Let’s look at a quick example. Say we want to optimize a page that gives a description and a recipe for making gluten-free vegan oatmeal cookies.
- Our thesis statement for the page can be simple: This recipe makes a gluten-free vegan oatmeal cookie that tastes as good as a regular one.
- Potential questions this page might answer: Is there such a thing as a gluten-free vegan oatmeal cookie? Could a gluten-free vegan oatmeal cookie possibly taste as good as a regular one? Is there a recipe for a gluten-free vegan oatmeal cookie?
- Potential search queries include: Gluten-free vegan oatmeal cookies; vegan gluten free oatmeal cookies; tasty gluten free vegan oatmeal cookies; gluten free vegan oatmeal cookie recipe; or recipe for gluten free vegan oatmeal cookie.
You now have a list of potential keywords. Next, go to one of the best tools in the keyword space, and that’s Google’s keyword planner.
Keyword Planner will give you an estimate, based on real data, of the total number of searches performed on that keyword or keyword phrase each month. You’ll also get a list of up to 800 keywords that are similar to what you entered. That said, SEO maverick Rand Fishkin on the Moz blog suggests you don’t overly rely on Keyword Planner to identify your keywords because it is too imprecise and opportunities could be missed.
Instead, he suggests that if you have the resources to purchase “with something that is driven by clickstream data, like Ahrefs or SEMrush or Keyword Explorer. Even Google Search Suggest and related searches plus Google Trends tend to be better at capturing more of this.”
Next, refine your choices by honing that longer list and only picking the best of the best. Ultimately, you want no fewer than two and no more than eight keywords for your target page. The single most relevant will be your primary keyword, and the remainder will be supporting keywords.
To narrow your list, you’ll want to delete keywords or keyword phrases that don’t sound natural, that sound like ad speak, or that mention a competing brand by name.
Next comes identifying your primary keyword. Your primary keyword may not be the most popular, but it should be the one that best describes what your page is about. When it does that, you know your page will meet the searcher’s specific needs.
As we’ve mentioned, Google is always tweaking their algorithms. One change on the horizon relates to Googles’ recent related entities patent. According to the SEO plugin tool, Yoast, “The biggest implication of the related entities patent is that the exact matching of a search query will become less important. Concepts, words and things related to a specific topic will become more important.”