There’s a powerful argument that blogging success begins with words typed into a search box, aka keywords. So, knowing how to search for a keyword, and then use it correctly, is an essential skill for every blogger to have in their toolkit.
Scores of people across the globe contribute to billions of searches a day! Seconds later, the search engines serve up results pages based on reasonable keyword matches.
If you think about that last bit at all, the enormous value of keywords has to sink in quickly. We want to be in those SERPs, right? It’s all about free, organic traffic and lots of eyes viewing our content.
But of course, we don’t want just any eyes. Our objective is to attract the right readers with a keyword that is highly relevant to our niche. If we inadvertently attract a reader that’s not part of our target market, they’ll be momentarily baffled at how they arrived and simply click away. What’s the point?
There’s a lot to this keyword thing. Perhaps, more than meets the eye at first glance. So, let’s dig into this meaty issue.
Keyword Search Tips
How do we search out value-added, niche-specific keywords? The process begins with a crystal clear vision of your ideal reader and the burning issues they care about.
Here’s an irrefutable fact with numerous supporting studies!
The Internet empowers consumers to grab the reigns and play a self-directed role in their “buying journey” As they travel through the linear phases including awareness, research, comparison, and ultimate purchase, a great deal of searching transpires.
Do you know what questions your target readers are asking? Have you found the online water coolers where they hang out? The driving focus of every niche website should be helping visitors in their quest for solutions including arming them with the valuable information they need and nurturing relationships.
Excellent Sources of Keyword Suggestions
Before selecting a specific keyword, you’ll want to use a research tool to drill down and obtain pertinent metrics to assess it’s value. We’ll get to that step in a moment. But let’s not jump ahead.
At this point, we’re still in the data gathering phase. What are the hot topics that are trending within your niche? Every keyword you select is a seed that you will cultivate into an in-depth article that’s tailor made to inform and solve the problems of qualified traffic.
Keywords draw traffic, but your post has to deliver!
So, Where Do You Find Content (and Keyword) Ideas?
As you immerse yourself in your niche, content ideas begin to fly at a fast and furious pace. As a new webmaster, I know you’re skeptical about that statement but give it time, and I know you’ll become a believer.
Here are a few tried and true suggestions to get you over that initial hurdle, “what the heck do I blog about”?
Follow Respected Blogs in Your Niche
The top-rated blogs in a given niche are not hard to find, right? They’re featured prominently on Goggle Page 1, their posts are linked to with great regularity, and there’s an excellent chance you’ve downloaded an ebook from their site.
In other words, they’ve established a coveted level of trust and credibility, and they consistently deliver epic value content. So, why wouldn’t you shamelessly steal content ideas and mine that content for possible keywords?
Notice the emphasis on ideas!
I’ve always appreciated Mark Twain’s perspective on this.
Latch onto some content marketing ideas, and give them your unique spin and perspective. Recent posts on popular sites may be indicative of what’s currently in demand. But don’t ignore the old stuff on well-established sites. The post archives can be a veritable treasure trove of evergreen topics just waiting for a fresh take.
One small segment of an existing article may generate a spark that subsequently leads to a pillar post on your site. The competition represents a rich minefield of topical gold nuggets.
The keywords are rarely a mystery. Focus keywords are typically embedded in titles and meta descriptions. Related (or LSI) keywords are often liberally sprinkled throughout the post. Jot down key concepts (often introduced as questions) for later research.
Hang Out in Forums or Discussion Groups on Linked-In
Online forums like Quora provide invaluable insights into the minds of your audience. If you want to help readers by answering their questions, you can read the queries that are posted in Quora daily. As an active participant on this site, I’ve derived numerous benefits.
Here’s one way I’ve used this helpful forum. One day I read a question that really spoke directly to me, and I knew I could respond to in an extraordinarily thorough fashion. I read the responses from other participants, and they fell short of the mark in my opinion. I ran the question through my favorite keyword research tool, and sure enough, it met all my criteria.
Rather than immediately answer the question on the site, I wrote an extensive post on my blog and hit publish. I then went back to Quora and replied to the question by providing a link to my relevant blog post. I’m now in rinse and repeat mode due to the success of this first venture!
How Can You Ignore Social Media Sites?
The infographics on Pinterest boards are loaded with visualizations of keyword phrases. Reddit, Google + and Twitter are also exceptional suppliers of interesting topics that are uppermost in the mind of Internet users. Spend a few moments browsing these social media sites and keyword options will pop out at you from all directions.
Use a Keyword Research Tool to Assess Value
So, you’ve completed the exercises above, and the excitement is mounting because you have a lengthy list of potential keywords to check. It’s now time to perform a value assessment and identify the keywords that make the most sense for your blog.
There are many tools available that provide essential data like the volume of monthly searches, the number of competing sites that are already targeting the exact same phrase, and closely related keyword suggestions.
I’ve experimented with a number of research platforms and have settled on one that I use consistently. My regular readers are aware that I’m a long-term member of an online marketing community called Wealthy Affiliate. WA offers a superior research tool for use by its members, and I have no need to look further afield because it meets all my needs.
If you haven’t settled on a favorite tool yet, Jaaxy is another outstanding program that you might consider. Jaaxy is a paid tool, but you can get 30 free searches for free. Before you ask (I know I always do), you don’t have to supply a credit card to try it out. All you need is an email address.
Just type in a keyword that intrigues you to check it out and take advantage of 30 free searches.
Okay, what kind of results are are we looking for?
Here’s the list of factors I use for this important evaluation.
- The phrase must get regular monthly traffic. The more traffic, the better but certainly more than 50 searches a month. A phrase that no one is searching for has little to no value!
- Competition for the exact keyword phrase must be low. We want a term we can rank for fairly easily. I prefer competition of fewer than 50 sites.
- It bears repeating that the phrase must be extremely niche-relevant. My purpose is to provide value with the post at hand and also through links to related content that is narrowly focused on an identified target market. I can’t be all things to all people, and I don’t try!
- If I find a relatively low competition, high traffic phrase that appears to have merit, I proceed to check out the nature of the competition. A quick Google search will tell you who the competition is. Is Page 1 entirely populated with large authority sites or do you see small niche sites that you can go head to head with?
Does the keyword list you developed contain short (one to three) word phrases? Try converting these to questions or expanding the phrase in other appropriate ways. Bloggers refer to longer (four or more words) queries as Long-Tail Keywords Competition tends to decrease drastically. Traffic also declines but it’s easier to rank, so the trade-off is reasonable.
“How to” posts that promise actionable items are very popular with readers so this may also be an adaptation you can consider.
So, for example, instead of choosing the word “blog”(phenomenal traffic and scary levels of competition) as a keyword, you might contemplate long-tail phrases such as
- What is the Definition of a Blog?
- Can I Make Money With a Blog?
- How to Create a Blog and Make Money
How to Rank for a Keyword
Ranking high in the SERPs for your chosen keyword is the ultimate goal. Once you’ve selected an awesome keyword and zealously crafted relevant content, there are additional on-page search engine optimization techniques to which you’ll also want to adhere. Find more information here on how to rank for a keyword.
Few skills are more crucial for a blogger than knowing how to search for a keyword. As with most new things in life, newbie website owners often struggle with the task. If you’re in that position, I sincerely hope this overview was beneficial.
Would you like more training around keywords, content writing, and search engine optimization? Consider joining me at Wealthy Affiliate by clicking the banner below to create a free Starter Membership.
Do you have more questions? It would be my pleasure to answer them. Please give me a shout in the comment section below!
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