Understanding Keyword Research For Beginner Bloggers: The Foundation For Effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Are you new (or old) to online writing and having a hard time understanding (how to do) keyword research enough to put it to use? You’re not alone.
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?
Being easily findable (on the top pages of search engine results) is not about how good your content is. It’s about how good your keyword research is.
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.
Thanks for reading and I hope you found value in this post: “understanding keyword research for blogging beginners: the foundation for effective Search Engine optimization (SEO)”.
In the mean time, before you go I’d like you to help me do two things:
1.) Comment: I always love to hear your feedback on my posts – did I miss anything? Did this post answer your questions? Or you can simply leave your footprint behind to let me know you were here.
2.) Share this post: Stumble it, Facebook it, Tweet it, Digg it, email it… You can do that in one click with the easy share buttons below or floating to the top left.
I’ll see you in the comments side (down below).
Yours in increasing search visibility with keyword research,
26 replies on “Understanding SEO Keyword Research For Blogging Beginners: The Foundation For Effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO)”
Hi Stella great content here. I am great at keywords as well having studied the concept on many different courses. My speciality is finding domains for businesses and keywords they can easily rank there website for.
I am just now advertising to find clients who want websites that will rank for there businesses. My plan is to build websites that earn money and are an asset to the business not a cost.
I hope you keep up the great work there is so much need for proper understanding of how keywords effect the value of websites.
[…] Part 1: Beginning SEO: Understanding Keywords Research […]
Brilliant topic Stella, you’ve made your readers reflect on one of the most important topic and this post certainly is very helpful for beginners. Its very important to know how to work with keywords? where to place it? and how much is enough or how much is too much? in order to prevent looking like the spammy ones.
Thank you, Gary:) I’m glad you like the topic.
I hoped this post will help some new small businesses in blogging, (as well as new personal blog owners)to understand the basic concepts of SEO and keyword research.
You know, like any other topic, it’s easy to work with keywords if one grasps the foundation first.
As alsways, thanks for reading. I always feel happy when I see you grace our pages:)
How’s the Nashville homes sales going?
Nice writeups. I will apply those tips on my blog
Thanks, Oto. I hope to hear how those SEO keyword research tips help you in generating more organic traffic.
Spot on. Keyword search is very important for SEO. It makes it easy for customers to find your product online. Without the right keywords a site is not complete. I like your work. Savvy, Suave and Sexy. Period.
Thanks Waithash, for your contribution on this topic, and your kind words:)
I’m glad you like the post and are on top of your game on keyword research and SEO.
By the way, it just occured to me that I have not answered that question you tweeted me – do you still need the answer?
Hey Stella, Thanx for the invite. I do know of on site SEO, things such as Meta Tags and Meta Keywords and also about Using relevant keywords in my blog for each article. But where I need your help is in offsite SEO and how do I provide backlinks and where!
Hope to learn more on further articles
Thanks for coming by to read, and comment – I appreciate that greatly.
I’m glad you are already on top of things with On-Site SEO. Good job! I reckoned that some of my readers are beginners or struggling in that area, that was the reason I started the series on SEO foundation, which is keyword research, which if one gets wrong will marr the whole SEO efforts.
Once we are though with On-Site SEO, I’ll blog on simplified methods for getting backlinks (off-site SEO) and it will be really detailed and practical, with screenshots, presented in a way readers can follow along and do it by themselves.
However, since you’re one of my newest readers referred by another of my frequent readers, I’ll email you a few tips on backlinks so you can start working on your backlinks before I write a post on that (will be soon). I’ll tweet you to let you know when the email is sent.
Hope that is fair? Oh, by the way, if you want me to notify you when new posts in the series are published, it’d be a good idea for you to click here to join my V.I.P readers club. While at that, please feel free to tweet me, Facebook me if you ever need my guide and I’ll always get back to you.
Enjoy your day!
Thank you Stella.
I signed up for it yesterday to keep in touch with your posts.
Besides, your ways of gaining keywords is also something I didn’t know.
Secondly, I do believe that G+1 will have an impact on SEO, will you be taking all of us through that as well?
Great, Aniketh – glad to know that we’re on the boat to rocking the Blogosphere. Yaay!
