Comprehensive content, a tone of voice, storytelling, punchy texts, surplus value, social signals…
While all these big words swallow up the digital marketing world today, one tiny detail sobs in the corner of your marketing strategy.
In 2018, search engines are smart and more concentrated on behavioral factors, so we sometimes belittle the role of keywords. SEO specialists know that anchors matter, but – afraid of keyword stuffing penalties – they struggle to broaden SEO far beyond this core instrument.
They reshape market- and customer-defining descriptors for better rankings, so today we have tons of keyword types to include into SEO texts for content optimization.
And here comes the problem:
Given that SEO copywriters then need to mix all those keywords in the texts so they would please Google and, what’s more important, communicate the marketing message to live audience, three questions appear:
- What are those new-generation keywords to consider for better rankings?
- What about their density per one content asset?
- How to mix them in the text so it would sound relevant to search engines and yet natural to the audience?
Let’s get right to it.
5 Keyword Types You Need for SEO Strategy
Doing SEO is easy:
All you need to do is choose market- and product-defining keywords, optimize your web page for them, and build as many backlinks as possible to that page for Google to light it up with relevance and top position in SERP.
Well, for an SEO junior – maybe; for an SEO middle – possibly; but for an SEO professional – not quite! Marketing specialists know that keywords are our everything, but they also know this everything is far from sluggish: keywords grow, develop, and reshape all the time.
To overtake competitors and win Google, you need keywords types other than the most obvious ones. Though market-defining anchors still rule, they aren’t enough for your web page to stand out from the crowd.
When researching keywords, developing the structure for them on your site, and building your backlink strategy, keep in mind the five “hidden” keyword types.
And then, mix them all for higher rankings.
I won’t reinvent the wheel if say that Google Hummingbird has changed the game rules for SEO. Thanks to it (okay, Panda took part in the battle, too), Google focuses on context rather than content today.
In plain English, it can understand the topic from lexical items surrounding your exact keywords. And it can rank your page for a particular query even if you don’t mention it in your content.
To help Google do it right, consider niche aka LSI keywords to include into your SEO texts.
Semantically related to your main query, they allow search engine robots to determine the relationship between terms and concepts in content.
Let’s say you have a page about “cars” on your website. How can Google understand what you are talking about there?
Thus, LSI keywords “movie,” “Pixar,” “premiere,” “review,” and alike make it clear: you write about the well-known computer-animated film.
LSI words such as “wheel,” “buy,” “tuning,” or “sale” suppose writing about a vehicle. And lexical items such as “music,” “rock,” “studio,” and “album” will let Google know you speak about the popular rock band.
How do niche keywords increase your ranking?
- Search engine trust. Google loves content with LSI keywords in it because they indicate your competence in the sphere. The logic is simple: the more associations (LSI words) you know, the more professional you are.
- Bounce rate reduction. Search engines will understand your texts better and, therefore, show them to the target audience only.
- Longer dwell time. People do like comprehensive and well-structured content, so they will read rather than scan or scroll it, spending more time on your web page.
- Higher rankings. Using LSI lexical items, you will rank for more keywords, not just your main one.
- Less spam. LSI keywords will help to diversify your core keyword and avoid using vague words and wateriness in content.
- More links. Donors will more likely backlink to your web page if find in-depth and professionally written content there.
- Long-term benefits. The more engaging content you create with the help of LSI keywords, the more difficult it will be for competitors to overtake you in rankings. It’s the case when the skyscraper technique doesn’t work.
That’s all well and fine, but how can you find and choose LSI keywords to include into your content?
LSI has little to do with regular keywords. It demands rich vocabulary, collocations, and word combinations. Paraphrasing a self-same statement is not an option, so consider several tools to enhance your LSI writing skills.
The first and most obvious one is Google Search together with its related searches. Put your target keyword into a box and check all queries people use when searching for it:
Then, do the same with related searches:
Another one to try is LSI Graph, a tool specifically created for LSI words search. Insert your keyword, and… ta da:
It’s not about keywords stuffing or spamming but working with context for efficient marketing results.
When choosing LSI keywords, keep in mind your main one; and don’t stuff content with every LSI word the tool provides: if it doesn’t look natural, skip it.
