If you’re a blogger and you have no idea what keyword research is then this is for you.
When I was still new to blogging, I used to hear about keyword research and I used to wonder what word is so “key” that it needed research done for it. I was so clueless about and continued to blog without bothering to look into what it was and how it would help me.
As important as keyword research is to every blogger, many bloggers still do not know what it is, how to do it or why it should be the cornerstone of every blogger’s strategy for their blog.
If this is you, and you are ready to change that then read on because I’m going to tell you what is so ‘key’ about some words that not doing research about them could make or break your path to blogging success.
Table of Contents
What is so special about Keyword Research?
Let me start by explaining what Search Engine Optimization is in simple grade 5 language -your ability to rank on search engines and have people discover your content through search results on Google. Also known as SEO.
Keyword research is an important aspect of a good SEO strategy. This is because when people search for things on Google or Bing, search engine crawlers respond to those search queries by recommending sites that they find based on keyword domination.
While Google keeps coming up with periodic algorithm updates to favor user experiences, many of those updates are at the detriment of some bloggers as they tend to lose their traffic or face certain penalties, but one thing that remains intact is the part of keyword research.
Keyword research is invaluable because without keywords search engines would not know which content to recommend in response to the millions of search queries made by users everyday.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is the process of studying popular search terms and finding out what users are using when making search queries on search engines.
Here is a simplified keyword research definition – it is finding out what people are typing on Google to find content that is related to your niche.
After finding these popular search terms, known as keywords, you then write articles that include those targeted keywords within the body of your blog post so that it can rank for them on search engines.
When Google crawls your site and finds those keywords in your post, it includes your post within the results it shows to people who are searching for those keywords in its search engine.
It then uses a variety of factors which I will share later in this post, to then determine how high up its rankings it puts your post, or in other words to decide whether you are number one or five on the first page or number fifty on the fifth page.
Why You Should Not Be Ignoring Keyword Research
There are many bloggers creating awesome blog post content on interesting topics, in popular niches but are seeing little to no organic search traffic on their blogs.
I was blogging for many years without seeing any significant change in my search engine ranking or getting any organic traffic to my posts.
This can be very discouraging and has led many bloggers to quit their blogging journey too soon.
If you think you’ve got your on-page and off-page SEO tackled but you still aren’t getting enough traffic, then keyword research is probably what is missing out from your strategy and costing you a lot of potential blog traffic.
Researching and finding keywords in your niche can go a long way in helping you gain not only more organic traffic, but also helps you implement a better business strategy for blog.
7 Benefits of Keyword Research
Now that you have a glimpse of what keyword research entails, let’s check out the positive impacts it can have on your blog and journey as a blogger.
1. Increase in High Quality Traffic
Keyword research if done well, is a marketing strategy that will bring you a lot of traffic in the background over time. This traffic is not only a targeted audience that is already interested in the niche you blog about, but is also most likely one that is ready to convert.
And the more qualitative your traffic gets, the better it is for you to recruit and retain them as loyal readers or fans.
2. Identifying and Attracting your Target Audience
For you to come up with content that best serves the interests of your audience, you need to know what exactly they are searching for and what keywords to include in your content to attract them to your site.
Keyword research will help you find their interest and what’s left afterward is for you to create your content using the info you find.
What a great way to identify who your audience is and fish them over to your site with a keyword hook.
3. Generates Leads and Broadens Your Marketing Scope
Keywords connect you to visitors who are interested in the value you offer.
More so, a long tail keyword connects you to more prospects as it widens the market scope by giving a lookup of more words.
4. Increases Conversion Rate and Income
Keywords research helps you attain more precision which will not only favor your audience targeting but also make it easier to get them converted.
With keyword research, you target the people who are already interested in the type of content that you create. This allows you to have a targeted audience which is much easier to convert into customers than a general audience that is not targeted.
5. Competitive Insight
When you go for keyword research, there are various things you are prone to discover, and one of them is insight on the keywords your competitors are ranking for.
Keyword research gives you a competitive edge by letting you get easy insight into the keywords your competitors are ranking for.
Popular keyword research tools like Ahrefs, SEMRush and MOZ offer a Competitor Analysis tool that helps you which keywords your competitors are ranking for so that you can create content using similar or exact keywords to also rank well like your competitors or even higher than them.
6. Increases Brand Credibility
How many times have you searched for something on Google and just assumed that the first result one or two results are the most trustworthy because that is what Google is recommending?
Now looking at this habit from the other side, it would be great for your content to also rank high on the first page of search engine results.
The higher your site rank on SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages), the more search engine users will perceive you as a trusted brand.
