The SEO landscape is changing.

RankBrain[1], Latent Semantic Indexing[2] and voice search[3] have placed a heavy hand of friendly persuasion on the SEO industry, resulting in a shift towards solution-led (rather than keyword-led) content.

For years, short-tail and transactional keywords were the primary focus of SEO campaigns and, to an extent, they still tend to dominate the communication channels between agencies and clients. However, there is a clear acknowledgement on both sides of the fence with regards to the power of long-tail keywords.

Evangelism by the likes of Rand Fishkin and Neil Patel, along with the popularity of ‘content marketing’, has no doubt helped fuel this adoption.

The complexity of Google’s search algorithm means that they/it (/he/she?!) has a stronger grasp of the intent behind a search, rather than simply looking at the keyword strings that make up said search term. This has had a direct effect on how we plan our content and attract our target audience.

Does that mean that keyword research[4] is dead? Not at all. In the ever increasingly competitive and complex world of search, it means that research is more important than ever.

But how do we adapt keyword research in relation to this focus on identifying great long-tail keywords?

First: focus on searcher intent

This should underpin all of your activities – research, creation and distribution. What is the searcher really trying to achieve and how is your content helping them reach this goal?

Ultimately, the tools listed below are there to help you speed up this process and to provide ideas, but you can’t fully rely on them to produce an outstanding long-tail keyword

Read more from our friends at Search Engine Watch