If you’re looking for a new way to come up with blog post ideas, you’re in the right place. You may not know this, but writing blog posts without conducting keyword research FIRST is pretty much the biggest waste of time since Laser Discs!!
You’re essentially HOPING that people will find your content interesting. It’s a gamble with high stakes. If you don’t know what your audience likes and wants, you begin to become irrelevant to them.
You lose your credibility as an authority in your niche and your income and reputation takes a beating.
If your content strategy is to rely solely on your “intuition” and “gut feeling,” you’ll not last long in a competitive environment. It’s a no brainer really – you cannot serve your customers unless you know what they crave most. So don’t even bother writing your next blog post before researching your keywords thoroughly.
But What Exactly is Keywords Research?
Keywords are like billboards – they help search engines to direct people to your website or blog.
Imagine that you own a fried chicken joint. In order to make good money, you need to get customers flocking to your place. The logical thing to do is to serve some really kick a$$ chicken.
However, even if you make the best freaking chicken in the world, you’ll remain broke as a joke if your place is located in the middle of the desert!
You need a road leading up to your place and you need advertisements so that people know you exist in the first place. Similarly, even if you write some really useful and engaging content, your blog will never become popular unless it attracts a good amount of traffic.
You can have the NICEST looking website in the world, BUT if nobody knows about it, it’s only going to be worth the $9.99 you paid to register the domain. One way to attract traffic is through paid advertising. However, this method can make a pretty good dent in your wallet and it is often unpredictable when you’re just starting out.
If you want to receive organic traffic, you simply cannot ignore the importance of good ol’ keyword research and backlinks. These two methods may sound old school, but they are the two indispensable ingredients in the recipe for online success.
In simple terms, keywords are the queries that people type into search engines. If you hope to be a good blogger, you MUST know what your potential audience is searching for. Keyword research enables you to learn what’s HOT in your niche. It makes it easier for people to find you and it supplies you with GREAT TOPICS for your next blog post.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Keyword Research
Most bloggers are very good at content creation. However, they struggle with the technical aspects. Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned pro just brushing up on your knowledge – check out this fool-proof approach to keyword research.
1. Make a list of the most important topics in your niche
Let us say that your blog is related to the topic – weight loss. Hence, your list will contain the basic topics such as nutrition, diet, fitness, workouts etc. Consider the most common questions that people ask you. Imagine that you are creating a navigation map for your website – this will help you to come up with logical categories and subcategories.
2. Now write down all the possible keywords for each topic and subtopic
For example; The topics “weight loss” or “lose weight” will contain keywords like:
- how to lose weight in a day
- how to lose weight in a month
- how to lose weight in your thighs
Don’t be afraid to include long tail keywords like – does eating fat make you fat?, how much protein to eat to lose weight?, are carbs bad for weight loss?, lemon juice for weight loss, protein shakes etc. These long tail keywords are easier to rank for than generic terms.
The list for the topic “diet” will include keywords like:
- the best diet to lose weight
- atkins diet
- paleo diet
- ketogenic diet
- the raw food diet
- vegan diet
Nutrition is too vague, not enough long tail intent keywords, so in this example, I’ll look at “exercise,” and the list of keywords will go something like this:
- is cardio bad for joints
- muscle training
- pull ups
- push ups
If you already blog regularly, do include topics that you’ve already written about. They will help you to come up with new ideas and to keep track of your content strategy. Keep writing until you have exhausted all keyword possibilities. At this time, you’ll think that you’re done but you’re just getting started.
3. Now go to google and start typing the keywords that you’ve written down
This will open up another treasure trove of keywords that are currently trending. For example: When you type in “how to lose weight,” google will come up with a list of suggestions that include “how to lose weight in 10 days” and “how to lose weight fast without exercise.”
It will probably take years of hard work for you to rank highly for something generic (and competitive) like “how to lose weight,” but other long tail keywords are (relatively) easily winnable. These keywords will help you build your brand and establish a fan following – they may seem odd but they are your first stepping stones towards success.
As a “provider of information,” you’re bound to think things out very logically and in an orderly fashion. However, you’ll notice that your audience tends to think in a rather irrational, highly emotional and unrealistic manner.
Searches like “how to lose weight fast” and “how to lose weight in a week” will be ridiculously popular. If you write about making money, you will come across keywords such as “how to become a millionaire in a year?” and so on.
Instead of ignoring these types of non-realistic queries & questions, try to address them in a realistic manner, and guide people in the right direction with your killer content!
4. Look out for the related keywords at the bottom of the page
These are pure gold!
By now, you probably have at least 50-100 keywords or more (depending upon the depth of your niche). Some of these are long tail and some are generic. You may have noticed that you need no special talent to gather these keywords. You just need to be proactive.
Keep your list of both specific and longer tailed keywords, and remember: long tail (more specific) keywords generally convert better.
For example, Somebody searching for “weight loss” could be doing anything, they could be casually browsing, doing a research paper, who knows – it’s a very generic phrase & they’re not likely to do anything with any information they find. On the other hand, somebody searching for “how to lose weight in the stomach” or “how to lose weight in the face” is VERY specific as they know EXACTLY what they want.
Pro Tip: Now that you understand how this process works, check out InstaKeywords (100% Free) to help automate this process!
Step 1: Enter your Keyword and choose “Full” (Trust me on this)
Step 2: View and/or download your data, sort by keyword volume & more!
Check out this quick video I filmed showing this process in action, easy!!
5. Evaluate your competition
How are other bloggers ranking for the keywords on your list?
You can gather a lot of information about this by performing simple google searches for your keywords and checking out where your competitors are ranking. You can ALSO download the SEOBook ToolBar & Rank Checker for FireFox and use that. Come up with list of WINNABLE keywords that have reasonable demand and low to moderate competition.
You can use Google Adwords keyword planner to check the search volume and supply of keywords.
It won’t give you the EXACT volume unless you’re a paying customer, but it’s still good data to have! As long as you have a google adwords account (free, don’t worry), you’ll be able to use it. If not, get signed up at Google Adwords.
Another option is Traffic Travis, there is a paid version, HOWEVER, the free version is plenty enough for now, and something I use on almost a daily basis. It’s also great for newbies and nor the not-so-technically-savvy!
You should target the winnable keywords for next blog post. However, do not make the mistake of ignoring the generic keywords – they form the substance of your blog. Use the winnable to keywords to pull customers to your blog. If your content is any good, people will stick around for more.
Ideally, most of your niches and content should be evergreen – it should be useful even ten, twenty or thirty years from now. However, it is a good idea to make use of current and upcoming events to spike traffic to your blog.
For an awesome list of evergreen niches, check out my blog post on The Most Profitable (and evergreen) Niches for 2017.