Keyword Research: You’re Doing It Wrong

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Back in the day (read: five years ago), keyword researching was all the rage for any website that wanted good ranking. The results of that research were keyword-laden articles that weren’t really all that useful to the reader but did accomplish the task of ranking and getting clicks.

Fast forward to 2015, and everything has changed. Well, everything except for the SEO “experts” who are stuck in the past. Today, keyword research is still important enough, but there’s so much more that you should be focusing on.

Out With the Old, In With the Common Sense

Google’s algorithm for search results has changed drastically over the last few years, so if you’re still writing and working as you did before, you’re definitely not seeing the results you’d like. As a matter of fact, depending on how careless you are being with keyword stuffing and backlinking, you’re probably being punished by the search engine giant.

What you need to do is break out of the molds that worked yesterday and focus on what’s working today. And what’s that? Listening to your audience.

What Does Your Reader Want?

These days, the question you should be asking yourself is, “What does my reader want?” Once you have the answer to that question, you should give it to them. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t also employ a little keyword research to help boost search results, but it does mean that you shouldn’t be writing around keywords anymore.

What recent Google updates have shown us is that those sites and pages that are authoritative and helpful are the ones that are going to rank highest. This means that when you produce content, you should be focusing on giving the reader what they want and doing it better than anyone else.

And What Does Your Reader Want to Do?

Once you understand what your reader wants, you have to determine what your reader wants to do. When someone searches “Super Bowl”, they’ll want to do one of two things: learn or buy.

So, you know that they want information about football, now you have to determine if they want to learn more about the Super Bowl or if they are looking to purchase football-related items.

After you’ve determined which action they want to take, you need to build content around that. If readers are looking to learn, create copy that isn’t trying to sell them anything. Set out to educate them and provide them with all the information that they seek. On the other hand, if the reader wants to buy, you need to beef up your sales pages and give them access to whatever it is they want to spend their cash on.

No matter how much the internet and consumer habits change, certain things will remain true. So long as we have to use words to search the internet, keywords will always play some role in how we structure our content. However, how we approach and use keywords will constantly change, and you need to stay up-to-date if you want to survive.

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