How to do Your Blog’s Keyword Research the Smart Way
One thing that can make your life easier is knowing how to do good keyword research for blog posts. Whether you’re an experienced blogger, or just starting out, the whole process of trying to stand out from thousands of your competitors can be truly intimidating.
Keyword research for blog posts is one of many important steps that can help you find your place in your niche, and even propel you to the top of the SERPs (search engine result pages). Like they say, you can’t build the house from the roof up. You need a good idea, and you need to know what you’re going to do with it.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at several tactics that can greatly help you in your keyword research:
1. Look for the Long Tail
One sure-fire way to amp up your keyword game is by focusing on the so-called long-tail keywords. Today, most keywords are separated into two categories:
Head keywords are short and general terms, like "guitars" or “car”, which means that they are searched for by people quite often. Unfortunately, this also means that the competition for these non-specific words is fierce and it is very unlikely that you would manage to rank high for any of them.
However, since Google made some updates to its search algorithm, a new kind of keyword has grown in popularity. Long-tail keywords are more specific terms that consist of three or four (or even more) words, like "blue ski jacket for kids".
While these words have much lower search volume associated with them, there is far less competition for them, and people tend to click more often on links that are related to their specific search. This is because people usually search for more specific things as they near the end of their buyer’s journey (they did some preliminary research already, and now they are looking for a concrete solution for their problems).
Why is this so important?
The first three results in the SERP make up for over 60% of all clicks, with the first result gaining over 30% of total clicks. The lower you are in the rankings, the worse you perform. Having perfect keywords allow search engines to put you higher up, thus increasing your traffic greatly.
This chart from getresponse.com illustrates this point perfectly. It shows number of clicks, per thousand clicks, for each position in the SERPs.
chart from Getresponse.com
2. The best tools for finding your keywords
Now that you know what kind of keywords you should look for, the question that arises is:
What are the best ways to find these keywords?
First of all, you should start by walking a mile in your audience’s shoes. Try to think of what kind of search query would someone use to get the information you are offering. Most searches fall into one of the three categories:
Do queries. I want to do something, like listen to a song, or buy plane tickets.
Know queries. I want to have some information, like the name of a band, or how to make an apple pie.
Go to a site. These are more specific queries, where a person wants to visit a particular site, like Facebook, New York Times, NBA homepage, and so on.
Take some time to think of what kind of queries would work for the content you’re publishing. Another thing that might help you is visiting competing high-ranking sites that cover similar topics. You might get some ideas for the keywords from their titles, meta tags or intro sections.
If you have exhausted your own creativity in this endeavor and still think that it isn’t good enough, fear not!
There are numerous useful tools that can help you in finding the best keywords for your blog posts, most of which come with their own peculiarities, so be sure to check out the ones you’re interested in and decide which suits you best.
The most common one is Google’s Keyword Planner. While it is designed for AdWords users, it can be used independently, and it has two major benefits:
It’s free to use
It is made by Google, which means that it has an astounding amount of data at its disposal.
However, there are some downsides to it, too, so be sure to get to know the tool well before using it.
A simple and popular tool, HitTail specializes in long-tail research. It generates suggestions by using an algorithm which analyzes your website traffic and already existing keywords on the other sites, and then it gives you very specific keywords that are tailored to your audience.
The desire to have even more useful weapons in your arsenal might also lead you to tools the likes of WooRank’s SEO Audit which is pretty easy to use and has some neat features like social shareability, geodata, and mobile optimization.
3. What to do when you have the best keywords
So, you found your killer keywords, and you might be wondering what’s the next step?
First of all, you could use these keywords as a basis for your new blog posts that are guaranteed to garner attention even from a casual browser. But, you can also use these words to optimize your older posts and freshen them up.
Be sure to include keywords in numerous spots, like your titles, meta tags, headers, intro section and throughout the post itself. Luckily, with the introduction of LSI (latent semantic indexing) you don’t have to use the same long tail keyword verbatim every time.
You can use variations, or even just portions of your keyword, and Google will still understand. Bear in mind that search engines favor long-form content nowadays, so it is a better idea to commit and write a long, high quality article on the topic, rather than spam a ton of short meaningless posts.
With the rise of voice searches, be sure to check out what kind of search queries your audience makes in this manner. Since people tend to phrase questions differently when they actually speak them out loud, it is important to figure out how to make your keywords and content work with this.
Keyword research for blog posts is a skill that has evolved throughout the years, but it is now more important than ever. Even if you’re not a fan of all the work that has to be put into this, I still strongly recommend that you tough it out, as your competition will surely not slack.
In the end, bear in mind that keywords alone won’t miraculously make you successful. You still need to create amazing content, and promote it. However, a good foundation is needed for that building you call your website, so build from the ground up!