You’ve decided you want to start blogging to attract more qualified visitors to your website.
You’re motivated and ready to get started, but there’s one small problem: you are struggling to come up with topics to write about.
You know you need to write about topics that are relevant to both your business and your audience.
You also know you need to optimize your content using the right keywords to appease the search engines. (Read: What is SEO?)
So how do you determine if a keyword is right for you and your website?
The answer: keyword research.
Keyword research can seem like an arduous and time-consuming process, but it really doesn’t have to be.
There’s a science to picking the right keywords, but it doesn’t hurt to be a little lucky too.
Here’s my three-step process you should follow to find your pot of keyword gold.
1. Brainstorm to start a master keyword list
Any good process begins with a brainstorming session. Take some time to build a master list you can continually reference and edit in the future.
Ask yourself some questions as you start jotting them down. Are these keywords relevant to my products and services? Are they relevant to my website content?
Think about your prospective customers and the topics most important to them. They’re searching for solutions to their problems. You need to give them the answers in your keyword-rich content. Follow these tips:
- Use topics you already have in a FAQ document.
- Create a list of topics based on your customers’ needs and interests.
- Use customers’ words, i.e.: “how to unlock a car” instead of “locksmith”.
- Write down as many topics as you can in your list. 50 is a good start but 100+ is better!
Need more topics? Ask for help from friends, customers or colleagues via email. Use this prompt and see what you learn.
“If you didn’t already know about my business, what would you search for in Google to find the products or services I sell? Send me a short list of different phrases that come to mind. Thanks for your help.”
2. Determine the opportunity value for each keyword
The best keywords for your marketing strategy are those in what I like to call the “opportunity sweet spot.” This means they have high search volume (lots of people searching for them a.k.a. demand) and low competition (not a lot of other people utilizing them in their website content), making them easier to rank higher for, quicker.
Now that you have populated your master keyword list, it’s time to figure out which ones are the best for you to use in your content marketing and SEO immediately. This is accomplished by finding the opportunity value for each.
Sort your keywords by search volume (highest at the top*) and then move any keyword with a high competition level to the bottom of the list. Take your top 25 keywords and copy them into a new sheet of your document.
It’s these 25 keywords that will take your content marketing strategy to the next level.
*Note: BoostSuite analyzes and ranks your keywords automatically by opportunity and tells you which ones to write about to build your audience.
3. Write, test, and refine
Now that you have your keywords ranked, the next step is the easiest part of the process!
You now have 25 unique keywords that have a high opportunity value, so that means you should write 25 unique articles, each one focusing on a different keyword. If you’re writing one article a week, based on this list of 25 keywords, you’ve already determined your articles’ focus keywords for almost half of the year! No need to write on a gut feeling. You now know what to write about.
Your articles should be 300-1000 words long and should focus on providing something unique and of value to your audience for free. Try to make it interesting and evergreen (meaning it retains its value for a long time). Remember that you’re writing for people, not just search engines. While you need to optimize your content to help you rank in Google, you don’t want to forget that your content needs to also be interesting and engaging to the people who read it.
Optimizing your articles using your keywords should come naturally as you’re the expert, but make sure each unique focus keyword appears in the page title, meta description, h1 heading, and body content (a couple times – don’t over do it) for each article.
Make sure you have some sort of analytics tool installed on your website, like Google Analytics, so you can measure how many times your articles are viewed, where your traffic came from, and what the conversion rate of your article is ((conversions / article visitors) x 100 = conversion rate).
After you’re written all 25 articles, take the keywords from your 5-10 best-performing articles and refine your strategy by utilizing them again in new content pieces.
Be sure to add blurbs from these articles in your email newsletter that link to the full text so your subscribers can check them out and share them as well!
The whole point of doing keyword research, SEO, and content marketing, is to build your audience and generate more traffic to your website. Today it’s more important than ever to find the right keywords for your business. More and more of your competitors are doing the same thing you’re doing so you must set yourself apart.
Do you have any other cool tips for researching keywords for your content marketing and SEO? I’d love to hear about some interesting tools you’ve used as well as some of the most unique places you’ve found keywords that really work for you!
About the Author:
Ryan Kettler is Director of Communications for BoostSuite, the collaborative marketing tool for small businesses.
Ryan is an Internet marketing zealot, sports fanatic, devoted runner, avid golfer, beer connoisseur, and live music enthusiast. When he’s not helping BoostSuite customers he can be found running 5ks, sampling IPAs, and cheering on his North Carolina State Wolfpack.