Keywords have taken some major blows over the last two or three years which have resulted in some maturation with how the SEO industry uses and researches keywords. The bundling of phrases based on intent and relevance is a trend that has been growing in popularity which jives nicely with how search is gaining in complexity based on device type.

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I see 2016 focusing less on targeting singular keywords in favor of building clusters of related keywords. We’re no longer going to silo ourselves into one keyword strategy but rather look more holistically at all of our keyword targets and how they can play off of each other.

Keyword research is at the core of any SEO, PPC or content marketing campaign. If you aren’t bidding on or using the right keywords, you’re not serving the right content to the right audience at the right stage in the buyer journey. This means less traffic, leads, customers…and dollars.

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Keyword research is changing because search engines are changing how they view and analyze keywords. With the shift toward semantic search as well as the release of the Hummingbird algorithm, Google is becoming more attuned to the intent of a search query rather than the words comprising it. As such, valuable content that’s shared and creates buzz is more important than keywords or keyword density. Of course, if a page of content doesn’t contain the words that the user searched for, it’s less likely to display in search results.

When we talk about a competitor’s keywords, we’re typically referring to both the keywords that your competitor ranks well for in search results, as well as the keywords your competitor is targeting but has failed to rank well for.

While things have certainly changed over the years in terms of keywords, keyword research remains the undisputed foundation of all search marketing. Understanding the interests and linguistic trends of potential traffic is a critical, though often under-addressed, function of SEO strategy.

The good news is, you don’t have to be a search engine scholar to rank for valuable terms in search results. Through the FREE training offers HERE, you can start making the difference.

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