Most business-to-business and business-to-consumer content creators are accustomed to getting a list of low-competition key words from the SEO services team or agency. And we work hard to integrate them into our copy, metadata and headlines.

But as people who use search to background our own work (including the topics those KWs relate to), we know there's often a disconnect between low-comp KWs the SEO team is charged with identifying and the KWs people like us use when researching the topic.

Long-tail keywords, contextual keywords, whatever you call them they're more aligned with the way real people look for information online. And they deserve a prominent place in your content from metadata on down, whether your content is for lead generation, education or other activation.

Improving SEO with Keyword Research via Google Trends

A screen grab of the Google Trends homepageUsing more contextual key words in headlines, captions, metadata and copy make it easier for people to discover our work when searching. I've already talked about how to using long-tail keywords to increase search engine visibility. Here's another tactic to add to your list of SEO best practices: Google Trends.

Here's a low-drag way to use this high-impact tool:

  1. Pick 1-3 key words or phrases that relate to your topic. Think about the terms you’d use to in your own research of the subject.
  2. Choose the appropriate filters for geography and timeframe. (I like 30 days to 1 year for the timeframe, personally). Hopefully, your term shows up. If it doesn't, give it another go. Maybe add or delete quotation marks, or try another word or term altogether.
  3. Note how each word or phrase is trending. Up is preferable, neutral is OK, down is bad. If your first try is trending down, that doesn't mean you can't use it. There may be, after all, a business reason to buck the trends. But if it makes sense to drive search, try another term. 
  4. Choose the KW or phrase with the best trend line. If you have time, complete all the steps for each of your KWs or phrases to get the best picture of what's trending.
  5. Review Related topics to identify subjects that are semantically related to your original terms. The most promising ones are moving up the most or are labeled as Breakout. You can easily use these terms in your copy to support your main KWs and avoid being repetitive. 
  6. Look at Related queries to find even more trends. 
  7. Integrate the KWs identified by this SEO research into your copy from metadata to headlines, captions to body copy and articles.

Bonus Tip: If you're looking to piggyback onto trending topics, Google Trends serves that up for in real-time at right on the home page. This is an easy way to see what people are looking for and to see if you've got something relevant to serve up to them. Note I said "relevant". It doesn't serve your brand to glom onto a trend with a flimsy connection to your content or brand image.

This easy process is quick way to augment the KWs your SEO services group identified, making your content more discoverable through paid and organic search.

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