One of the most important keys to learning how to write blogs for your business is doing keyword research.
Talking to other bloggers, I think it’s also one of the things that mystifies people the most.
Keyword research has a little bit of a bad reputation in some circles. For a while, less than credible SEO consultants were using keywords to try to game the system with Google, stuffing keywords here, there and everywhere in an attempt to rank better.
While that’s become more difficult in the post Panda and Penguin world, it doesn’t mean that keyword research is less important. Far from it.
What has happened is that the practice of choosing a good keyword needs to be paired with creating quality website content that people naturally want to read and forward. Your keyword needs to be set within the context of quality content. Keyword rich content in a meaningful, share-worth context is the key to Google magic.
Which brings us back to the first part of that equation…keyword research.
What is Keyword Research
I was just about to write that it’s the process of researching your keywords to find out which ones are most likely to generate the most qualified traffic to your website. And then I remembered that I shouldn’t define a term by using the term.
But in a nutshell, that’s exactly what it is.
You don’t want just any traffic – you want people who are interested in what you have to say and what you have to sell (products or services). And when you’re trying to monetize, you don’t just want one vistor a month (though if it’s the right visitor and it’s something that’s pretty high-end, I suppose it could work).
How to Blog Effectively For Your Business: Conducting Keyword Research
- Think from your customer’s perspective
This is probably the hardest thing to do when it comes to keyword research. You need to know how to think like your ideal customer to determine what query he or she might Google and expect to find a website like yours.
When someone comes up with your website in a set of results, is it going to help them answer the question they searched under? Will they be pleased to come across your website for that topic, or will they consider it a waste of time?
Are the people who are looking for your website and find it likely to be interested in exchanging money for your products or services? Unless you’re running a nonprofit, you have to be honest when you answer this question. A few ways to check this might be to see how books on your topic rank in terms of sales at Amazon, or to see if you get any Google ads when you search for your topic.
2. Use a keyword tool to look at demand for a possible keyword
One of the most popular and free keyword tools is Google’s keyword tool. Enter a possible keyword phrase in the search box and see if it is a highly searched term or not. To be as precise as possible, use exact match keywords with this tool.
3. Compare the demand for a possible keyword with the number of sites that already exist for it.
Knowing how easy it is to rank for a given keyword isn’t just about how many people search for it per month, it’s also about knowing how much competition you have.
Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income has some great articles about keyword research – he has an interesting comment that he believes anyone can rank for any keyword – it’s just all about how many resources (time and money) you want to spend in the process. If you’re just starting a business, you need to make money quickly, and you don’t have a lot of time or money to spend at the moment, it would be wiser to work with a keyword or words that don’t already have millions of websites trying to rank for those words.
Another website that has great in depth information about keyword research is Moz (used to be SEOMoz). Actually, just about everything they have is fantastic, and I strongly recommend diving into their resources about SEO and content marketing.
How comfortable are you with keyword research? Would it be helpful to have a template I use to keep my results organized? Leave me a comment below!