Therefore, since keyword research helps promote your site rankings, it also contributes to increasing your brand credibility.
7. Gives a Great Return On Time Invested
Instead of spending your time on keyword guessing what might or might not rank your blog on search engines, keyword research doesn’t just make your effort worth it, but also gets you a high return on investment for the time you are putting into your content
So if you are tired of putting in a lot of time and effort into creating and putting out content without getting any return for your sweat, then you need to start putting some of that time into keyword research so that your content targets an audience that will potentially convert while also bringing you traffic over time.
How Do you do Keyword Research?
The first step in keyword research is having a insight into what terms people are interested in searching. Afterward, you can use a keyword research tool to broaden the keyword reach into more words that you can target.
This is no big deal because having enough knowledge about your niche and a basic understanding of how keyword research tools work, is enough to get you on the go.
Below is a basic step by step guide on how to perform keyword research.
Step 1. Identify Initial Keywords
As mentioned earlier, the first step in keyword research is identifying some keywords.
There are a couple of ways to go behind getting these kinds of keywords, and some good sources include using your niche topic, analytical data, autosuggest features, competition insight, etc.
Step 2. Check Keyword Difficulty and Search Volume
Now is the time when a keyword research tool will come in handy as you begin your keyword research.
There are many keyword research tools out there and a great keyword research tool worth checking out is the Google Keyword Planner and Google trends.
These tools are both free to use but I would recommend investing in some paid keyword research tools like Keysearch, SEMRush or Ahrefs to get access to more data.
Now, use the keywords you have in step one to expand your keyword list by using your preferred keyword research tool’s results.
Here you consider the keyword search volume and keyword difficulty score.
What is Keyword search volume?
Keyword search volume is the number of people who are searching for a certain keyword per month.
Keywords with a high search volume are ideal but are not always the easiest to rank for. At the same time, keywords that have a search volume of less than 50 are not always worth the time and effort.
But that is not to say completely ignore them because they may gain popularity over time.
What is Keyword Difficulty?
Keyword difficulty is a score that ranges from 0-100 for how difficult it is to rank for the keyword. You want to aim for keywords that have a low keyword difficulty score.
The ones with a high keyword difficulty score will be a waste of time to try and rank for because you will be essentially competing with big name brands who have all other aspects of their SEO in order.
So don’t set yourself up for failure and instead try to look for keywords that have a keyword difficulty score of 0-20 to start with.
A combination of keyword search volume above 50 and a keyword difficulty score of below 20, is ideally what you should be aiming for ignorer to start ranking for those keywords before you work your way up.
Also try to aim for long tail keywords rather than short or one word keywords as these are easier to rank for than one word keywords.
Try to find as many as you can and create a list of them so you bank of keywords to write content about without having to carry out keyword research every time you want to create a new post.
Step 3. Explore Search Intent
By the time you get to this step, you’ve got a spoonful of keywords whose keyword search difficulty and monthly keyword search volume are a good target and worth ranking for.
If so, you are ready for the next phase and that is, what people expect to see when they make search queries with the keywords you’ve got.
This isn’t that difficult to do. If you type the respective keywords and browse through the nature of the content from the first few search results, you will get an idea of what else people may be interested in when looking for certain keywords.
Google also has a “People Also Search For” section that can give you ideas for what else to include in your content.
The Google search engine algorithm will favor your content if it is comprehensive enough to cover those questions that people ask as well.
Another tip, is that when you scroll down to the bottom of the search engine results page, you will find a list of similar keywords at the bottom of the page. The are called LSI keywords and also great suggestions for keywords that you can include in your content.
All this is enough to give you insight regarding the search intent associated with that keyword and you can use that insight to know what to include in your content so that it is has the level of comprehension that search engines are looking for.
Step 4. Use The Keywords to Create Content
When you are done with the above steps, it is time to incorporate your keywords into your landing pages, so that you can start driving in more visitors as soon as possible.
However, you need to know that keyword research only paves the way for you but the quality of the content you are putting out is what will create loyalty from your audience and eventually convert into more revenue for your blog or do otherwise.
If search engines detect some keyword stuffing, black hat SEO, or a high bounce rate, chances are that your keyword research would be pointless.
This is why you need to pair up your keywords with good content so that you can retain visitors longer, to show signs of relevance and quality to search engines.
What was your approach to keyword research initially? Or is it something you have also been putting aside for later?
Maybe this was all completely new to you and it is the first time you are hearing about keyword research? If so, did you find this helpful? I would love to know so let me know in the comments section below!
Want to learn more about SEO?
First, sign up to my email list below so that you can get access to future SEO content and secret insights we share with our community of bloggers.
Next check out this post where that goes into detail about how SEO works.