Trying to figure out what topics to cover in your blog without doing research is like throwing darts while blindfolded. You never know if you’re going to hit or miss. This is why smart businesses do thorough research on keywords to write their blog posts around. Keywords are the internet equivalent of a thermometer. They tell you how high or low the interest is in a certain topic, which acts as a guide to uncovering issues and information your audience wants to read about.
By using tools such as Google’s recently unveiled Keyword Planner, which replaced the much-beloved Google Keyword Tool, you can find keywords which generate a high volume of traffic. At the same time, the ideal keyword should also not face a lot of competition from others looking to harness the traffic. Read on to discover how to research the ideal keyword and find the perfect complementary blog topics.
Before you can research your keywords, you’ll need to make sure you have a Google Adwords account. You will have to put a credit card number on file, but don’t worry, you won’t be charged for doing research.
Once your account is set up, select “Tools and Analysis,” then hit “Keyword Planner.” Here you will be presented with three options: searching for keyword and ad group ideas, entering or uploading keywords to see how they perform and multiplying keyword lists. All three can be useful in this exercise.
Searching for Keywords
The best way to illustrate the “how-to” phase of the Keyword Planner is to use a business as an example. Let’s take CJ Pony Parts, a company selling Mustang parts for car enthusiasts, as an example. Its web site has a blog focused on topics of interest to auto fans generally, and Mustang fans particularly. To come up with topic ideas, CJ Pony Parts relies on keyword research.
Say the company wants to use the first option in the Keyword Planner, “search for keyword and adgroup ideas.” Step one would be to enter a few keywords and see what search results come back. For example, CJ Pony Parts might enter “Mustang parts” or “Mustang parts for sale.” The Keyword Planner will spit back data on searches for those keywords, as well as adgroups and advertising information based on these keywords.
The next step is looking through these results to find desirable keywords for good blog posts. Say one of the keywords suggested in our search has a large number of average monthly searches, but it has a high level of competition. This might not be an ideal choice, because it means a lot of companies are competing for traffic on the keyword. Another result might have low competition but also a low incidence of monthly searches.
Yes, you may end up feeling like Goldilocks trying to find the perfect bowl of porridge — this keyword is too competitive and this one is not popular enough. However, there will also be a few ranking as low competition and high monthly searches – these are what you want to post about.
The Keyword Planner will also let you search traffic and high/low competitiveness for keywords using specialized targeting. Local targeting can be especially useful, because companies often want to target nearby users for their blogs. Again, with the example of CJ Pony Parts, the business might combine its Mustang parts search with a certain region or city.
Another fun way to search is to use the product or service category under the keyword and ad group ideas header. This will allow you to find so-called “untapped niches,” or narrow areas where fewer businesses are competing for traffic. For CJ Pony Parts, the category might be Auto or Business with the keyword “Mustang.” An entire list of rarely used keywords will come up perfect for crafting a post to generate high traffic because your business will be the only one using it.
Incorporating the Ideas into the Blog
Once you’ve found the keyword or words you’d like to target, the final step is actually crafting your blog post. You may think, “Oh yes, here comes the easy part,” but not so fast. Google has gotten increasingly picky about the quality of content it shoots to the top of search rankings, so your post needs to employ those keywords but also do so in a smart, organic manner to fit the theme of your business. Having a unique take on a subject also helps because Google loves one-of-a-kind content.
One final time, let’s look at the example of CJ Pony Parts. A recent blog post on the company’s site takes a look at the new 2015 Mustang, a hot topic among car enthusiasts. The keywords are different variations on 2015 Mustang, and the blog incorporates plenty of pictures and video to add to the actionable content. It also delivers the blog from a unique point of view – someone who’s seen the car in person this helped to generate a lot of comments as well.
An engaged audience is the goal of any post, because it shows you’ve really struck a chord with your target audience. With the right research and the right keyword choices, your blog can do the same. Now go log on to the Keyword Planner and get started!
Photo credits: lauramanigan.com