The Penguin algorithms and the “Knowledge Graph” teach us that the conceptual approach to the “semantics” of the site in the long term gives a better result than a simple selection of keywords. Many SEO experts believe that since Google stores the relevant data in the form (not provided), then the keywords themselves no longer matter.


How wrong they are. Any search begins with keywords. And this is about 5 billion requests per day only from Google. Think about this:

  • The essence of Google’s business is based on the sale of keywords – which is about $ 40 billion a year, most of which is the sale of keywords through advertising;
  • The value (not provided) affects only post-click analytics, but does not at all affect the pre-click keywords that users enter in the search bar;
  • keywords and their values ​​remain priority source data, on the basis of which the search system provides the answer to the user (even though there are other initial data in the trend, such as location or integration of applications)

Marketers who invest in a reasonable (if you want – a conceptual) search for keywords, and will continue to be successful in this field. Today we will talk about how to turn keywords into a concept.

From individual keywords to thematic concepts

When many of us first encountered SEO, we were able to handle one keyword at a time. We optimized the page for this keyword by placing it in the meta-title title, in the title, several times mentioned it in the text and, possibly, even in all descriptions of the images.

If we were very cool, we could optimize the page immediately under two key words. Profit!

In fact, optimizing the page for one query did not work as it did not work in the long run. Today, content should be about something, the text should carry meaning.

SEO Factor No. 1 – Satisfaction

The difference between the present and the past is the transition from individual keywords to concepts.

To determine the appropriate concept, you need to answer three questions:

  1. What do the users mean? Search engines are trying to better understand the needs of users by relating their questions to specific concepts. If I type ” tiger on a boat “, then Google will understand that I’m looking for information about the film “Life of Pi”, and not what horrible content is optimized for this request.
  2. What content? Search engines read the keywords on the page, trying to understand what is on the page as a whole.
  3. What concepts correspond to your theme? The Knowledge Graph is a clear example of how Google relates concepts one to the other. In the case of the film “Life of Pi” it is clearly noticeable how the film correlates with ratings, reviews, actors, etc.

Keyword targeting: road to nowhere

Consider the list of common errors. which marketers admit by selecting keywords. This is what we are trying to avoid:

  • choice of fuzzy keywords
  • keywords with very high competition
  • Keywords with insufficient frequency
  • nonconversion keywords
  • attempt to advance one keyword

Why not go from the opposite? I propose to focus content on a valuable idea, abandoning some specific key. As content grows, we will have a unique chance to move forward by a hundred or even a thousand keywords related to a single concept.

Smart search engine for topical keywords

Our task is to abandon a number of obsolete ideas and move in the direction of the Earl of Knowledge. Let’s look at our content (and related keywords) through the eyes of Google itself. To begin with, we recall a few facts about search traffic.

Fact # 1: About 70% of traffic to any page results in requests for which this page is not optimized.

If you’ve ever analyzed a keyword report in Google Webmaster Tools, you understand what I mean. These can be thematically related keys, synonyms and words from related categories that the search engine finds relevant to your content. Sometimes these words generally do not relate to the topic of the page, but we certainly do not take such examples into account.

The conclusion is simple: optimize the page for one query, then ignore most of the potential traffic.

Fact No. 2: Ranking in TOP-1 is not a requirement for receiving hundreds of visits.

Indeed, it is better to rank on the second or even lower place in hundreds or thousands of broad match keywords than to be in TOP-1 on a single request.

Fact # 3: Even the world’s best keyword selection system will give you only a fraction of the keywords that you potentially can rank.

Have you ever compared a list of broad match keywords with a list of words from the Google AdWords scheduler? Most of these keywords will show a small potential search traffic (ie a small frequency). But we know that this is not all: in front of us are precisely those keywords that lead to traffic.

By themselves, keyword selection tools can not show your real ranking potential. You need content that fully reveals the essence of your topic.

Fact # 4: Search engines sell keywords grouped by concepts and themes.

When you buy keywords using AdWords, Google offers words from narrow themed groups. In fact, they are doing their best to discourage you from bidding on individual keys.

Fact-bonus: 15% of Google users, which is about half a billion a day, have never before used this search engine

Yes, contextual advertising is the main source of the company’s revenue, because this is not surprising. On the other hand, Google knows that concepts are the best indicator of the intentions of the user. Those marketers who realize the importance of concepts are, in their own way, dangerous to the search engine.

And now let’s apply all ideas in practice.

Step 1: Make up the semantic core

There are different ways of selecting keywords and they depend on what you want from the page:

  • Traffic – typical for net page views and sites receiving advertising revenue;
  • Conversion – for example, if you sell products / services or want to achieve brand recognition.

I propose to consider the query “SEO optimization”. Of course, it is very competitive and, most likely, it is worth starting with a simpler key. But let’s take a chance!

Brain attack

There are hundreds of tools for analyzing keywords that you can experiment with. The most popular are:

  • Google AdWords Keyword Planner
  • Bing Keyword Tool
  • Keyword Spy
  • Wordstream
  • Wordstat
  • SEO Book keyword tools
  • Google Trends
  • Übersuggest
  • Soovle
  • SEMrush

Most likely, you will stop on the first candidate, but do not rely only on him. I advise you to use several tools at once – so you will get additional options.