As for the latter, it’s a free tool from Neil Patel. Easy to navigate, it generates suggestions for popular search queries and illustrates their search volume, CPC, and competition.
Niche keywords in your content will help Google better understand and match it with your target audience. It will lead to better traffic quality and search ranking. Another pleasant bonus is a diverse vocabulary to overcome writer’s block and avoid words repetition.
To make it easier for search engines to scan your content, include LSI words close to your target keywords and mention them in headings, introduction, and conclusion of your text.
Analyzing competitors and keywords they use for ranking is smart, but you can go further and… create own keywords, which will be exclusive to your project and allow winning SERP automatically.
These keywords are your brand name and words associated with it, as well as user-generated lexical items your audience use when looking for answers in Google:
- The brand name mentions in content will help search engines and users associate it with the niche and, therefore, build awareness and trust.
- The user-generated keywords often differ from those given by tools, so including them in content titles and body allows you to cover keywords missed by competitors.More than that, you will answer the questions of potential customers, generating quality search traffic to your web page.
To find them, go to Q&A websites or forums where your target audience messes around. What words do they use to describe problems? What questions do they ask?
The Reddit Keyword Research Tool will help here, too. Use it to find low competition keywords, better understand your buying personas, and generate a bigger list of “hidden” keyword alternatives for your content.
Choose a related subreddit from the list, and get keywords variants:
If you are the author of some strategy related to your niche, you can use its name as a keyword as well. A palmary example here is Brian Dean with his skyscraper technique:
Once appeared, it has become an independent keyword generating organic traffic and backlinks to Brian’s website.
And now, for the most interesting part:
Pay attention to a “position zero” of SERP in the above screenshot. Brian has won this Google snippet with his keyword, and you can do the same with yours if considering users’ questions in your niche. Neil Patel described the trick in his article on successful SEO formulas:
- Take the audience question.
- Write it word for word in a subheading of your content.
- Answer it as simple and clear as you can: step-by-step guides work best here.
To get benefit from “hidden” keywords, make sure to include them in headlines and introductions of your content.
Long tail keywords
Known as “unpopular” and “very specific” search queries, these keywords generate tons of traffic and influence rankings because they help to optimize content around your topic more precisely.
And that’s exactly what Google needs!
Its algorithms are smart enough to group long tail keywords into subtopics, making your content more relevant and, therefore, worth higher rankings.
The problem with long tail keywords:
It’s easy for SEO specialists to miss them, as such queries might have zero search volume. Yet, around 40% of all search traffic comes from long tails! It would be amiss not consider them, right?
What you need to do is reshape your strategy a little to please Hummingbird and Panda: don’t focus on ranking for a particular long-tail keyword, but concentrate on the topic around it. Research depth and a full treatment of a subject will allow Google to associate multiple keywords to your post.
To find long tail keywords in your niche, consider:
- “Searches related to…” in Google.
- Popular forums in your industry. Strings a la [“keyword” + “forum”] or “keyword” + “board”] will help.
- Soolve.com to get keyword suggestions from Amazon, YouTube, Answers, and Google Suggest.
- Answer The Public, Google Trends, Google Correlate, Quora, and KeywordTool.io.
Influencers’ name keywords
Why not use your industry thought leaders’ names as keywords? You won’t put them in home title tags, but known and respected individuals in your market segment still can help rankings.
- Mention their names in content.
- Cite and reference them.
- Include their names in titles when appropriate.
This way, you start ranking for their names and grow your content’s chances for rich backlinks.
Opinion leaders in your content can help to attract targeted traffic as well as grow and add value to your brand. Not to speak of networking and overall influencer marketing, of course.
They are keywords you can take from closely related niches but with clear connections to your audience.
The best thing about related vertical keywords is they belong to industries that aren’t in direct competition with you, which gives you free rein:
- You might create a partnership with related markets.
- You will diversify a keyword profile.
- You can directly ask them for link exchange, as it’s obviously a win-win situation.
- You might target a wider audience with vertical keywords and even build a strong community of like-minded individuals, which has its SEO benefits as well.
Include them to subheadings and conclusion of your content: it will allow the audience to understand if it’s relevant to their search query, and search engines will rank it accordingly.
Vertical keywords have more to do with your creativity and storytelling skills. For them to look and sound natural in content, generate engaging articles, relevant for both your and related niche.
