Blogging for SEO Part 1: Keyword Research

June 18, 2012

Blogging is an important component of any online marketing campaign. Search engines return web pages - not websites - for every search it runs. Therefore, each relevant, well-written blog post is a new opportunity to be found by a potential consumer. If your business is not keeping up with a blog, our Blogging for Business series is a great tool to help you get started. 

Blogging for SEO Guide
If you ARE already creating useful, interesting content for your blog, and looking to maximize those efforts, this Blogging for SEO Guide is for you! Optimizing your content before posting will make it clear to search engines what it’s about, and thus extremely valuable from an SEO perspective. Google will display your blog in results for relevant search queries more frequently, which will ultimately drive more qualified traffic to your website. After a post has been written, optimizing it from start to finish should take no more than 15 minutes, even for SEO beginners.

In this three part series, we’ll go over the basics of keyword research, adding those keywords to your blog post, and building out links.

Keyword Research

It’s hard to overemphasize the importance of spending a few minutes conducting keyword research before optimizing a blog post. It’s tempting (and less time-consuming) to rely on instinct when choosing a primary keyword or keyword phrase to target in a post, but it will be worth your time to spend a few minutes discovering and prioritizing keywords. Keep in mind that your keyword will most often be long tail phrase, like ‘SEO Blogging Tips,’ rather than just one word.

Step 1: Identify 1-3 Main Keyword Possibilities

Take a few minutes to identify some keyword possibilities for the post. A good place to start is by asking yourself: “If someone was searching for this blog post in Google, what keyword phrase would they enter?” For this three part series, those might be:

  1. Optimize Blog Posts for SEO
  2. Blogging and SEO
  3. SEO Blogging Tips

Step 2: Find and Download Suggested Searches for your Keywords

There are several free online tools that use Google Suggest to help you find terms to target based on your main keywords. Our favorite is UberSuggest, mostly because it’s so easy to use. Once on UberSuggest, type in your first main keyword into the search bar and click ‘Suggest.'

Blogging and SEO - Ubersuggest

This tool takes your main keyword and generates suggestions of other related keywords. Once the suggestions have been generated, click ‘Select all Keywords.’ In the right sidebar, you will see all those suggested terms appear. If you click ‘Get’ they will pop-up in a Copy & Paste box. Copy all the relevant terms and save them.

Blogger SEO Suggestions - UberSuggest
Rinse and repeat for any other keyword possibilities you thought of. There may be overlap (perfectly OK,) which is why it helps to think of a few different terms to start with.

Step 3: Run All Terms Through Google Keyword Tool

Not surprisingly, a big part of showing up in search engines is targeting the terms and phrases your audience are actually searching for. To figure this out, we need to run all the terms we’ve collected through the Google AdWord Keyword Tool to identify which of these terms would work best as the main keyword for the post. This tool shows you how many people searched for those terms this month, and how competitive it would be to rank for them.;

SEO Blogging Search - Google AdWords

Step 4: Identify 5 Top Keywords based on Competition and Local Monthly Searches

Your search results will return information on all the Keywords you entered. From that list (and any additional keyword ideas Google suggests,) you need to determine which keywords will be best to target. The first factor to consider is search volume, which is how many times a particular keyword phrase is searched on a monthly basis. Even if word or phrase is relevant to a particular blog post, it shouldn’t be targeted if it simply isn’t being searched for. The second is competition, or how hard it would be to rank for that particular keyword based on the number of quality sites competing for rankings.

Based on the information returned for the keywords we searched, the top 5 keywords with the highest local monthly searches and either Low or Medium Competition are:

1. Blogging for SEO
2. Blog Optimization
3. Blogger SEO Tips
4. Blog SEO Optimization
5. SEO Services Blog

Step 5: Choose Primary Keyword Based on Relevancy

A keyword phrase could have thousands of monthly searches and be relatively uncompetitive, but it has to be supported throughout the copy of the blog post. We now have 5 terms we know people are searching for in Google - no guesswork. But which is the most relevant to the post you've already written? For this series, we’re going to work with 'blogging for SEO' as our primary keyword phrase.

 Be sure to stay tuned for Part 2: Keyword Targeting and Part 3: Link Building!

Comments's avatar
Keyword research is the heart for SEO to rank high in SERP. Thank you very much for sharing this valuable information on
akansha khare's avatar
akansha khare
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SEO Services's avatar
SEO Services
Nice and Very Informative Article it is.... I Like this Post... Thanks for sharing this Interesting Post with us...
Peter's avatar
Thank you Claire. This article was helful, thanks! it nice
Alice Cornelios's avatar
Alice Cornelios
Thank you Claire for this helpful post. But I have a question to ask, do blog post need to rank well in order to get the traffic that we need or the other way around? which is which?
Paul Lion's avatar
Paul Lion
Hey Claire, you being an online marketing/SEO person, what are your go-to tools?
akshay's avatar
Thanks for sharing. Searching Keyword phrase is the first step for writing blog post.
rosylee's avatar
I understand very better after see this thanks to tell about Search Engine Optimization
smith's avatar
nice and really honorable article about main part of seo "keyword research" and like it.
Website Solutions Europe's avatar
Website Solutions Europe
Hi, thank you for sharing. I do use Dofollow. It’s useful then. Thank’s again…..
ThomasDenial's avatar
In this article keywords research concepts is nice to understand every viewers of seo how to optimised our keywords task according your websites themes, my concern, themes concern of our content according to suggestion able or describe your text, after all keywords have decided by the searching thought of pages views what they write?
ThomasDenial's avatar
In this article keywords research concepts is nice to understand every viewers of seo how to optimised our keywords task according your websites themes, my concern, themes concern of our content according to suggestion able or describe your text, after all keywords have decided by the searching thought of pages views what they write?
sakif's avatar
keyword research is very good to optimize blog posts in search engines but i wanna know about blog commenting and link building would please help me .
Joseph Wilson's avatar
Joseph Wilson
Great article and full of useful information as it cover all the point that is important in optimizing your website.Keyword research is the first step while optimizing your website and your site's content must be optimized in such a way that it suits both your search engine and readers.Do a proper research before deciding any keywords.
Irshad's avatar
Very nice article. A keyword research is very good to optimize blog posts in search engines.
Claire Atwell's avatar
Claire Atwell
@Blog Hands: Thank you for your comment. I agree whole-heartedly. Every blogger, SEO consultant and content marketer will have a different approach to keyword research for blog posts - but it's not at all a bad thing! I find myself constantly tweaking how I go about it as I read what others find most effective. This is an area in which professionals can (and should!) learn from each other, particularly with all the tools, techniques and tricks out there at our disposal

Do you have any other suggestions or recommendations for beginners looking to research keywords for their blog posts?
Blog Hands's avatar
Blog Hands
I think 9 out of 10 bloggers would agree. Keyword research should be your very first step to optimizing your blog posts. What I find fascinating though is nearly all 9 will have a different approach to keyword research. Not that this is a bad thing because I don't think there IS just one keyword research technique. There are dozens if not hundreds of keyword research tools and each person has their own way of starting and finishing the process.

Your step 1 reminds me of how I come up with blog post titles. I'll sometimes write three different titles then I'll start taking parts of one that I like more and mixing it with parts of another and before you know it I have a title that feels just right.

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