Even though blogging has been around for a time, it seems a whole lot different today than it did in early 2000s. In those times, people read your blog because they followed it (anyone else have a couple of old .blogspot blogs floating around out there?) or subscribed to your RSS feed.
Online behavior has changed since then. Though some people might stumble onto a web log they like and subscribe to its email list for updates, many individuals discover blog content through search engines. With an increase of people searching than ever before, it’s a great time for bloggers to explore using keyword research inside their content strategy.
This post was written for those that may be a new comer to blogging, as well as those who have been blogging for a while but are only now just starting to explore keyword research.
Ready? It’s time and energy to dive in to the beginner’s guide to keyword research for bloggers!
What are keywords?
Keywords are what someone types (or speaks!) into a research engine.
People use search engines for all sorts of things — such things as looking up movie times, seeing what the day’s weather is likely to be like, or getting their local pizza place’s number. Every search is a quest for information, and the goal of search engines like Google is to supply the searcher with an enjoyable answer as quickly as possible.
What does this mean for you as a blogger? It means that when you intend to write for these searchers, you’ll have to know the questions they’re asking (keywords) and deliver the solution in your blog posts.
How will keywords change my blog strategy?
Blog posts developed on the foundation of keyword research will vary from other types of blog posts in which they concentrate on answering a current question.
Contrast this with something such as for instance a post about your own experience, or perhaps a post introducing a brand-new idea — in both these scenarios, because your content doesn’t answer a current question, it likely won’t get much traffic from search engines like Google, mainly because no body is searching for it.
Does which means that you are able to only write to answer existing questions? Generally not very! Even topics without search demand could get great engagement and traffic on other channels like Facebook or Twitter, but if you want long-term free traffic, the best place to get it is from Google, and the easiest way to get Google to send you that traffic is to construct your blogs on the foundation of keyword research.
Where do I find keywords?
A keyword research tool like Moz Keyword Explorer will do the trick!
This tool allows you to find new keyword ideas two main ways: by typing in a phrase or an expression 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 which can be formatted as questions. Since answering your audience’s questions is this kind of key component of optimizing your content for search, this is a good tool to offer insight into what your audience desires to know.
What keywords do I pick?
Just because you found a keyword in a keyword research tool doesn’t necessarily mean you need to use it in your blogging strategy. Once you’ve a listing of keywords, it’s a good idea to whittle it down. Here’s how.
If you haven’t done so yet, document an ideal audience for your blog. As an example, if you run a fitness blog, you could take note of something as simple as “fitness enthusiasts.” You might go somewhat deeper and create audience personas, full profiles of your ideal audience including such things as age, demographics, and interests.
The deeper your comprehension of your ideal audience, the easier it is to detect which keywords from the bunch they’d have searched for.
Evaluate each keyword’s difficulty score
You may also desire to whittle down your keyword list to leave only people that have a proper Difficulty Score, which Keyword Explorer will assign to every keyword. That score is set by the potency of the pages that are still ranking on page 1 for that keyword.
If you’re just starting out blogging and you’ve a reasonably low Domain Authority (which you are able to check by downloading the MozBar plugin or using the free version of Moz Link Explorer), you may want to start with keywords that have a Difficulty Score in the 20-30 range, as well as lower. For more on how to use Difficulty Score in your keyword research, take a look at this write-up from Rand Fishkin.
Look at each keyword’s search volume
Search volume provides you with an estimate of just how many folks are searching for that keyword every month. It’s great to decide on keywords that a lot of people are searching for, but remember that quantity doesn’t always equal quality. You could decide for a lower-volume keyword because it’s much more highly relevant to your audience and your goals.