To find such keywords, use competitive as well as business partners analysis. Analyzing their keywords, you can identify vertical markets to work with.
Also, you can try the content matrix technique to come up with vertical keywords. At least, you will know what niches to analyze for keywords and audience in order to determine their relevance to your market.
How does it work?
Take your core topic and use three measurements – generalization, specification, and similarity – to scale vertical products and niches.
- First, generalize it as much as possible.
- Then, break it into micro-niches.
- Think on as many associations as possible to make connections between your topic and seemingly unrelated market.
As a result, you’ll have a list of niches to analyze and choose related vertical keywords for own SEO campaign.
For professional SEO, it’s as clear as daylight:
Despite endless debates on the topic and numerous tools calculating a keyword density of your content, it doesn’t influence its awesomeness and position in SERP: with over 100 search engine ranking factors, Google moved on from this one far long ago.
That makes sense:
Concentrating on a keywords number to include into content, writers will forget about the core purpose: relevance, comprehensiveness, and problem-solving.
And yet, it would come in handy for SEO copywriters to know the principles of a keyword density and be able to calculate it.
It would help to avoid keyword stuffing, duplications of the existing content assets on the topic, and balderdash aka wishy-washy writing.
In return, it would help to consider in-depth research, alternative types of keywords for a text, and engaging writing with hooks, bucket brigades, and storytelling with its alternative techniques to make consumers care.
Calculating a keyword density in their texts, copywriters will see if they need to revise something for the content piece to look and sound better.
How to calculate a keyword density if you are a non-techie?
The formula is simple. You can find different variations on the web, but this one seems more precise, doesn’t it?
Here’s the interpretation:
- Density is for a keyword density.
- Nkr is for a key-phrase number in the content.
- Nwp is for a number of words in a key-phrase.
- Tkn is for a total number of words in the content.
Feed a Pigeon!
A poor on-page SEO is what Pigeon won’t forgive you in 2018. It sounds obvious, but yet the few specialists consider ALL factors to use on a website for search engines and visitors to love it.
Brian Dean from Backlinko nailed it when shared the checklist with practical on-page strategies for SEO specialists to follow. These 16 key factors, when embraced, will help to create a perfectly optimized page:
To make a long story short, here’s (yes, again, to remember once and for all) where to include the aforementioned five types of “hidden” keywords:
- Niche keywords: headings, alts, close to target keyword, introduction, and conclusion.
- Brand and user-generated keywords: headings, introduction.
- Long-tail keywords: content body.
- Influencers’ name keywords: content body, quotes, titles if relevant. Also, pay attention to arguments and the overall tone of your message when mentioning opinion leaders and their statements: stay polite.
- Vertical keywords: subheadings, content body, conclusions.
Hardcore SEO copywriters know the secrets of making those keywords “invisible” to users. Your content shouldn’t look like a bag of unrelated words and statements, and it shouldn’t sound like an attempt to sell a pup.
And the cherry on top of your content to consider is its structure. Unrelated to direct SEO, it still influences behavioral factors and, therefore, your overall rankings.
Before publishing a content asset and growing its backlinking profile, make sure to avoid blunders able to kill your best marketing writings: remember about the color-contrast ratio and right align, consider spacing and font size, and forget about large text fields.
SEO in 2018 is still about comprehensive content and links: you won’t get links without appealing content, and you won’t rank high in Google without high-quality links.
But what SEO specialists need to remember about great content in 2018 is the fact it goes far beyond market-defining keywords and tons of meta tags for Google robots to find it.
Search engines are for people, not your SEO ambitions now.
The irony is that SEO ambitions are what helps your project rank high:
By smart mixing alternative keyword types in content, you start generating and optimizing pages for people, not engines; and you start informing your target audience rather than feeding them with ads.
So, every time before publishing, imagine yourself a reader:
Do you like this content; would you share it?
And, last but not least:
Did you do your best to mix keywords in the content for it to rank high?
About the Author: Lesley J. Vos is an SEO copywriter and blogger behind PlagiarismCheck.org. Her texts on writing craft and content marketing serve to help peers develop the confidence and skills for better articles creation and promotion. Follow Lesley on Twitter to discover the power of words in the digital world.