As for bloggers, keyword research is one thing you know you should do to help your blog succeed. If you have already done some keyword researches for your own blog, it is great! However, it is very possible that you are still confused about the whole concept of keyword research.
As a matter of fact, keyword research should start before you fill in the SEO plugin fields when you are adding a post, and even before you begin to write. In this guide, we are to tell you why the intentional but not manipulative keyword use is important and then we will bring you several simple and quick SEO keyword research tips for all bloggers.
What Is the Role Keywords Playing in SEO?
When we are talking about SEO practice, we believe Google must be in the top list of the objects that you have in mind, because Google is the largest search engine in the world, and it has to maintain the top of how people round the world is using their search engine.
There is an inevitable trend that the number of search performed is increasing each year, and it is reported that about 16% to 20% search queries that are used every day have never been typed into Google search engine before, so Google has to improve its algorithm every single day. That is how this search engine giant keeping on the top.
10 years ago, keywords are the king in search. It made many opportunistic web owners recognized and took advantage of it. They packed a number of a certain keyword on one page to enable the page rank in the search results for that certain keyword. However, for readers, it was a very bad experience because the page filled up with a certain keyword could only show a low-quality content. Readers were difficult in picking out the needed information from these “keyword stuffed” content.
Fortunately, Google figured out this trick and punished this sort of behaviors, by updating a series of algorithm to raise a war against over-optimization practices.
Keyword Research of 2017
Recently, Google took a much more holistic research on keywords, which are more concerned with the context that is presented by many different phrases and words used in a piece of content rather than the presence with one certain keyword.
Sometimes, the content ranking well for a particular term does not even include the accurate term searched at all. However, Google is still good at matching what context you are search for to those relevant information. To optimize for this is also called the “topic modeling”, allowing you to create the context for a piece of content by using the interrelated keywords.
The interesting thing is that the topic modeling is to lead us back to the way that you communicate with others naturally. It doesn’t need you using one certain keyword, but make you naturally use a set of relevant phrases and words which together build the context of what you are talking.
Nevertheless, it does not mean that the single keywords are unimportant ever. For SEO, there are numerous researches talking about the importance of keywords. So, bearing this in mind, let’s start the real SEO keyword research tips now.
What Makes Good Keywords?
From traditional perspective, a good keyword can get a great number of searches monthly as well as small competitiveness from other websites that try to get traffic by it. To determine it, there are many tools, and Google Keyword Planner is one of the best. It can display the monthly search volume and the keyword’s competitiveness on AdWords.
However, in practice, this traditional definition is not perfect to define a good keyword for your blog. AdWords competitiveness is not 100% accurate at determining the real competitive ranking is in practice. Besides, for those long tail keywords, they even have not monthly search volume received in Keyword Planner.
So, it is of better to pick up a more specific definition instead of the traditional one. For bloggers, the good keywords should be something that your target audience will be searching for, and your relative context can break into from the existing results as well. About length, most keywords are at least 2 words and often be longer. In below, we are to tell how to create your keyword list and pare it down.
Build Your Keyword List
Keyword list does not require you to use many expensive or fancy tools. In addition, once you created a narrowed down keyword list, the things of putting forward the topics for your blog posts will be all down as well.
For now, you just need to build a long keyword list (between 50 and 100) to target. And then, you should always track your keywords with a spreadsheet which does not need to be complex. A simple Google Sheets document is good.
Keyword Research Tools
Google Keyword Planner, as a free tool, is very suitable to use. With it, the first thing is to type into your blog theme that could be 1 to 3 words. For instance, here we type “succulents” as a blog theme, and then search for the “succulents” keyword to start.
Then, Google Keyword Planner will offer a series of relevant keyword ideas, such as growing succulents, succulent planter, succulent care, and succulent pots. In the crowd of relevant keyword ideas, succulent care is the better one. From the screenshot, we can find that succulent care receives high average monthly searches and low competition.
By checking the relevant keyword ideas and their monthly searches as well as competition, you can find there are many potential keywords. You can list them into a simple spreadsheet as following. Do not forget to list their monthly searches behind themselves. When you think of other search terms, you can keep the search to find more strong potential keywords. AdWords will report each keyword’s completion rating, which can show their competitiveness in organic search results.
When you have a 50 to 100 keyword list, just classify them by theme. Remember to make it specific enough so that each catalog can be its own blog posts.
Narrow Down the Keyword List
Once you have a 50+ good keyword list, you can move to narrow it down. From the long list, you can find out more than 10 best sets of good keywords, so that you can get into composing the right posts for your blog. But how do you narrow it down?
There is a free tool for you to analyze the competition of these keywords in your list above. It is Moz toolbar that is actually a colour-based rating system, based on the Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) of the top 4 results for each of your listed keywords. At the very beginning, you need to download it and set it up.
First, use the toolbar to find your site’s DA. Let’s say that your site has a DA of 20.
Second, search for all the keywords on your list on Google and colour-code the keyword with the following matrix. You’re looking at the top 4 results, as well as ideally for the results with a DA of 50- and a PA of 20 or less.
For instance, the “succulent care” looks like an orange one, which has strong page and weak domain.
And the “are succulents poisonous to cats” looks like a good one:
After you ranked all the listed keywords, your keyword list will be like this:
Each Post Has a Core Keyword
Basically, the keywords’ colours will tell you how easy each of them will rank your post on the first search engine result page. Of course, it will on be there overnight, but if the content you create is really as good as others appearing in the top 4 spots, while your DA can be comparable to other DAs there, then your post will have a solid chance.
When having a colour-code keyword list, you can start to figure out each set’s best keyword, balance volume with competitiveness, and move the best one to the top of the set. For example, there are “faux succulents” and “poisonous to cats” are both good example showing above, and the keyword research indicates that they have great chance to rank well.
After the filtering, you can make full use of these top keywords to put forward the blog post topic. And the title should include the top keyword. If possible, the beginning of the title is the best place for the keyword. Note when you come up with the topic of each set, you’d better list the headline behind the volume column like:
When you create the content, you don’t need to worry about the keyword density. You can sprinkle the top one throughout the whole post you are writing, and also include other keywords in your list more than once. Use them when you can and when they make sense.
If your blog site is using Yoast SEO as your SEO plugin, which is actually one of the top SEO plugins, your top keyword should use there as well. Even better, Yoast SEO can offer you some other suggestions to help you optimize your posts.
Following the tips we tell you above, you should get a list with at least 50 keywords and come up with at least 10 blog post topics. Here is a thing you note that your blog may already have the posts belonging to the 10 you get after the keyword research. It means that you have to optimize these posts appearing in your list by adjust the text to contain the set of keywords. This way can improve your post SEO effect and promote to have better ranking chance.
Additionally, if you run out of your keyword sets, you have to repeat the keyword research steps above so as to create a new keyword list. Q&A services such as Quora and Yahoo and relevant articles on Pinterest or Facebook are both good keyword inspiration sources.
If you are running a blog, what’s the keyword inspiration sources you like? If you are willing to share ideas with us and our readers, please leave them in the comments.