If you are new to the world of SEO, you might be asking yourself what keywords are and how to select keywords for your website. In essence, keywords are phrases or words that people are searching for on the search engines.
You can take advantage of these keywords by including them in your content so that your website will appear when people search for a given keyword. Put simply, they connect your content with the targeted audience, making it easier for them to find the information they are looking for.
How to select keywords correctly for a web page or a blog is termed as keyword research. Keyword research is not an art, but a systematic scientific process. What this means is that there are key steps and rules, which when followed will give you the desired result of higher rankings whether you are writing a blog, a product review or a web page offering your services.
So let’s get to work right away. When deciding how to select keywords for a blog post, there are 3 basic steps:
STEP 1: FIND A NICHE TOPIC
Finding a niche topic that is right for you and of interest to the audience is one of the most important steps. Some people make the mistake of picking a niche that they enjoy writing about, but unfortunately not that many people are interested in reading about. As a result, it will be very difficult to make money by blogging on this topic.
On the other hand, if someone picks up a topic solely for the reason of making money, they could later realize that they do not enjoy blogging on the topic. This is easily sensed by the audience resulting in receding readership.
The key here is to strike the right balance between your inclination towards the topic and the interest of the readers.
In order to gauge your interest, start by creating a mind map. List all the different things that you are passionate about and then try to narrow down to a list of 5 topics on which you could blog on the basis of your education or experience.
After you have shortlisted your 5 topics, you need to analyze them in order to gauge if there is an audience that is interested in the topic. Keep the end goal in mind: driving traffic. Traffic is driven to your blog by selecting a trending topic or a long-term content generation topic.
If you are chasing a timely topic, use Google Suggest or Google Trends to find a topic that the audience is currently interested in. This interest in the topic is usually based on current situations. An example could be an interested audience who wants to learn about the change in government policies or a financial scam.
A long-term topic is broader and is aimed at blogging consistently for 2-3 years to develop an expert opinion in your niche. An example here could be a topic on parenting or physical fitness. Once you have finalized your topic the next step is to research keywords.
STEP 2: KEYWORD IDEAS
Now that you have the topics shortlisted, it’s time to find keywords within those topics. Keywords could be generalized into 2 types based on length and topic.
Based on their length, keywords are known as either short form keywords or long tail keywords. Short form keywords are single terms that have a high search volume whereas long tail keywords are four or more words or a phrase which usually has lower search volume.
Based on the topic, a keyword is either broad or specific. An example of a broad keyword would be “shoes” which is also most likely to be highly competitive to rank as compared to “men’s sports shoes” which is specific and narrows down the target audience.
The focus now is to narrow down on the chosen niche topic. For example, it is better to target keywords such as “how to communicate with teenagers” instead of a competitive and generic keyword as “teenage parenting.”
The next step is to generate keywords related to the topic. So, if you have chosen the topic as “parenting”, you now need to identify related keyword phrases that people might search for.
These could be:
- How to deal with rowdy teenagers?
- Dealing with sibling fights
- How to stop child temper tantrums
- Teaching manners to children, etc.
To generate related keywords, type the term in Google and look at the related search phrases that come up. These can spark ideas for similar terms or keywords to add to your list. Once you have a list of keywords that interest you, the final step is to analyze the keywords, traffic, and competition.
STEP 3: KEYWORD ANALYSIS
This is the final step where you choose target terms by striking the right balance with search volume and competition associated with each keyword.
There are a number of tools available for keyword analysis, some of the popular ones are:
- Google Adwords Keyword Planner
This tool evaluates the monthly local and global search volumes and competition levels, along with an estimation of cost per click if you are planning to get paid traffic to your website or blog.
SEMrush gives you a number of reports to see keywords related to your domain and also terms that your competition is ranking for.
- Long Tail Pro
Long Tail Pro also has useful keyword analysis features and reports that can be filtered on different criteria, such as ranking difficulty and local search.
The primary purpose of using these tools is to gauge the volume of search traffic and the level of competition for the keywords.
Eliminate terms that have too much or too little volume. However, also check projection and history of the keywords in Google Trends, as some low volume keywords could be worth investing in now, and reaping the benefits later.
As for the competition, a good benchmark is to use both low and high competitive keywords. as well as a mix of broad and specific keywords.
You are now ready to put pen to paper and start writing your blog. Remember to use your keywords sparingly and make it flow as part of the conversation on the blog.
Remember, you can also incorporate SEO plugins in order to help you select the right keywords and optimize your SEO. Go check out our blog for more interesting articles on how to increase your traffic using SEO plugins!