Understanding Keyword Research For Beginner Bloggers: The Foundation For Effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Keyword research is one area that is widely talked about yet is also a common area where beginner bloggers and online business owners and marketers often have a hard time understanding enough to implement.
This post, the first in the series of demystifying keyword research, will help you understand keyword research better, as a foundation to effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your articles and blog posts.
First, you must understand that behind every keyword are humans (not search engines) – keywords represent what they are asking you to provide answers to AND if you do not know the keywords that your target audience is using, you will not reach them. That would mean no sales too. Human beings (NOT search engines) are the consumers of your articles and blog posts, and most of them resort to search engines when looking for information on a topic. The Search engines in turn serve them search result pages containing articles and blog posts containing phrases related to that phrase (or topic or keyword) searched.
Those phrases are known as keywords. On the other side of the table, bloggers and webmasters want to ensure that their articles and blog posts are found by as many people as there are, searching for topics related to their contents, they optimize their contents for the search engines. Hence the term Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) starts with keyword research and effective keyword research begins with generating a set of related keywords list.
Keyword research is like mind reading. Here, you’ll simulate what words or phrases your ideal audience or customer is saying or typing in order to find your blog post. If your topic or content theme does not contain their own phrases, they will not find your content.
Thus, Keyword research involves brainstorming and researching the actual key phrases and terms (aka keywords) that people are typing on the search engines, when looking for related information. Although keyword research is more than just researching highly related search terms, a good keyword research starts with generating a list of highly related and relevant keywords, with respect to your article or blog post.
By the way this is Part 1 in the series on ‘How to Do SEO From Scratch – A Beginners Guide”. Here are the other posts:
- Part 2: How to Build a Keyword List – Keyword Research Basics
- Part 3: Where and How to place Keywords when writing articles/ posts – with examples and screenshots for illustration
- Part 4: What is a Backlink and How to Build Links – a Beginners Guide
Do your blog posts attract Search Engines’ Traffic?
It’s about speaking in the same, exact language (keywords) that your target audience is searching for. The more targeted your keywords are, the closer you’ll be on the first few pages of Google (or any other search engine). Note that if you search for any topic on Google, you are likely to be served over 1 million different articles, each search results page containing only 10 article pages. Thus, pages that are buried further down the search results get few or no clicks.
Look at the number of web pages in the search results for the term “perfect birthday gift” (in the image to the right), over 11 million, and only 10 pages are show per search results page. If your web page is not in the first few pages of the search results, there is a very high chance that no one will visit your blog, except family and friends (including blogger friends).
Your goal is to get your web pages and articles right on page 1 of any search engine or not far from page 1 – that’s where most searchers begin and end. Hence the pages that make it to Google page 1 make the most sales.
Can you see why finding the right, targeted keywords is like targeting for the bull’s eye? Good, targeted keywords are the beginning and foundation of an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. Hence the importance of conducting Keyword Research to find golden keywords.
Why and When To Do Keyword Research?
- Before you start any new online (or offline) business
- Before you write articles or blog posts
Benefits of Finding Targeted Keywords For Content Creation
- Your target readers are searching for relevant contents with keywords. Hence, if you write in relevant keywords, they are more likely to find your contents
- The buyers you are looking for are searching with some keywords. If you can hit write in the keywords of your buyers, you are more likely to make more sales.
Who are you really writing to (for)? Although it’s true that sometimes, one would simply want to blog for fun but again blogging is a service to a target audience who are hungry for the information that you write. Why not make it easy for them to find you?
If you start thinking of your audience’s needs and have a passion to help them solve a problem, you’ll naturally think in keywords, at least 50% of the time you blog.
The wrong way to think about keyword research is to only see keywords as traffic instruments, so that you first start looking for a highly searched keyword and write a post on it whether the topic has anything or not to do with your blog. What happens is that you’ll just be increasing your ‘bounce rate’ – that means the readers your trick to your site would simply bounce in to only that page and quickly bounce out.
Write first for your target audience and only look for keywords because you want the type of phrases they use to search for your kind of information. Never start writing by looking for any topic (in the whole World) that has the most search traffic. That is what Google terms as irrelevant content.
In Thinking Keywords, Think Relevance NOT Numbers
There are human beings behind every search count (search volume/ traffic). Stop looking at keywords from just the “search volume” or numbers perspective; that way, you’ll miss writing a relevant content. Rather, start with your reader’s problem or needs in mind, and then find additional list of key phrases (keywords) to make your content rich and more relevant.
The best way to use keywords is to be relevant to the market you are serving. First start from your own readers needs, imagine them at the other end typing a question, expecting answers in your blog post. Will they find you on Google Page 1, 2, 3…?
Perhaps, if you know the phrase they are typing. If they typed ‘meal’ and you write a content that will likely help them but on ‘food’, you’ll miss them and you may just be writing for you alone. The 3 steps below is the right way to look at keywords with respect to your target audience.
- Need / problem driven topics: Think of possible pains, problems and needed outcomes that your target market and readers would be having
- Brainstorm on other likely related phrases that anyone would ‘say’ when they want to talk about that problem or topic – to get more related keywords
- Write a blog post to address those ‘needs and wants’ keywords and ensure to stay on course, to your own blog topics theme.
A Simple Way To Achieve Content Relevance Using Keywords
Although, you can write your content with only a single keyword, however, you may just find that you could resort to blatantly repetition of the same phrases just to reach a certain keyword density. Generating a good keywords list for content writing helps you to build a (topic) around your content, so that even without seeing the title, anyone (human) or even the search engine spiders can make out what your article or blog post is all about.
So, that brings us to the purpose of the next post in the “Starting SEO Series” – to introduce beginner bloggers and online marketers to really simple methods of building keyword lists using simple free tools. This post begins a series to our simplifying and demystifying Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Keyword Research to the basics so that it’s actionable enough for you to start taking action and seeing results.
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Yours in increasing search visibility with keyword research,