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For today’s keyword expansion process we will again be using Google Webmaster Tools. The idea will be the marrying of two keyword reports provided within the tool: top queries and top relevant phrases.

When going through this process, it is essential you have a specific focus in mind. For instance, if you were looking to expand a university’s web presence you may want to expand into one category of keywords that every degree could fall under, such as “online.” Meaning that instead of just targeting “business degree” or “information systems degree,” you need to locate all of the best phrases that combine those terms with “online” or other similar types.

Remember that even though we are using the example of a university campaign, this idea can work with any campaign.

First, go into Webmaster Tools and export your two pieces of data:

Top Queries:

This can be done by clicking on Your site on the web > Search Queries as shown here:

Download the table and it will appear similar to this image:

Top Queries from Webmaster Tools

Top Relevant Keywords:

This can be done by clicking on Your site on the web > Keywords as shown here:

Top Relevant Keywords on Google Webmaster Tools

Download the table and it will appear similar to this:

Top Relevance Keywords from Webmaster Tools

From there we can begin combining the two pieces of data. Since we already have the focus of “online” in mind, the first task is filtering with Excel to pull only those top queries that contain the term “online” within the phrase.

sorted keywords to show only phrases with on specific term in them

With a list of “subject focused phrases” you can now begin your combination process with the “top relevant terms.” Select a single “subject focused phrase” like accelerated bachelors degree online, attach it to a “top relevant term” like university or course. Using that one phrase, expand it into a relevant cluster of terms using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool.

marrying of terms for keyword variants in SEO link building campaigns

In doing this we accomplish our goal of establishing a list of phrases ideal in link building and content strategy, which helps create a stronger presence for the term “online.” The variation phrasing for each term like “accelerated bachelors degree,” will ensure that we are diverse in anchor text.

Overall Keyword Prioritization

Next, retrieve rankings for each term to begin prioritizing your campaign based on current marketing focuses and potential quick wins.

With a priority focus in place, create a short-term content and link building strategy (typically a three-to-six month strategy identifying types of links and content to target is best).

Previous Posts In The Series:

Post 1 – Building a Keyword List Based On Top Relevant Terms in Google Webmasters

Post 2 – Using Google Analytics for Long Tail Identification & Quick Wins

Next In The Series:

Post 4 – An Enterprise Approach To Keyword Prioritization & Targeting