Do you ever sit down to write a blog post, feeling clueless about how to choose the right keywords for SEO? OR second-guessing whether the keywords are using will actually help your post rank higher in search engine results or get you found by clients?
If so, you’re not alone. A lot of bloggers struggle with finding the right keywords to use in their content – I know because I used to be one of them – but I’ve learned some keyword research tips in my 10 years of blogging that can help.
As a blogger, you likely already know how important it is to do keyword research, but if you aren’t looking for the right keywords or just coming up with them on the fly, your blogging and SEO efforts may not prove very effective. In a nutshell, doing keyword research can help you understand what your audience is actually looking for, and how to optimize your content to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
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There are a ton of approaches you can take to do keyword research, but in this post, I want to share three different strategies that I have found most effective in my experience.
Strategy #1: Find Keywords First
The first strategy is to find the right keywords BEFORE you start writing your blog post. This approach would work well for you if you have a hard time coming up with what to write about. You can let the data drive your topic choice and focus on creating content that has a high potential to rank well in search engine results.
To start, you need to look for high volume keywords that have a low competition score within your industry. You can use a keyword research tool such like SEMrush or Ahrefs to find relevant keywords.
In this case, a high volume keyword, generally meaning that it has at least 100-1000 monthly volume of searches.
The competition score of a keyword is based on a combination of factors such as the number of webpages that are already ranking for the keyword, the quality and relevance of those webpages, and the authority of the websites they belong to. The closer a keywords competition score is to 100 the harder it will be for you to rank for it.
So, if you’re writing a blog post about “digital marketing,” you can enter this keyword and maybe even a few related keywords into a keyword research tool to see what have the most potential
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As you’re looking at the keyword data, don’t just look at volume and difficulty/competition. It also helps to see what other websites who are ranking highly for this term are writing about to see what kind of content is popular and likely to rank.
Check the top three ranking websites and look not only at the main content of the posts, but their length, how they are written, the images or visual aids used and the wording of the headings that break them up. This will give you a clue on what elements you should be including in your own post.
Strategy #2: Write Your Blog Post First, Then Look for Keywords
The second strategy is to write your blog post first and then find keywords that fit the topic afterward. This is a good approach if inspiration strikes you and you already know what you want to write about.
When you use this method, your writing may feel more natural for your readers, and you are not limited by things like keyword density or placement during your creative writing process. Here are some tips for implementing keyword research using this method:
- Write your post based on a topic that is already within your area of expertise, that comes easily to you
- Identify the main themes and topics covered in your post after your write your first draft
- Use a keyword research tool to find relevant keywords that you can use to optimize your content for
- Look up data for variations of keywords or phrases that you suspect might have a good volume
- Choose a primary keyword focus and a few variation keywords for your content
- Go back to your post draft and optimize it – be on the lookout for vague words that you can swap out for a keyword such as thing, it, stuff, etc. (But don’t overdo it, remember only ~1-2% keyword density should be your target.)
Strategy #3: Use “People Also Ask” Prompts From Google Search
The third strategy is to see what topics are trending using the “People also ask” prompts from Google search. This approach can help you identify popular topics with your audience related to your niche.
How does the “People also ask” section work?
When you use Google to search for something, the search engine looks at what you’ve searched for and shows you a list of relevant results. As you click on the results and spend time reading the content, Google pays attention to that behavior to see if you are finding what you’re looking for. Based on this behavior, Google’s system tries to figure out what other questions you and other people might have about the topic you have searched for.
These questions are then shown in the “People also ask” section below the search results, so that you can find more helpful information about your search.
To use this strategy, simply enter a keyword related to your niche into Google search and scroll down to the “People also ask” section. You’ll find a list of related questions that people are asking about that particular topic.
For example, if you’re writing a blog post about “custom web design,” you can enter this keyword into Google search and look for related questions that people are asking, such as “What is a custom web design?“, “Is a custom website worth it?“, and “How do I create my own web design?“
You can use these questions combined as the headings for each section of a blog post or create a deep-dive post based on a single question.
Using this strategy can help you create content that is desirable to read because you’re answering the questions that your audience is already actively seeking answers to.
You can take this method a step further by taking those questions and looking up the keyword data for the keyterms and choosing the optimal keyword to focus your post on.
By using one of the keyword research tips we’ve discussed in this post, you can find relevant keywords that will help you rank more highly in search. But the key to improving your rankings is in the follow-up – don’t just write a post and forget about it. Make sure to check back on your rankings once you’ve published your blog. Sometimes you can begin ranking for a certain term within days, while some posts may take weeks.
Don’t get discouraged though if you don’t see results immediately. Building organic traffic takes time and consistent effort, but will pay off as you continue to write about strategically-researched topics and offer helpful advice.
I help female entrepreneurs and business owners create brands that command the spotlight. I love working with women to help them create beautiful, one-of-a-kind brands that give them the confidence to take their business to the next level and get them seriously noticed. I’ve worked with coaches, authors, influencers… you name it, and I bet I can help you too.