While getting started on a brand new SEO campaign, often the first thing you would be doing is keyword research. It is supposed to provide the much-needed skeletal framework for your campaign and has proven to be a vital technique for a long time now. However, during the last few years, keyword research has changed dramatically, it has experienced fascinating evolutions and has somewhat become less relevant in more ways than one.

Why Is Keyword Research Important?

Keyword research is essential to ensure that your content satisfies inbound visitors and that all incoming queries are directly related to your business.

You can find out which queries offer low competition, allowing you to selectively target vital keywords and phrases to include in your site’s content. Identifying keywords and keeping track of them serves as an important metric that you can utilize to gauge your campaign’s effectiveness, by keeping track of rankings over a period of time.

Back In Time

In the past, SEO seemed to be really simple. You stuffed your keywords all over your page’s content, into each and every meta tag, and prayed for the best.

With the help of Google Analytics, Google offered lots of data about how individuals were searching, and exactly how they came across your site through keywords. Moreover, once you had access to a list of keywords which ensured low competition but high traffic, you could at once start optimizing your content to target those queries.

Most Google searches would feature one-to-one relationships. During those days, Google would take your words and find near exact matches on the web.

What’s that, Hummingbird?

In 2013, Google launched its Hummingbird algorithm update.

This update presented a whole new concept called ‘semantic search’ that revolutionized the way Google handles queries. Instead of taking the user’s words and looking for appropriate matches online, Google evaluates the intention that is behind a user’s query and then determines which content is relevant.

Even though it looks like an insignificant difference, in reality, it has a great impact on the way we should perceive keywords. The faster that semantic search evolved, the more power that individual keywords lost, giving way to long-tail keywords and topical themes.

Forecasting the Future

In our recent post on keyword research trends, we discussed how new technologies drastically impact the manner in which searches are conducted. Digital assistants such as Cortana and Siri are motivating users to perform searches through speech and are fundamentally changing the way queries are entered.

Other innovations such as augmented reality, wearables, and virtual reality could be having the same and complementary effect, by compelling users to alter the manner in which they search. New kinds of interfaces and (even) smaller screens will soon be changing the way we interact with search engines.


Keyword research is bound to change and will not remain in its present form forever. We will be witnessing an iterative and gradual transition to a whole new search research system that is based specifically on the latest technologies and current search trends. You better prepare yourself mentally for a few drastic changes during the next decade.

This article has been written by Walter Moore from gingerdomain.com.

Read more at A Glance at the Past & Future of Keyword Research

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