SEO - Search Engine Optimization

What is keyword clustering, and who cares? (Hint: you should!)

Last Updated: November 6, 2017

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Are you still optimizing for “keyword strings”? You are not alone! The problem is, the industry is moving on, so don’t fall behind and learn to implement a smarter approach to keyword research: Keyword clustering. Single-keyword SEO has been a staple for a long time. Remember how we used to have a separate page for every tiny variation of a keyword? At that time we’d optimize for [restaurants in Italy] and [Italy restaurants] using two different pages, one for each keyword string. It is how we all probably got our start and saw (and still see) our traffic flourish and ranking climb. It was a fun time, but deep down I am glad it has passed. Google’s search algorithm has outgrown that method of optimization. Sure, it may still work. In fact, most of the newest and most popular WordPress SEO plugins are still based on that “single-string” method, so most bloggers rely on it. But the more sophisticated algorithms expanded beyond the scope of a single-topic focus. Even keyword research that finds the perfect sweet spot between popularity and saturation is no longer a guarantee for success. In-depth content covering a variety of related concepts and entities is winning more and more often these days. More and more we are seeing the use of keyword clustering from sites that are making it beyond the scope of mediocre search results and traffic margins. In other words, the big guys are bringing out the big guns, and we should be following in their footsteps. What is this keyword clustering? OK, so this isn’t really new. I for one described a tactic of keyword grouping back in 2007. Back then, however, I didn’t know the term “keyword clustering”, and used Excel instead of much easier tools. A better way of explaining it would be that it is gaining traction with more people (and growing buzz terms around itself). So what is it? Simply put, it’s keyword grouping categorized by (1) a common secondary keyword modifier which is how most tools approach it or (2) Google’s search engine results similarity (which is something I’ll describe below). At the heart of it, keyword clustering is what it sounds like: you are taking relevant keywords and clustering them together into groups. Those groups work together to give your website a more thoroughly categorized theme, which in turn helps to establish its purpose and attract those crawlers that tell Google that page is one they should bump up the list. It’s easier when you look at an example Let’s say your core term is healthy diet plan, which is pretty tough to compete for. So you run it through keyword research tools and come up with the list of hundreds of “long tail” “keyword…

Source: What is keyword clustering, and who cares? (Hint: you should!)

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About the author / 

Ann Smarty

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