Keyword research has changed a lot in the past few years. Instead of targeting a single keyword string, we now create reader-centric content that answers search queries.
Yet understanding how people search remains important. Knowing what they type in the search box and how often can help understand their needs.
But it’s not easy.
Google has stated that 15% of daily searches are “new” — i.e., queries it has never encountered. Hence people search in different and often unpredictable ways, using hundreds or thousands of word combinations for the same thing.
As a result, keyword lists are often cluttered and seemingly endless. Making sense of those lists — containing the same or slightly altered phrases — is very challenging.
“Keyword clustering” can help.
Keyword clustering is not new. It’s a technique for grouping keywords by a common modifier, a word or phrase that extends the seed term.
For example, if “ecommerce platform” is the seed keyword, “best” could be a modifier, producing the following keyword cluster.
- best ecommerce platform for wholesale
- best ecommerce platform for customization
- best ecommerce platform for handmade items
- best ecommerce platform in us
- best multi-store ecommerce platform
- how to choose the best ecommerce platform
- best multilingual ecommerce platform
Clustering remains useful because it helps discover low-volume keywords, which are easy to overlook but potentially important to your shoppers.
How to Cluster
There are several ways of clustering your keywords.
A free method is to use the conditioning formatting feature in a spreadsheet to color-code keywords sharing the same modifier. The most popular modifiers are easily located by spotting repeated colors. The process, while helpful, risks overlapping the colors when one keyword contains two or more common modifiers.