Keyword Research for Business Blogs

Keyword-ResearchKeyword research can be intimidating, but it is absolutely the backbone that all your posts are built on and not as hard as it sounds. But it is vital because if you want to know how to blog, you need to know how to find good keywords. They pretty much go hand in hand. That’s because when it comes to people finding your blog, even with the changes in Google and new prominence of social media, keywords remain the cornerstone of your writing.

 The reason is simple; they help people find you on the net. Search Engine Optimization or SEO depends on keywords to optimize our blog posts for the people who need that information. They help people who are looking for what you have to offer find you. From titles on your posts to articles you create for other sites, you should always have done keyword research first.

What is Keyword Research?

It is really not that hard to do. For the most part, you can break it down into two basic steps:

·         Discovering the key phrases or keywords – This just means finding out what words people are using when they do a Google search for something.

·         Identifying their value – How often does someone search for that term or word? How many other sites have that as their keyword? In other words, what is the competition out there?

Why do Keyword Research?

You might wonder if this is worth the time spent, but believe me it is. If you want to reach a certain audience, you need them to be able to find you. While social media has created new ways to get interested readers to your site, the best way to get ranked highly with Google is to use keywords and tags (I will tell you about these in another post) for your blog posts.

Luckily for us, Google even provides us with a free Google Keyword Research Tool to help us find the best keywords for our blog posts and site pages.

How to do Keyword Research

There are two approaches. The both really depend on what your main goal is for the writing. These two are:

·         Content centered keyword research – This is when you begin with a specific piece of content you intend to write and you need to find good keywords for it. A good example is when you have a product in mind you want to write about and you need to find out what keywords people use to find out about it.

·         Topic centered keyword research – This is when you know the topic in general and you want to find out what the best keywords are so you can center your writing on it. A good example would be that you have a blog for your woman’s shoe store and so you research the keyword trends to find out what people are looking for in that category.

The truth is, both approaches are fine and I have found that when I combine them I get the best results. Learning how to blog includes finding the approach that works best for your site. This can mean you begin with one and then refine your keyword research using the other.

Getting Started with Your Keyword Research

The best way to start is to take what you know. Walk away from the computer and write down on a piece of paper the topic you think you want to write about. Start writing a list of phrases that identify this topic. If your business is geographically specific, use the town or city in the phrases. Here are some examples I came up with in about five minutes, if you have a site for driving instruction in Vancouver:

·         Vancouver driving lessons

·         Driving lessons Vancouver

·         Driving school Driving school

·         Driving school Driving school

·         Learn to drive Vancouver

·         Vancouver Learn to drive

·         Vancouver Driving instructor

·         Driving instructor Vancouver

You get the picture, and this is just a quick example. Actually, you don’t even need to do the two versions since Google will find the keywords no matter what order they are in. They will even bring them up if they are scattered across the page, something to keep in mind when you are writing.

Your Google Adwords Keyword Tool

Now we can put these into the keyword tool to find out how much competition there is for these words and how many people use them when searching. You go to the Google Keyword Research Tool and begin your research:

·         Enter the phrase at the top of the page

·         Click on the “exact” for match types below

·         Click Search

·         Look at the local monthly searches column to the right

adwords snapshot

As you scroll down to see what words come up, ignore the shorter words (1 or 2 words) as they will have plenty of competition and not give you good quality. You also might want to avoid the really long phrases (5-7 words) as they will not give you enough traffic. So now we have identified a list of keywords that are 3-5 words long that people use and that are related to your keyword.

This gives you a list of keywords related to your content that people use when searching for your specific content. Now let’s find out which ones have value.

Competition and Value in Keywords

If you put that list into an excel doc you can then calculate which keywords have the greatest value for you. You start with a list of the keywords we just identified. You will add four columns to your excel doc so that it looks like this:

Keyword

Competition

Traffic

Traff/Comp

Quality

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The competition column is found when you click on the drop down menu for that word in your keyword tool. It will show “google search” as an option.

keywords google search

Click that and look at the top of the page for the number of sites that have that keyword.

google search traffic

The traffic column comes from the Google keyword tool column. Be sure to click the box “only use keyword related to my search terms” below your find keywords request box. This will give you a good idea of how many people use that search term each month.

google keywords traffic

For the traffic/competition column you divide traffic by competition and then multiply by 100.

For quality, this is a subjective call. I use a scale of 1-10. Short term words get low numbers. Phrases with words like “cheap” that add to the quality because they indicate someone is looking to buy get higher marks.  So we want keywords that score well, and have high traffic with low competition. Once you have your list it will be obvious which ones these are.

How to Blog Using Keywords for SEO

I do want to point out that even if you have these keywords, you should never abuse them. Stuffing as many keywords as possible into an article will just look artificial. Also, Google will notice. If you do this exercise to get the list of keywords that will work for your site, use them naturally in your writing. They may be an inspiration for your writing, but they should be in the blog where they would appear naturally.

Having a list of keywords handy that apply to the content of your site and blog will help you get started on your blog posts. It will also make sure that you show Google a consistent topic, so they know how to rank your site. All of this is part of giving those people searching for what you have to say a way to find you. In the end, that is what keyword research is really all about.

Looking to get out of doing your own keyword research or even writing your own blog? If you need content writing, blog writing or just a helping hand with it all, let me know. I love working with small business owners to help them get their blogs off the ground.

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