Step 2: Exact keywords with modifiers

Here everything is clear. I emphasize one important nuance: the more accurate the keyword combination is used, the easier it is to rank it. Of course, you can perfectly rank and on request “SEO optimization”, but most are looking for more accurate data. Below is a list of the most common keyword modifiers:

  • time and date: SEO optimization 2014
  • quality and / or price: quality SEO optimization; SEO optimization is cheap
  • Goal: order SEO optimization
  • location: SEO optimization in Kiev

It would be nice to check all your important keys with Google Trends. He will point out the patterns and trends that are not found in other keyword selection tools.

Step 3: Using the Google AdWords Scheduler

To search for keywords for small and medium projects, you can immediately go to the Google AdWords keyword planner. For large projects – see alternative ways of searching for keywords at the end of this article.

AdWords is our main source, but you will also need new ideas for keywords. To do this, pay attention to the table “Ad Group Variants”.

Even if you do not favor the “Ad Group Variants” table, you can get additional keys broken down by subject. This will give us an advantage in selecting the necessary keywords and help to write even more targeted content.

Due to the fact that basically the keywords will contain the words you are looking for, I advise you to use negative keywords to get more thematic options.

Step 4: Further development of the concept

Now that you have a basic idea for keywords, it’s time to create a thematic list of keywords that are conceptually relevant to your topic. There are different ways of solving this problem. Let’s look at some popular methods for constructing a thematic list using the example of SEO optimization.

The section “Often search” from Google

At the bottom of the Google search page there is a section called “Often search”. This is a gold mine to search for keywords that are conceptually relevant to your topic.

Google Trends

At the bottom of each page of the issue there is a block of “Similar requests”, which can also be used to search for topical keywords.


It is a tool for visualizing the semantic connection between linked articles on Wikipedia. For example, in response to the query “Search engine optimization” (alas, the service does not support the Russian language, Wikistalker will show articles with the greatest semantic correspondence:

  • Internet marketing: 85% compliance;
  • Google Webmaster Tools: 70% matching;
  • marketing: 59% conformity.

Other keyword selection tools such as Deeperweb Search , SEMRush , YouTube Analytics, or WordStream can also help you find topical keywords.

Step 5: Put yourself in the user’s seat

What exactly does your user want to find on this page? The answer will be your secret weapon in the selection of topical keywords.

People who are looking for SEO optimization often ask themselves a number of similar questions:

  • How much does it cost? Free of charge, conditionally free of charge
  • What does SEO include? Building links, indexing
  • What is it for? For large or small business
  • Is it effective? Very effective, ineffective

Answering such questions, we further develop the concept of thematic keywords.

Step 6: Can you rank? Building a strategy together with the concept

Tip: Be careful when analyzing the “Competitive Level” column in the Google AdWords keyword planner. It well illustrates the situation with paid search results, but not with “organic”.

In this case, you should immediately switch to the page of the SERP. There are two basic methods for analyzing competition:

  1. Automated tools, such as Google’s keyword planner
  2. Manual analysis of search results

Manual method: view search results

Analysis of the top search results is the easiest way to evaluate competition without the help of special tools. Enter a non-personalized search query for your keywords. Rate the top search results and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are pages optimized for a keyword?
  • Is the keyword in the title meta tag placed? In the URL? On the page?
  • Is it a trust domain?
  • What are the anchors of incoming links?
  • Can you post links or references to this keyword?
  • Can you provide better content than the one that is placed on the top pages?

The last and most important question: can you put more quality content than your competitors?

If you want to be in TOP, there can be only one answer. Yes.

Step 7: Putting it all together

Probably, by this time you have analyzed hundreds or even thousands of keywords and distributed them into semantic groups. You found keywords that relate to your website or business in general. The words by which you can create a worthy repost content with a fairly high search frequency. This is the content by which you will break into the TOP.

The keys you choose depend on the business as a whole or on the website itself, and on competition. Google can rank keywords based on their relevance. But only you can decide whether these requests are suitable for your visitors, product and brand.

Our list of topical keywords on the query “SEO optimization” should look something like this

  • free SEO optimization
  • best SEO optimization
  • selection of keywords
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • reference mass
  • online marketing
  • SEO for Google

Remember, we started with the broad match keyword. In practice, the final list of keys will be much narrower subjects.

Now it’s time for content. Write, share ideas and tell stories, guided by these key words.

Tips for scaling and large sites

The methods described above work if you collect a semantic core for a business card site. But for larger projects, a much more mathematical approach is needed. If you are faced with processing dozens, or even hundreds of thousands of keywords, pay attention to the following tools:

  • Grepwords
  • SEOGadget for Excel


The described method is only one of many. There are hundreds of other approaches, of which it is not easy to choose the optimal one. However, regardless of approach, looking at key words through the prism of thematic concepts will greatly facilitate your life and raise your content to a new level.