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Understanding Keyword Targeting: Cousin Keywords

Updated on September 15, 2011

Learning how to research into profitable keywords and phrases to target on your website, blog or here on Hubpages is an essential skill that you absolutely have to learn if you want to create any sort of profitable website or internet presence. Learning how to identify and correctly implement similar or cousin keywords into your content creation, link building and other SEO processes is an important part of increasing your traffic through search engines, and this article will cover some of the basic concepts and techniques used in identifying and applying related keywords.

The General Idea

When a search engine is determining the relevancy of your webpage to any given keyword or phrase, they use an algorithm that judges your domain on a number of things, but the most important factors are as follows:

  1. The existence of the keyword within your content
  2. The existence of links and the appearance of that same keyword in the pages that are linking to you.
  3. The existence of cousin or related keywords within your content and the content of your linking domains.

Many other factors also influence search engines to rank your website higher or lower in the order of search results, but these three key points are extremely detrimental to your success.

So what is a cousin keyword?

A cousin keyword is essentially any term that will produce similar search results. Phrases that contain many of the same words or even the exact same words in a different order are the easiest cousin keywords to identify, but any given term will usually have quite a number of cousin keywords that might not come to mind right away.

Keep in mind that although the term "lawnmower" might relate to term "landscaping", this doesn't necessarily mean that these two keywords will be viewed as related to each other by a search engine. A good way to determine what a search engine might define as a cousin key term is by using Google's free Adwords keyword tool. Input the keyword or phrase, checking the box under the search input that reads "show only results closely related to my search" will provide you with a small list of similar phrases or words that are associated with the word at question.

How to Use Related Keywords to Increase your Rankings in Search Engines

As you collect cousin keywords, you will probably want to document them within a spreadsheet or other document to be used as a reference.

You will want to include these cousins in the page that is targeting the original keyword, as well as any page that you will use to link towards your website for SEO. Refer to The Complete Guide to Link Building and SEO Techniques in the additional resources section at the bottom of this page for more information about building links.

If you are having trouble ranking in a search engine for any given keyterm you are targeting, focusing some of your efforts towards ranking towards some if it's less competitive cousin key phrases will make it much easier to improve your ranking for the initial keyword. If you appear as the first result for the cousin of a key phrase, your link building and promotional efforts towards the first keyword will prove much more successful.

Process Summary and Recap:

After selecting your profitable keywords or phrases, run a Google Adwords keyword search of these to distinguish all of the keywords or terms that Google associates with the given search. Document or record these cousin keywords, making note of the ones you deem relevant to the specific topic you are discussing. Include them in your web content, as well as in the content of any linking pages you make.

Although this is only a basic explanation of this concept, there are countless ways that this information can be applied to your SEO efforts with positive results. Knowing how to effectively target cousin keywords can make the difference between an unsuccessful blogger and a big-time affiliate marketer. Please refer to the additional resources section below for many other essential articles that can teach you how to start making some money through your website, blog or even your articles on Hubpages or another similar website.



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