Ann Smarty

How to Research Your Keyword Context

Keyword research posts are numerous: we have multiple guides, reference sources and tools. However it is seldom brought to attention that it is not enough to just determine keyword phrases that people use to search for your topic. What else should be researched is your core term environment. What do I mean by that?

Words cannot be viewed in isolation. Words are only single units that build sentences and phrases. By looking at word units and phrases in isolation, we miss a huge part of the whole picture. How can keyword context be helpful?

  • explore neighboring terms (get a deeper understanding of the niche);
  • make your writing richer and more varied (and thus end up targeting more words);
  • see the words in live context (create timely content that will be interesting to people, “speak the language of your audience”).

Let’s have a look at a few tools you can use to figure your core term context.

Research the SERPs context:

SenSebot offers a semantic analysis of Google SERP and creates a summary of it as well as its tag cloud. It also works for Google news.

Search Cloudlet is a FireFox addon that extracts words from search snippets and creates a tag cloud containing most frequent terms on each SERP. With it you will be able to see most common words that neighbor your search term in search results. If you set Google to return 100 results per page, you’ll give the tool more data to analyze and thus get more accurate tag cloud.

Search Cloud

The plugin also works for blog search – for you to be able to analyze most recent tags and buzz.

Research related terms:

Google sets tool lists related terms for the set of words you provide. It is essential to keep in mind what is meant by “related” here. Google sets’ technology is primarily about analyzing web lists: words that often appear within <ul> or <ol> tags or in comma-separated lists should be related. This can be applied to countries or colors, for example.

Naturally, each further word in the set influences the results returned (thus, red / green (colors) and red / green / spring (nature, seasons, joy) sets are completely different).

Google sets

Another way to explore neighboring terms is to check Delicious tag search: it lists related terms for any URL or tag you specify (Note: use Cloudalicious tool to organize related tags associated with any URL).

Urban dictionary is another user-generated site where you can find related tags for any term. It is especially useful if you need to research relaxed, slang environment.

Research live natural context:

Use Twitter search to understand how people use your term. It offers FireFox search plugin for easier access. Besides, it supports quite a few advanced operators allowing to control your search, among them:

You can also use Twitter-based search tools – my favorite one is TwitScoop. It shows recent discussions and also graphically represents the term popularity:


This guest post by Ann Smarty, an SEO consultant. Follow Ann on Twitter!

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  1. Great post as usual Ann. Where do you find all these cool tools?

  2. These are some really cool tools — I hadn’t ever heard of a few of them until now.

    Something that’s not mentioned here, or on the other sites that you linked to:

    Though, I personally like the desktop version:

    It does the tag cloud thing with closely-related keywords.

    People overlook, or fail to realize, the power of word association when they’re writing content for user-targeting through search engines. Not only is “natural language” writing easier on the eyes, it improves relevance for your primary keyphrases, and helps you to grab a broader share of search engine users while still keeping true to your keyword focus.

    With a solid title, a good, descriptive page name, and content that utilizes this type of keyword targeting — you’re miles ahead of many others in terms of on-page optimization.

    Thanks for sharing this.

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