Running a blog may be easy when you just post there for fun and when your only intent is sharing your thoughts and events with friends. But the moment you start aiming higher and decide to make some money from your blog, things change forever.
For many years keyword research seemed simple and pretty-much automated with all those WP SEO plugins. Get a target keyword (find it on Google Keyword planner) and use it many times with no changes across your text, include it in the title, description and image tags. This was a long-time go-to strategy of many bloggers.
The times have changed. A half of these recommendations doesn’t work today, the other half is pretty much outdated. Here I give you some hits on the modern approach to keyword research.
Kinds of keywords to focus on
In fact, there can be no ultimate list of keywords that will take you higher in SERPs and drive you traffic. In simple terms, keywords (or rather, key phrases) are those words people type into the search field to find the info they need. There are billions of such phrases and you shouldn’t be aiming at just one for each your blog post.
Modern keyword research should be aimed at Long-tail keywords and LSI keywords. Both are good for smaller businesses and blogs, both are powerful means of traffic and engagement.
Long-tail keywords have nothing to do with the number of words they include. Long-tails are those low-volume and highly-specific keyword phrases that have a so-called low “search demand” on Google. Actually, these low-search-demands make around 40% of Google searches and provide high potential for most bloggers.
LSI (stands for Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords, in simple terms, are those keyword phrases that are close in meaning to your targeted keyword. These are not simply synonymic key phrases, but they are closely related ones to the main topic you choose for your blog post.
Keyword metrics to pay attention to
There are numerous tools, paid and free, that can help you to research tons of keywords for your next blog post. But to choose wisely, you should know what characteristics of keywords you should evaluate to choose the right keywords. Note that free tools, like Soovle or Ubersuggest, won’t show you any metrics, so it better to go for more advanced tools that offer some numbers for each keyword. These numbers are:
- Keyword Difficulty. One of the essential metrics that helps a blogger to understand how hard it can be to rank for the particular keyword in Top10.
- Search volume. The number of monthly searches, usually, per one location. Note that Google Keyword Planner is not good in showing search volume today. After the last year’s update, it started grouping keywords and showing the average numbers for monthly searches (e.g. “1K – 10K”). So you need more advanced tools to get more precise numbers.
- Clicks number. It shows how many clicks the search results for a particular keyword get. Some requests are just simple questions e.g. “Brad Pitt age”. Users get their answers right on SERP and usually don’t click the articles. You should aim at more attention-grabbing keywords that drive more clicks.
- Estimated traffic. This feature is mostly presented in more advanced tools and is based on the analysis of SERPs and the average traffic Top10 articles get for a particular keyword. Thus, you get the idea of potential traffic your own blog post with this keyword may get.
There are many other metrics that various keyword tools offer, e.g. “suggested bid” in GKP that can be useful if you’re planning to run paid campaigns for your articles.
3 effective strategies to get keywords for a blog post
To get the right keywords for your next blog post, you should always focus on a general topic of your blog. And always keep in mind a user’s intent for a search. So, the first strategy will be:
Try to suggest what users may type into the search field to find your article. Thus, if you’re planning to create an article about how to get tickets to the last minute flights, you can type the keyphrase “last minute flights” into the Google search, and then scroll down to get multiple suggestions of LSI keywords for your article. Clicking each of these suggestions and repeating the process will give you even more keyword options each of them can be used within your blog post.
Search for the keywords you already rank for
When you’re running a blog for some time already, there are a good number of keywords you can gather and try to get more suggestions for new articles. There are a few ways of getting such keywords. You can use any of your favorite keyword research tools to find out what organic keywords you already rank for. You can also go to the Google Search Console to get the ideas from the inside your blog. Just check out your top articles and examine the keywords they rank high in SERP.
Google Search Console limits the number of keyword up to 1,000 and doesn’t show you the number of monthly volumes. But you can see the number of clicks and impressions what may provide you with some ideas of how to use those keywords.
Search for the keywords your competitors rank for
Most of the experienced bloggers are familiar with this tactic called “steal your competitor’s traffic.” The main idea here is finding out what keywords rival blogs are using for their articles that rank in Google’s Top10, grabbing a bunch of such keywords and creating 100x-times cooler content using those keywords.
You can drop your competitor’s URL in Ahrefs tool, and check out their top organic keywords. To get only top ones, you should filter the list of organic keywords by Position (from 1 to 10). You can also apply other filters like Keyword Difficulty, Volume etc. Just repeat this procedure for all competitor’s domains, and you’ll get a bunch of great keyword ideas for your future blog posts.
After you got your huge list of keywords, it’s time to sort them out a bit. You can sort them out into the following groups:
- By the “parent” topic – it’s usually the one general keyword that may unite many specific keywords. Use this main keywords in the article’s title and include more specific keywords in the body text. Create a well-written, deeply-researched content. Thus you may rank for hundred keywords with one article.
- By the user’s intent – make a list of keywords that reflect the user’s potential search queries and create a number of articles that answer user’s issues represented by those keywords.
- By value – make a list of keywords that should bring traffic, clicks and customers to your blog. Sort out the keywords by their Difficulty level to focus on those that will be potentially easy to rank for.
Don’t try to get a huge list. Evaluate each keyword (or a group of closely-related keywords) from the point of view of their ROI (return on investment). Focus on those that can bring you the highest ROI and start building your blog strategy around them.