyword research techniques to get traffic is no longer as effective as before.
Finding competition levels
What makes keyword research difficult in the post-Penguin and post-Panda age is the fact that you just don’t know if you are getting the right information. Market Samurai and similar tools are still effective, after all they help you to have all information in one place. Look for keywords with low competition but about 3,000 monthly searches. Make also sure that your keyword includes a buying intention. For example, a word like “palm trees info” won’t make any money for you. A person searching for that keyword is more likely looking for information about palm trees. But when someone looks for “cheap blue jeans” he has a high intention to buy.
Focus on themes and connections not specific words
Another key trend that any would-be SEO maven should keep in mind is that, thanks to Latent Semantic Indexing, search engines are no longer slaves to fixed keywords. Instead, search engines like Google are looking for connections and relationships between keywords. Instead of using keyword research to focus on one keyword, you should focus on themes instead. The downside to this is that you don’t know how much these are worth. You can get a sense of overall or approximate value by cross referencing their buzz level on social media sites and their Adwords value.
Tools such as Market Samurai can be a tremendous help to make the right decisions when doing keyword research. However, they won’t give them to you on a silver plate. If you spend a good amount of time on keyword research, you are on your way to success. There is not much more important than choosing the right keyword before you set up your site.