Keyword research for posts is still an important part of writing good content for your blog. Here’s how to begin.
SEO and content are like two sides of one coin. It couldn’t be otherwise, since what you write on your website is the main indicator that search engines have to identify and value your offering on. Ultimately, they have to decide, if it is relevant enough to serve it in SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Keywords are, in that process, a prime signal. Fifteen years ago it was only through them that you could help search engines understand your content. Today, though search has become much more sophisticated, they are still relevant and should be a part of your content creation process.
The best way to describe the purpose of a keyword is this:
- “Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it”.
The quote is from Google Webmaster Guidelines, and it is quite clear. You should know what your audience is searching for and match it to the content of your site. Do that whenever it’s relevant to the purpose of your business.
The question is: how do you know what users are looking for? Simply put, how can you determine the particular search terms your potential customers are using to search for your product?
You ask Google.
Research Keywords With Google’s Keyword Planner
Google analyzes all queries people tap into it, no matter how insignificant. Then, it makes some of that information available so that users of its ads platform can know which keywords are most important when writing advertising pieces.
That same information can help you find relevant keywords for your content.
Google Ads Keyword Planner allows you to know how much search volume (how many times a single term is used on the search engine in a month) a keyword has. It helps you discover related terms that may be more strategic to use.
- The good news is that the tool is completely free, and gives you access to detailed information about keywords. This includes current and historical search volume on both desktop and mobile.
- The downside is that KP is not a standalone tool. It is part of Google Ads platform, which means that if you do not use Google Ads, you’ll have to set up an account in order to use it.
To start working with the keyword planner, you can put together a list of topics that you consider relevant to your business. Then, use the tool to find out what search volume each topic has, and what type of similar searches users make in your area.
While choosing keywords, keep in mind that:
- It may be easier to rank well for terms with low search volume, as there is often less competition. However, these keywords will drive less traffic to your site.
- It can be more difficult to rank well for terms with a very high search volume, because they tend to have more competition. If you do get a good ranking, you should see much more traffic.
- Long-tail keywords (for example, “marketing automation platforms”) tend to have lower search volume than short-tail keywords (“marketing automation”), but this is not always the case. You should verify it.
Once you have passed all keywords through the tool, you’ll have to choose which ones are best suited to the piece of content you need to create.
A good strategy is to write several texts with long-tail keywords linking to another, broader piece, with short-tail keywords and higher search volume. This can help you rank better in more competitive search terms.
Placing keywords on your content
Once you have your keywords, you can start with the writing task itself. In general, for a single piece, it is advisable to have a main keyword and use it naturally throughout the text.
But, what exactly does “naturally” mean? In essence, it means texts should always be written for people, not for search engines; therefore, the inclusion of keywords has to make sense and be consistent.
Additionally, you should keep in mind that it’s way more effective to write thinking about how to develop your topic well, than to write only to give context to your keyword. Especially when search engines have become much better at understanding the meaning and relevance of a page, regardless of the search terms it has.
That being said, here are some tips on keyword usage and copywriting.
- Make sure your text has no less than 400/500 words; longer texts often get better rankings.
- Include your main keyword throughout the text whenever you see fit. Don’t force the structure of a paragraph just to make it appear.
- Make it easy for readers to scan your text by including headers, bullet lists, and important phrases in bold.
- Use your main keyword in the title, url, and at least one of the headers.
- Include your keyword in title and meta description tags, as well as the alt-text for your featured image
- Link the keyword to other pieces of content on your site that contain related search terms.
- Write concise paragraphs to stimulate reading.
- If possible, have someone else proofread your post before you publish it.
If you want to learn more about SEO and content creation best practices, I strongly suggest you start by reading Google’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide. It’s one of the best resources available.
On keyword research, check out HubSpot’s 11 Best Keyword Research Tools. The list includes Google Keyword Planner and another ten great tools you can use, both free and paid.
Hope you find this helpful!y