People that succeed with getting blog traffic from Google do two things extremely well:
First, they identify the keywords that their target audience is searching for.
Second, they craft content around those keywords that delivers high quality value.
But you’re probably wondering:
“How to do keyword research for blog posts.”
Today I’m going to make it easy for you.
I have some practical, actionable strategies you can use before you ever write a piece of blog content.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is a technique used to identify the terms and phrases that your target audience is searching for online. Finding keywords helps you understand your audience needs and the type of blog content you should create to attract readers. It also helps you learn about the type of content your competitors use to appeal to their audience.
Why Keyword Research is so important for Bloggers
Keyword research is the first step before you ever write a piece of content. Without understanding what your audience is searching for, you are relying on the hope that people will find and enjoy your blog posts.
I think you’ll agree, relying on hope can be very frustrating and doesn’t work for blogging.
By crafting your content around your audience needs, you can get found in Google search if your blog post matches the search intent of a user.
That’s not all.
Even if you get lots of traffic from social media networks, not much of it will stick or be repeat visitors if your content does not satisfy their needs and interests.
If you want a steady stream of traffic that comes back for more, don’t write another blog post without researching the needs of your target market.
What are the Keyword Research Basics?
Before we dive into how to do keyword research, let’s review three basic concepts every content creator should understand.
1. Know Your Niche Market
Can you research keywords if you don’t know your niche market?
Your audience is not EVERYONE.
It’s not just about getting traffic to your blog. It’s about getting the right traffic to your blog.
That is: People who are actually interested in your content.
Every successful blogger knows their audience. They use this as a starting point to learn what topics they should write about.
2. What are Broad Keywords?
Broad keywords are more general topics with high search volume and high competition. These keywords are too general to target.
For example, “coffee beans” is a high level term with heavy volume (10K to 100K monthly searches) and high competition. With over 22 million search results in Google, the page one results includes well-known big companies like Starbucks.
Can you compete there?
Although you shouldn’t try to compete for broad keywords, they are a good starting point to get ideas.
3. What are Long Tail Keywords?
Long tail keywords are more specific topics with low search volume and low competition. These are good keywords to target.
For example, “how to grind coffee beans” has about 600,000 searches in Google and monthly search volume of 1K to 10K.
Can you compete there?
Let’s get started.
Simple Stepping Stone Technique to Keyword Research
When it comes to keyword research, I’m sure you’ve heard enough about the amount of analysis that goes into finding them.
If you are looking for easy to understand methods that you can use today, then you’ll love my simple stepping stone technique to find the best keywords.
The keyword research process takes time, so be patient.
Here are the three steps we’ll cover:
- Getting basic, general keyword ideas
- Digging deeper into long tail phrases
- Finding the optimal search volume
Stepping Stone 1 – Start with a Winning List of General Keywords
General or broad keywords are the foundation of your research. These are high volume, high competition that you’ll use as a stepping stone to your winning keywords.
For example, “natural healing” is a general term that can you can use as a stepping stone to lead you in multiple niche keyword directions.
Once you have a list of general keywords, you can move on to the next stepping stone.
If you are having trouble coming up with a list of general terms, here are some ideas to use!
Keep a Keyword Idea File
Can you relate to this?
I never remember that thing I didn’t write down!
The easiest way around this is to keep a list of general keyword ideas handy so you can jot it down as soon as it comes to mind. It may be great or the dumbest idea ever.
Does it matter at this point?
Here are 3 handy tools you can use to easily record those keyword topics so they don’t get away from you:
- Google Keep: I use this on my Android phone and it syncs with the desktop version. Even if I am out and about and suddenly the best keyword idea pops into my head, I just jot it down for later research. It’s free!
- Evernote: Another free tool you can use on mobile devices or desktop computers. Collect all your great ideas in one place for when you need it later. Your list is always accessible.
- Paper and Pen: It’s been around forever and still works!
It doesn’t matter which tool you use, but use one! Some of your best ideas appear when you least expect it.
Find Killer General Keyword Ideas on Udemy
Have you heard of Udemy? It’s the largest online resource for courses and it’s full of great ideas.
- Visit Udemy.
- Click Categories to view the drop down list.
- Hover over categories to view its submenu.
There you’ll find a list of general ideas that all fit under the main category. For example, if you choose Lifestyle, you can see all the directions that topic can take you.
Use Soovle.com to Find Ideas for Keyword Topics
Soolve.com is free keyword research tool that will give you search results from seven different sources:
You’ll get plenty of ideas that you can drill down into later.
- Head over to Soolve.com.
- Enter a term into the search box and press Enter.
A number of results will be returned from 7 sources. Notice that the results can also take you in several directions for general keywords.
Try MetaGlossary.com for Blog Topic Ideas
MetaGlossary.com is a free tool where you can find 2,000,000 terms, phrases and acronyms!
It’s simple to use.
- Go to MetaGlossary.com.
- Type a term in the search box and click Define.
A list of keywords will be returned including definitions. The cool thing is you can drill down by clicking the words to get even more ideas.
As you can see, the results for “weight training” cover many more aspects of that topic then you can possibly think of on your own!
MetaGlossary is a powerful yet underutilized tool to find great general topic keywords.
Find Keywords to Target in Google’s Related Searches
Google is a goldmine for finding keywords that you didn’t think of! You can get great ideas here.
- Just type any broad term into the Google search box like “weight loss.”
- Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the Related searches …
The terms included here are popular searches in Google that are related to your search query.
I would definitely use those!
Copy them to you growing list of general or broad keywords that you’ll use for the next step.
Stepping Stone 2 – Harness the Power of Long Tail Keywords
Now that you have a good list of general terms, use those as a stepping stone to find long tail keywords. These are 4, 5 or more words that will help you create the content that your audience has an interest in.
I can’t emphasize this enough:
Specific questions means targeting longer keyword phrases on which to focus your content.
For example, people are not just searching for: weight loss
They are searching for something more specific like:
Can you lose a lot of weight by running?
If you wrote content around the broad keyword “weight loss,” your blog post wouldn’t rank well in Google search results. The competition is too high and the topic covers way too many subtopics.
Here’s the deal.
If you write content that satisfies a user query around the long tail keyword, you have a much better chance of getting found in Google search results.
You will also keep your audience on your blog longer because you wrote a piece of content that are actually interested in.
That’s not all – I have proof.
I tested this theory out last year on a website that I use for testing purposes. See that line going up? This is exactly why learning how to do keyword research is such a valuable skill in blogging.
After I implemented a content strategy that focused on low competition, low volume keywords, traffic started building.
Enough about that!
Let’s dig into some free tools to help you find long tail keywords based on your broad ones.
Google Autocomplete is the easiest tool ever to find out what users are actively searching for.
- Type your broad term into the search box but don’t press Enter.
- A list displays with several results that include more terms. The results list continues to offer more suggestions as you type more letters.
This is a great way to find multiple phrase terms.
Don’t forget to scroll down the page to the Related searches … you’ll find a ton of multiple phrase terms.
AnswerthePublic.com is free website that gathers questions for you automatically based on a broad term.
These are questions people ask that are related to the term you entered, making it a valuable long tail keyword generator.
It’s simple to use.
- Go to Answerthepublic.com.
- Enter your broad keyword term.
- Select the country whose results you want to see.
- Click Get questions.
Check the results. There are plenty to choose from.
I mentioned Udemy to find your general terms but you will love this technique for digging into the details of keywords.
- Visit Udemy.
- Select a Category from the list and then select a subcategory.
- Click All Courses in the results list. The Featured is the default but those are paid advertising and won’t be helpful.
- Scroll through the list to find the course that best matches your topic and has the highest rating.
- Click the course title and view the curriculum.
There is a treasure chest full of long tail keywords that people are actually interested in learning about.
This method is to get ideas, not copy the hard work of the course creator!
Stepping Stone 3 – Finding the Keyword Search Volume
You should now have a list of long-tail keywords that you can use as a stepping stone to find the ideal search volume.
Search volume is the number of searches for a specific keyword term in a set timeframe.
Why Does Keyword Search Volume Matter?
Search volume matters so you can determine if there are any actual search queries for a keyword that you are targeting. If you focus your content around keywords with no search volume, you won’t get found in Google.
On the other hand, if you target high volume keywords, you won’t be able to compete against the big websites, and won’t get found in search.
I like to focus on “low hanging fruit” search volume. These are keywords with low monthly search volume and low number of search results in Google.
It’s how I get over 75% of the traffic to my websites. As of this writing, this site is brand new so that stat does not apply here.
Here are some tools you can use to find the keyword search volume.
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is an AdWords tool designed for people who are creating ad campaigns in Google. It can also be used as a free SEO keyword research tool for people who are not using paid ad campaigns!
You don’t have to be an ad creator to get information about a keyword might perform in a given time frame.
- Go to the Google Keyword Planner.
- From the Tools menu, select Keyword Planner.
- Type a keyword phrase in the search box and click Get Ideas. There are other parameters which I won’t go into here.
I used the keyword “how to migrate a wordpress site to a new domain”.
The search volume is between 10 and 100 per month. Although it’s a very low search volume, you can compete for that keyword.
It won’t bring you a ton of traffic but it’s ideal if you have a new website that needs to get Google rankings.
Don’t stop there. Type the keyword phrase into Google search. There are only 5 million search results. The lower the number of search results, the better chance you have to compete for this keyword.
Let’s do another example.
Using the keyword phrase, “how to start a blog for free,” the search volume is low at 10 to 100 monthly searches.
Plug that query into Google search and you see 143 million search results. The chances of competing in a sea that big are not good.
It’s like the big fish in a small pond. Lower search volume and low search results are easier to compete and get traffic from Google.
Lower search volume and high search results are much more difficult rank.
I know what you are thinking.
With all that low volume, how will I ever get a lot of traffic?
Over time, all the little bits of traffic add to lots of traffic. AND … as you get better and your blog posts rank, you can start targeting more competitive keywords.
You can also find synonyms which mean the same thing. Google shows results that may not include the exact keyword, but they will include a synonym.
Here’s how that works. Perform a search for “how to find the best images”
Google shows you a number of results that include the words images, photos, and graphics.
Make sure you include these related terms in your blog post.
Here’s the deal: Creating blog posts without any keyword research is a bad idea. Ranking in Google can make or break your website.
I think you’ll agree with me on this one:
Traffic is kind of a big deal for bloggers.
You can spend all your time on social media posting day after day after day after day hoping that some traffic will stick … or
You can focus your efforts on creating content that your audience actually wants to read and that Google will love!
I hope that you see the full potential of using the Stepping Stone Technique: a step-by-step approach to learn how to do keyword research for ranking in Google.
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