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Keyword analysis tools help you find and analyze keywords. They’re also commonly referred to as keyword research tools. The purpose of keyword research is to find the best terms to target with your content publications.
Usually, keyword research takes a good amount of time and is an extremely important part of SEO. Keyword research is what guides your entire content strategy. However, keyword analysis tools make it easier to find keyword targets.
There’s usually a cost to the more advanced keyword tools. For example, Moz’s Keyword Explorer has a keyword difficulty feature that tells you how competitive a given term is, which is useful. But, try not to be too concerned with keyword difficulty. This is because semantic search plays a massive factor in how web pages are ranked today.
How Semantic Search Affects Your Rankings On The SERPs
Back in the day, search results were entirely based on keywords, which made things easy to manipulate. Present-day they still are but AI (Artificial Intelligence) considers a variety of other factors. One of those factors is Semantic Search.
So, what is it?
Semantic search is a search engine’s attempt to produce the best results possible based on understanding searcher intent, context, and relationships between words. AI is now able to understand languages as human beings do. Also, all major search engines use some form of semantic search. Here’s an example.
Suppose we typed the following into Google. ‘How big is Mount Everest?” (Go ahead and try it). What you’ll notice is that AI returns search results that aren’t particularly optimized for that exact keyword. Essentially, you may not find the exact-match keyword within the title and/or description texts of results.
Semantic search also utilizes the following.
- The user’s location.
- Global, national, and local search history.
- Spelling variations.
- And possibly others.
Semantic Search Changed SEO a Bit
Semantic search is the main reason why you shouldn’t concern yourself all that much with certain aspects of SEO (e.g. keyword difficulty). That’s because the location of your servers, the searcher’s location, and their search history among others largely determines what Google shows them.
I like to think about it like retargeting on automation. People will naturally see your pages appear more on their searches once they interact with the website for a significant amount of time. Providing you have content that satisfies their search queries. But regardless, make sure you’re still properly optimizing your content with exact-match queries without stuffing keywords.
How to Know If a Keyword is Good to Target
There are a few ways to identify the most suitable keywords and they all begin with asking smart questions.
Is it Industry-related?
The keywords you target should be related to your industry in some way.
What is The Estimated Monthly Search Volume?
A lot of people in the SEO community will tell you to pursue low-volume keywords (e.g. 10 – 100 per month). That’s something I agreed with in the past because it lowered the number of SERP competitor’s significantly. However, today you’ll be better off targeting high volume terms because of semantic search. Though that does not mean you shouldn’t create content for low volume queries.
What Is The Intent?
Consider what the searcher is trying to archive by searching for the keyword. Does it fit with your content plan or lead you closer to objectives. For example, a keyword like “how much does SEO cost?” fits well with our blog because we also offer SEO services.
Top Keyword Analysis Tools
The following tools are what I use to find keywords.
1. Google Search Console (GSC)
This should be your go-to keyword analysis tool for tracking performance on Google. Bing has one too but since big G currently owns 90+ percent of the market share, they’ll send you the most traffic. GSC (access at google.com/webmasters) is great for analyzing the performance of existing keywords. Simply access GSC, then click on Performance, and scroll down to view Query data.
You’ll see the terms that are currently sending you web traffic. Dive deeper into data by clicking on the term. This will isolate it so you can check out which web page is ranking for the keyword, traffic origin, user devices, etc.
2. Google Trends
Google Trends (google.com/trends) shows you a visual representation of how specific search queries change with regard to demand over time. ‘Interest over time’ is measured out of 100. A high number indicates that users use a given keyword a lot. Also, make sure you’re narrowing your search by specifying a country, timeframe, category, and the kind of search platform.
3. Google Keyword Planner
I discussed Google Keyword Planner here and how to use it. Keyword Planner is one of the best free keyword analysis tools. Many paid tools get their information from Keyword Planner via API (Application Programming Interface).
4. Answer The Public
I don’t always use this tool but it’s very efficient. Answer The Public finds and group’s keywords based on the following main categories.
I recommend this tool if you’re doing a lot of keyword research to direct your content strategy (e.g. keyword research for a new site). There’s also a paid version too if you’re interested.
5. Google Correlate
This tool is part of Google Trends (google.com/trends/correlate/) and helps you identify keyword correlations. Sometimes, you’ll be surprised by the terms that come up as a correlation to your keyword.
6. Keywords Everywhere
Keywords Everywhere is by far my favorite tool and I use it almost religiously. This tool displays related terms and “people also search for” keywords as you search Google. All you have to do is install their Chrome plugin to begin.
7. Google, Bing, and Yahoo
All three major North American search engines provide related terms whenever you perform a search. You can use this feature to get even more keyword ideas. Also, it’s useful for quickly creating content without using a local keyword spreadsheet. Simply do a search and then scroll to the bottom to access related keywords. Look for “Also Try” on Yahoo. That’s where you’ll find related terms.
Do you have questions or anything to add? Let me know in the comments.