Blogging has been around for a while and it looks a lot different today than it did in the early 2000s. Back then people used to read your blog because they followed it or subscribed to your RSS feed.
Not only has the internet changed since then, but online behaviour has changed too. Whilst some people might stumble across your blog and hit the subscribe button for email updates, many people discover blog content through search engines. With the internet busier than it’s ever been, now is a better time than ever for bloggers to explore using keyword research in their content strategy.
This post was written for those that may be new to blogging, as well as those who have been blogging for some time but are just now starting to explore keyword research.
What are keywords?
Put simply keywords are the words someone types (or speaks!) into a search engine – it’s what you search for!
Everyone uses a search engine differently. Some for the weather, some for recipes to their favourite dish and others for ordering food and looking up cinema times. Every time someone searches for information the search engine (Google) supplies the searcher with a satisfying answer as quickly as possible.
But what does this mean for you as a blogger? It means that all of your content that you produce has to be written for these searchers, you’ll need to know the questions they’re asking (keywords) and deliver the answer in your blog posts.
How will keywords change my blog strategy?
Blog content that is based on keyword research is different from other types of blog posts in that they focus on answering an existing question.
Contrast this with something like a blog post about a personal experience, or a post introducing a completely new idea — in both these scenarios, because your content doesn’t answer an existing question, it likely won’t get much traffic from search engines like Google, simply because no one is searching for it.
This tool allows you to find new keyword ideas two main ways: by typing in a word or a phrase and getting back-related keywords (the “Explore by Keyword” feature):
…or by typing in a page/website and getting back keywords that page or website ranks for (the “Explore by Site” feature):
Another great feature is the filter for “are questions” — this allows you to see only keywords that are formatted as questions.
What keywords do I pick?
Just because you found a keyword in a keyword research tool doesn’t necessarily mean you should use it in your blogging strategy. Once you have a list of keywords, it’s a good idea to whittle it down. Here’s how.
Choose keywords that match your audience
Knowing your audience is an essential part of keyword research because it helps you filter out keywords that, although technically related to your topic, are a mismatch for your audience.
If you haven’t done so yet, document an ideal audience for your blog. For example, if you run a fitness blog, you could write down something as simple as “fitness enthusiasts.” You could also go a bit deeper and create audience personas, full profiles of your ideal audience that include things like age, demographics, and interests.
The deeper your understanding of your ideal audience, the easier it will be to detect which keywords out of the bunch they would have searched for.
Look at each keyword’s search volume
Search volume gives you an estimate of how many people are searching for that keyword every month. It’s great to choose keywords that lots of people are searching for, but remember that quantity doesn’t always equal quality. You may opt for a lower-volume keyword because it’s much more relevant to your audience and your goals.
How do I use the keywords on my page?
When Google’s algorithm was less mature than it is today, it was easy to get your page to rank at the top of search results for certain phrases by repeating that keyword many times on the page.
Throughout the years, Google has massively improved at ranking pages that answer the query, rather than just repeat it on the page. This is important to keep in mind because it’s tempting to think that all you have to do with your keyword list is to add those words to your pages. To perform well in search engines though, you have to provide an answer to those queries that’s better than anything else out there.
Here are some tips for using keywords to guide your blog content:
Keywords are the input. You’re creating the output. Instead of asking yourself “How can I include this keyword on my page?” ask yourself, “How can I answer this question?”
You don’t have to have a separate page for every keyword you want to rank for. If you’re writing a blog post about “choosing the best running shoes,” for example, it makes perfect sense to answer multiple questions related to that topic within the same post, such as “road vs. trail running shoes” and “running shoe features.”
Check out the pages that are currently ranking for your target keyword and think about how you can create a page better than that.
Where do I go from here?
The best thing to do next is to give us a call on 020 3940 5000 or fill in the form on our contact page.
A huge part of growing your blog effectively is developing a content strategy. There’s a fantastic free video course from HubSpot that walks you through developing your own content strategy, including how to use Moz Keyword Explorer for your keyword research. If you’re a visual learner like us, you should find it helpful!
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