I’m glad that you enjoyed these keyword research methods. The good thing is that those methods generate only long tail keywords which are not competive, so you can rank easily with them PLUS they can send you a lot more traffic than short tail keywords, because information seekers and buyers search in long tail. We’ll still cover other methods that you may not have heard about – in upcoming series. Were you able to get your related searches showing, using that tip I explained to you?
Yes, social media is now being used by Google as one of their ranking factors, hence the G+1. If you switch your search to Google.Com, you should see “Social” under “more search tools” and you’ll be seeing stuff like “you shared this”. You’ll also see Google +1 share button beside every single web page in the search result page.
What does all these mean to you as a blogger? It means that you should get more Facebook followers, more Twitter followers, and also increase more followers in other top social media sites PLUS use them more – share other people’s posts more so that they’ll also share yours more BECAUSE social shares now counts. Remember also put social share bars on your blog posts.
As one of my V.I.P readers, you’ll enjoy what we’ll have in store soon, such as our upcoming eCourses where we’ll learn one topic at a time, in detail – to ensure all my V.I.P readers (subscribers) get results on areas like link building, free traffic generation, affiliate marketing, article marketing and much more. My goal is to help you increase traffic, become a better and profitable blogger, and we’ll all learn together.
[…] This is the lesson 2 in the series targeted at Simplifying Keyword Research for Beginners; in case you did not read the lesson 1, you can go here later to read: Understanding Keyword Research For Blogging Beginners: The Foundation For Effective Search Engine Op…. […]
I’m so lost on this…Starting a new site, and (Weep, Wail) WHAT to call it?? Thanks for your ideas!
You’re welcome, Kate. I’m glad that your finding this post was timely for you and I look forward to seeing you read the rest of the series to demystify Keyword Research and simplify basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for beginners.
BTW, have you read through other beginner blog posts, you can check them out here: Starting with Blogging AND also How to Get Free Traffic?
Wow, I like your blog – lots of kiddies’ stuff and the kiddies’ colors too – those bright yellows and puppet videos. Good job, Kate.
I wanted to quickly tweet you but I did not see your Twitter ID as I wanted you to be the first to know that a practical, hands-on follow-up is up.
Guess what? I just published the follow-up post in the series of “Demystifying SEO and Keyword Research for Beginners. There are 4 fast and simple keyword research methods covered and the fourth one is on getting keywords you can use for categories of any new site/ blog. It’s a do-as-you-read kind of post and so I encourage you to practice as you read every single method and let’s hear the keywords you found, in the comment side.
You can go read it here: Starting Keyword Research: How to Build Good Targeted Keyword Lists With Free Keyword Research Tools
You make keyword searching sound actually interesting and present it in positive manner, like you are not fazed by it any more. I was about to give up on ever getting anywhere with it ….finding it an absolutely brain-numbing and frustrating exercise. I’ve used a series of tools but can spend 5 hours, with up to 2000 variations, only to find nothing that matches the criteria in search volume, SEOC etc. and lose heart.
I look forward to following your series. There was much to learn from your detailed post on article directories. Thanks. Julia
Howdy! Good to see you around; my pleasure.
You know I learnt to fight my SEO fears after seeing no moves on my search engine traffic, the first 2 months I started this blog. First I stopped writing new posts until I could get every single old post to start getting search engine traffic. I knew if I continued writing new posts, I would have many posts to ‘repair’ once I learned basic SEO and keyword research.
I just did not want to keep manually chasing traffic manually every single day. I liked the hands-free search traffic idea. Julia, it was sweet to start getting good search traffic – my Alexa went down every day in my own eyes and lots of search traffic.
I know may people are where I was then, struggling with getting search traffic and I thought it’d be a good idea to share what I did (and doing) and the truth is that I keep it really simple. You’re on the train and I hope you’ll implement the steps as we go – because that’s the only way to get results, not just reading. I already have done drafts of some of the follow-up posts – there’ll be screenshots and real example case-study, so the posts will be like watching someone do it.
I look forward to knowing that you experiment with the series lessons, ask questions if unstuck and let us know how your search traffic increased. Next week will be the lesson 2.
Again, thanks for reading. I appreciate your time here:)
Great points all around.
I agree with Kesha: the ‘think relevance not content’ advice is a gem. Remember, you’re writing for people. Search engines are become less tolerant of crappy, less then quality content written exclusively for search engines.
Thanks for sharing!
