Keyword Research Is Essential for good SEO, but the way they are used has changed a lot over the years.
If you have ever done any SEO, even at the most basic level, you will have heard about keywords.
Despite how keyword use has changed, one thing remains true: Keyword research is still the very foundation of an effective blogging strategy.
Here’s why Keyword Research Is Essential for Your Blogging Strategy.
Recommended reading: How to Promote Your Business by Teaming up with Bloggers.
Quick Intro to Keywords
Just in case you are unfamiliar with keywords, a keyword is the word (or words) that someone types into the search engine to find more information about a topic.
The most basic search engines from years ago would match the keyword to the text that appeared on the page.
If you wrote an article using a specific keyword, perhaps multiple times, this could help you to rank when someone used that keyword.
This is no longer the case, but keywords are still an important part of SEO.
Here are three reasons why keyword research is so crucial.
1. Keywords Tell You What People Are Searching For
When you carry out keyword research, you will come across the specific words that people are using to search for products, services, or information in your niche.
It’s easy to assume that you know what people will search for, perhaps because you would use certain words to make a search.
But keyword research often reveals new keywords that you have not thought of.
When you know what people are searching for, this can help you before you even start creating the content by providing you with information on which topics to write on.
If you find a new keyword focusing on a particular angle, you could create a new blog post around this.
2. Get the Right Visitors to Your Site
You want to identify the keywords that will direct the right type of visitors to your website.
By going deeper, you can find keywords that are more specific, leading to more targeted traffic.
For example, you may have a blog for a pet business. But pets are a big topic.
Some people will be searching for gardening tips for winter, some people will be searching for pet equipment to buy, some will want to learn how train a pet etc…
Using Ahrefs (more on that later) you can see what pet fans are searching for:
Using the example of “pets,” we can see how websites use keywords to get visitors:
“Pack Your Pets” ranks third in the search results and its top keyword is “pets.”
It wants people who are searching for “pets” to visit.
How does it do this?
By using the word wherever it can:
Keyword research helps you to narrow down your keywords to pinpoint the ones that will direct the right people to your site.
This is really important if you’ve invested in the pets business, and are using your blogging skills to get more visitors to your website – a popular way for skilled bloggers to make money.
Long-tail keywords are very valuable.
They generate less traffic, but they are also less competitive and easier to rank for. And because they are more specific, they generate more targeted traffic.
These are much easier to find using keyword research.
Of course, it’s not just pets that this is useful for.
You can apply this approach to your blogging strategy whatever your niche.
Apply these lessons to your sports, health, fashion, etc… blog and you’ll get the right people on your website.
3. Compete with Larger Websites
Keyword research is your secret weapon for getting above your larger competitors in your niche.
They may be able to rank much easier for shorter and more competitive keywords, but you can dig out the long-tail keywords that they have missed.
When you find the keywords that no one else is targeting, you can target these and start ranking for them by providing better answers surrounding these topics.
Otherwise you might spend all your time and energy struggling to compete with larger competitors with very little to show for it.
Essential Keyword Tip: Focus on Intent
When you are doing your keyword research, and as you start using the keywords in your content, it’s worth remembering that the use of keywords has changed a lot over the years.
The search algorithms are much more advanced these days.
It’s no longer about just matching up keywords on a page.
Ever since the Panda algorithm update came in, keyword stuffing has been something to avoid.
It wants to satisfy the user intent rather than just matching the specific keywords.
As a result, you should focus on writing for the reader while using keywords to direct your content.
If you write content focused on the user, your keywords are more likely to fit naturally.
Still try to include the keywords, especially in the title tag, but don’t overuse them.
The experience for the reader is what really matters.
Keyword Research Tools
If you want to do keyword research effectively, you will want to use dedicated keyword-research tools, and there are many to choose from. Here are three of the best:
- Google Keyword Planner is free to use and provides a lot of information, but you must be running an AdWords campaign to use it. It provides you with ideas for new keywords as well as how competitive they are. It’s easy to use and a good starting point for most bloggers.
- There are also more detailed tools like SEMrush. This is a paid tool, but it is excellent for all kinds of keyword research including finding both long-tail and short-tail keywords. It also has country-specific research and search figures for different keywords, the competition for each keyword, and more.
- Ahrefs is another great tool that is similar to SEMrush in its depth of features. It goes into a lot of detail about the keywords, including how many clicks you can expect if you rank for the keyword, and it also has a user-friendly UI.
How we use keywords has changed considerably over the years in order to use them effectively.
There is no longer a need to stuff in keywords, which can actually hurt your rankings.
Sometimes, you don’t need the actual keywords to appear on your page at all in order to rank for them because of the way Google analyzes intent.
But keyword research is still essential.
It provides you with crucial information about your customers, what they are looking for, and what matters to them, as well as helping to identify less competitive keywords that you can target to rank above your larger competitors.
So DO THIS NOW! Set up a keyword research strategy right away if you have not yet done so.
Start experimenting with some keyword research tools.
Then start finding the best keywords to rank for.
Remember – Keyword Research Is Essential.
Victoria Greene is a writer and brand consultant blogging for Victoriaecommerce. Here she helps people ‘hack their growth’ with time management tips. Big fan of social selling and content marketing through storytelling.