For the rest of the week, we'll be posting excerpts from a new article: Master Class: Keyword Research for Stellar Content Creation , by Angie Nikoleychuk. Click below to get the full article now.
Levels of Keywords
When researching keywords specifically for content, I select three types of keywords:
Primary Keywords — Keywords geared specifically for your main goal. If your goal is social, you’ll want to use various social media tools to find out what words your target audience is using at the moment. What are the hot topics?
If you’re in need of links and rankings, your keywords will likely be found using SEO keyword tools and based heavily on your findings. This doesn’t mean there isn’t any consideration for social in an SEO-based piece or vice versa — simply that its focus is shifted one way or the other.
For an example, let’s use “SEO company,” because maybe our site isn’t doing as well as it should in the SERPs, or “Google bar codes” as a social keyword, because that’s the hot topic for clients in our niche.
Secondary Keywords — These should support the main goal but help boost secondary side effects. They’re found the same way you selected your primary terms. So, if my topic is “Hiring an SEO Company: What you should expect to pay,” I might select “SEO firm” and “Internet marketing” as secondary terms. They’ll also help keep down the repetition in the piece and keep it reading more naturally while leaving the topic open to discuss alternative marketing methods.
Tertiary Keyword Phrases — What you choose here really depends on what you’re attempting to accomplish. If, for instance, I want to target a long tail  that has virtually no competition (or at least, no decent competition), I’ll use variations of the primary phrase to get just that little bit of extra power out of it. If I’m battling a competitor who focuses on video SEO, I’ll use that here to justify my services to the readers and gain that advantage. It can even lend extra ranking power to the main video SEO pages on my site.
Keyword Research for Search Engine-Oriented Content
Using keywords in content isn’t new to most of you, but here, I’m going to help you take this further and get more out of your content than ever before. You see, even keywords chosen for SEO have benefits that go far beyond bringing in traffic from the search engines.
You’ve got to have great SEO keyword tools, but you also have to know what kinds of keywords you need and how to identify the good ones!
They’re Not the Same Old Keywords Anymore!
You’ve already chosen the keywords for the main pages of your site. The ones you’ll choose for your content strategy  might be the same, but chances are you’re going to want to go in a different direction.
Why would you choose alternative keywords for your content?
You’d Like to Test Alternatives
If you’re anything like me, you usually have a list of keywords that look like they’ll do very well, but you just aren’t sure you want to try them (or have enough pages). While this won’t be enough for you to dominate competitive SERPs , thanks to QDF (Query Deserves Freshness) and the links you’ll build with the content, it should give you a taste of the query’s value.
Your Site Has Different Needs
A site’s needs and milestones change as time goes by. Therefore, your content keywords  need to change accordingly.
Here’s an example: When you first launched your site, you were hungry for links in an attempt to get it ranking. Now, however, you’ve decided to build up a mailing list and need to steer people toward the signup form. So, what sorts of things will readers get from your mailing list?
Well, let’s say, in addition to announcing new products and services, you’re going to send them tips on achieving better conversion rates . You might want to use “improve conversion rates,” “get more sales,” or “get more visitors to buy” as your SEO phrases.
You Want to Catch a Trend or Hot Topic
Perhaps it’s the release of a new technology, a world event that has shifted focus onto your niche, or a chunk of viral content that you’d love to leech off of (Don’t worry, we all do it!). Whatever it is, there’s a hot trend you want to get on board with and milk for all it’s worth.
For instance, I wrote an article on what copywriters should charge about a year ago when it became a hot topic in my industry. Interestingly, it’s still one of the most popular posts on my blog.
You Want to Move the Focus Elsewhere
If you’re launching a new product or service, you might want to expand your reach or get in front of a different audience. Content allows you to do just that without having to make serious changes to your site and lose your rankings.
There are many, many more reasons, but you get the point. (To be continued...)