Always a pleasure to see you around.
Yes, you’re right, with the ongoing Google Panda/ Farmer update, search engines are more like highly intolerant of irrelevant contents. You know I have, a few times, landed on web pages that had no business or post about their titles. And they ranked page 1 of Google, sometimes position 1.
Thanks for reading, man. Do enjoy the best of today, in Thailand there:)
Thank you for creating this series on understanding SEO. I’m definitely one of those people who are looking forward to learning more about SEO and you’re right, it sounds like it’s very complicated.
I am subscribing to your post to make sure I see the rest of your series.
Much aloha & gratitude,
I’m glad you liked this post. I’ll do my best to help you, through this series, to really get it. That’s my promise and you can help me by implementing every bit of the steps as we go, so that you have your own story and experience with getting it right. In addition, you’ll also have a post to track your rankings from your SEO efforts, by the time we get to covering how to monitor and track keywords performance in search engine ranking.
I was driven to write this series by my own early fear of making a start, just because of the unnecessarily scare that I read about the keyword research and SEO monster, at the time I started this blog.
So, welcome Kellie to my list, you’re in for a ride to building a better blog:) Hope you got your welcome gift (my eBook) when you subscribed?
Hope to chat with you again. Cheers and enjoy the best of today!
Stella, you had me at “Think Relevance NOT Numbers.” That one little statement is worth its weight in gold! Seriously…because I think people tend to focus on numbers and get caught up with using keywords that are WAY TOO competitive.
Also, as you’ve mentioned, using keywords that are based on what people are talking about/searching for is one of the best ways to increase relevancy to a blog post.
I wrote a brief article about using long tail keywords (linked here on my name) and am going to be updating it to include your more extensive post because people need to know every bit of this information!
Excellent post deary!
Thanks a bunch, Kesha.
You’re right, most tend to start with ‘hey, mirror, mirror – what’s the most searched keywords in the whole wide World’. After that they write a misleading title to lure the clickers from the search engines. That often results in very high bounce rates, and recently the Google panda slaps.
I always think of a topic my readers are likely to find useful THEN brainstorm using that your sideways thinking method, to get more synonym-like alternate phrases (aka keywords) that different people may be speaking. Most times I stop there and start placing my keywords ELSE I’ll just research to determine which of the related keywords in my list has the highest search volume and I assign that as my MAIN.
I’m gonna link up to yours in the nest in the series – that’s on hos to build keyword lists; that’s exactly where it fits, and I’ll be sure to send you a link.
It’s saddening that the whole concept of keywords is largely overrated that it scares every beginner. However, I’m glad that a lot more people like you (and yours truly now) are evangelizing to demystify basic SEO and keyword research.
Again, thanks for dropping by, and keep the videos (and podcasts) coming:)
Good overview Stella, thankyou!
The importance of this topic cannot be underestimated! Without a solid foundation of keyword research, any SEO efforts will be wasted and the opportunity for quality free traffic is being thrown away…
My keyword ‘aha’ moment came when I realized that keywords are a function of how your target market think. How do they ask questions to find solutions to their problems? What phrases do they use to look for the information and solutions you offer?
Getting to grips with these kind of questions and then doing some diligent research with the right keyword tools will pay huge rewards in the long run.
Thanks. You’re right about the place and priority of keyword research. The opportunity for free traffic is huge, and really saves one time to face other business. At least at some time, the business should be able to provide traffic for itself.
I really do not know why it’s kind of being generally spoken of as complicated. There’s nothing more complicated than not starting, knowing that every first time is never perfect. That should be the message to every newbie.
I agree about any SEO efforts being a waste without good foundation (targeted keywords). Like you, I also got my ‘aha’ moment when I decided that I was done with all that crap about not getting good keywords with free keyword research tools. I wondered how long I would go on chasing traffic, by hand and sweat daily – I stopped writing posts and used the free tools at my disposal to experiment. Guess what, my search engine and overall traffic shot up by over 1000% (seriously). That was after test driving a paid tool that was always hanging on my new computer.
Like you even said “what phrases are they likely to search”, knowing that alone and where to place the keywords in the posts is the KEY. One can even brainstorm to golden keywords, simply by wearing the hat of a buyer or information seeker, and placing the keywords in the right places.
Thanks for coming by, and for your rich contributions. I enjoyed the chat:)