guide to mastering keyword research 2024

2024 Guide to Mastering Keyword Research | Top Strategies and Tools

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While everything in the digital world changes, there’s a reason why SEO still operates on the principle of keywords. No, they’re not some obscure technical term that only digital marketing strategists use. Instead, it’s just a technical term that SEO experts use for phrases that internet users are the most likely to use in their Google search.

The keyword research is nothing other than trying to figure out what people are googling. Then, you can optimize your pages so that they’re the ones to pop up next time a potential customer, client, or a subscriber uses Google for anything even closely related to your field of interest.

Now, you may think that you know what people are looking for, but this is usually not the case. First of all, you probably don’t even have an insight into how you’re using it. You’re probably using search engines spontaneously, without much understanding of your own patterns.

If someone showed you the statistics and numbers, you would probably be dumbfounded. 

This is why you need to understand keyword research and analysis, figure out how to use the right tools, and even pick up a keyword research strategy. Here are some keyword research trends and practices in 2024. Hopefully, this might help you bring your own process up to date. 

Relevance has a new meaning

The most important factor that Google is taking into account when ranking you is the relevance of your content. 

The relevance would be the simplest to explain with one sentence – is this what the user was looking for?

Now, in the past, you had to hit the exact phrase. Modern AI-analytical tools, however, are far more accurate. Not only that, but they can actually figure out the intent behind the search. Just remember that Google is using the same tools in 2024. This means that your keyword strategy needs to evolve.

This means that if you think you can trick the system by deliberately using the non-grammatical form of the keyword phrase (because it’s a mistake that a lot of people make, so it has a great volume search), think again. Sure, you can, and it will deliver some limited results, but it won’t get you nearly as impressive results. 

This was never a feature; it was always an exploitable bug; it’s just that search engines lacked the computing tools needed to fix the issue. Now, with modern AI, this is no longer the case.

So, focus on the essence and the intent behind their search, not just the form that they eventually type.

Also, since voice search is becoming a huge trend, grammatical keywords actually make even more sense than before. Not only that, but people are no longer afraid of using more words to describe what they’re looking for. This means that long-tail keywords have a greater effectiveness than ever before. 

Authority reigns supreme

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In 1992, a Serbian-Americal playwright, Steve Tesich, coined a term: post-truth. At that moment, this seemed quite dystopian, even satirical, but today, we have a better understanding of what he meant.

This is something that you need to take into account when handling your keyword research.

The keyword that has the biggest search volume doesn’t necessarily have to do anything with the truth. For instance, have you ever heard of the Mandella Effect? This is a psychological (and sociological) phenomenon where people “remember” events that never happened.

A famous person dies (like Mandella, hence the name), and people are 100% convinced that they’ve already heard about them passing a decade ago.

It’s like playing a game of associations. It doesn’t matter what you know about the assigned figure – it’s about the overlapping in your own knowledge and the knowledge of your audience. In this race, you’re an SEO specialist with all the keyword planning tools, and an average user doesn’t have any of your software or understanding of the field.

All of this contributes to one important factor that Google still doesn’t understand how to handle – the rapid pace at which false information spreads. Community notes are a step in the right direction, but they’re a net with huge gaps, and many things slip through.

So, Google uses your past record as a way to assess a risk factor you represent

According to one survey, roughly 21% of Google’s algorithm depends on authority alone. Still, this authority is niche-based. Just because you’ve built your authority in one field doesn’t mean that it will transfer to the next. Make sure to keep this in mind during your keyword analysis. The keywords you pick will determine your future field of authority.

Just keep in mind that the algorithm changes in time

Volume is a double-edged sword

Ideally, you want a keyword with the highest possible volume. These are, usually, the most logical keywords. So, if this is the case, why do you even need keyword research?

If you’re selling lawnmowers, just use the word “lawnmowers” as the staple of your campaign and be over with it. Well, this is not really the case.

Namely, what you need to understand is the importance of competitiveness. This is the other edge of the proverbial sword we used in this subheading. If the keyword is obvious and has a high volume, everyone’s already competing for it. Everyone tries to rank for this keyword, which means that all your efforts will create a lower effect. 

This is why you can’t just look at the volume. Ideally, you want to find a keyword that has an amazing volume of searches and low competitiveness (not a lot of others are trying to rank for it). 

So, what do you do when there’s no keyword that matches your description? Well, that’s easy – you make one

The so-called long-tail keywords are made by taking a regular (exact) keyword and adding some contextual words to it. This way, it becomes a new, unique keyword with lower competitiveness while not sacrificing the volume of the exact keyword.

Here are some keyword research tips for those looking to make their own long-tail keywords work:

  • Leverage questions: A lot of keywords are used in the form of a question.
  • Incorporate variants and synonyms: This is particularly easy yet terribly underused.
  • Monitor performance and adjust: Even if you don’t get it right the first time, you have an unlimited number of tries.

This knowledge will alter your entire marketing research process. Soon, you’ll not just look for keywords with great KPIs but those that can become great long-tail. 

Understanding your use of keywords from the begining

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Imagine bringing a newcomer to your SEO agency, giving them all the best keywords, and telling them to make them rank. We’re talking about just giving them the list without explaining which tools they can use, how to use focus keywords, and what it means to organically fit them into the context. 

The results would be as inexistent as you expect. This is why it’s so important that you understand your use of keywords while in the keyword research process. 

Sure, keywords are keywords, but they can be made to fit into different content formats. Even keywords used in blog posts are used differently, depending on whether it’s a guest post or an on-site piece for an internal blog.

You also just cannot compare the use of keywords in an email (where you just want to elicit a psychological reaction instead of ranking) and their use in a blog post. Does this mean that email marketing keywords are irrelevant? Of course not.

Let’s say that you’re using your email marketing strategy in order to generate more leads for your blog. By setting the right expectations, you can ensure a much lower potential bounce rate. Even here, the consistent use of adequate keywords makes a huge difference. It helps set expectations, manage brand consistency, and make for a better link placement. 

Therefore, one of the best keyword research tips you’ll ever receive is to actually focus on the utility of the keywords you see. 

Needless to say, regardless of what kind of digital marketing strategy you intend to conduct, proper marketing and analytics cannot be conducted without the right keywords. Focus keywords affect how well your content is ranking almost as much as the quality of the content itself. 

Proper keyword research is a mandatory first step in SEO

There’s no SEO without good keywords, and there are no keywords without proper keyword research. There’s only one way to get this done, and it’s with a methodic approach and with the right tools. In 2024, these tools are usually AI-based or AI-driven.

Also, don’t assume or expect to know intuitively if something’s a good keyword or not. The tools are not that difficult to use; just check the competitiveness, the number of searches, and a few other KPIs. 

Just think about it: there will be so much content produced around this one keyword. Making a mistake nullifies a lot of hours of work from a lot of people. It could restrict you from unleashing your full potential, or it could make your content shine brighter than ever before. 

Nebojša Janković / Founder & CEO
I founded Heroic Rankings with desire to help other businesses increase their visibility and bring real customers. I love SEO and networking with people.

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