Do you know a “marketing unicorn”? This magical creature is a marketer who has both analytical and creative strengths, making them ideal candidates to become SEO experts, as SEO is both an art and a science.
While the rest of us horses may not have analytic and creative strengths inherently, we can we tap into the magic and get a better understanding of SEO. Building an SEO skill-set isn't just for unicorns.
Keywords are the foundation for SEO and so here are some basics on keyword research for content creators.
This guide will focus on keywords for blogging, but the same general idea works for most types of content. There are many ways to brainstorm unique content ideas, so pick your poison and get to it!
Once you have a decent amount of ideas, choose one and extract the main point. I knew the main idea for this blog was “Keyword research basics” so that was my starting point in identifying an effective keyword to focus on.
It’s beneficial to group the results of your brainstorming into topic clusters.
Creating topic clusters within your blog posts and other content offered on your site will become really important in building out a complete SEO strategy. These clusters will come in handy for further brainstorming during the research process.
Helpful Keyword Research Tools
This is principally a brainstorming tool, but it can be helpful in determining which are the most popular searches. Answer the people takes your idea and extracts the most popular google searched relating to that idea. While it does not provide analytics, it can help you think about the effective phrasing and your contents relevance to other popular searches.
This tool displays related keyword options, as well as a general monthly volume and competition. It also shows you a priority level of how a given keyword compares to other options. Unfortunately, this free tool only permits 10 searches a month.
Google Keyword Planner allows you to import keyword spreadsheets so that large volumes of data can be analyzed efficiently. It also includes a “find new keywords” function for use while brainstorming. The weakness of the tool however is that the competition metric is based on inorganic data and the best features are only available when you are running ads.
My favorite tool is Ubersuggest. This tool shows a variety of options, as well as basic analytics including monthly search volume, CPC and competition.
My process for doing keyword research for this very blog was to first, enter my idea of “keyword research basics” into Ubersuggest.
Since my first attempt did not yield optimal results I combed through the pages of others suggestions for better options. A range of optimal search volume is between 200 and 2000 and a below .5 competition is a good place to start.
As you can see, these (checked) keywords are in an acceptable range. However, only one seemed to be properly applicable. “How to search keywords” doesn’t exactly fit well into a blog title. It doesn’t feel like a natural phrase. The same goes for “how to find keywords”. That leaves me with “How to do keyword research”. Now that’s something I can work with!
During the process of finding this keyword, I took careful note of other keywords that fell into the acceptable range. I added the ones relevant to my content to a spreadsheet that I continually update with keywords I could potentially use in the future.
Even when you're not searching for keywords for specific content pieces, I suggest updating your keyword list at least once a month.
Not So Cruel Intentions
Another factor in choosing your perfect keyword should be intent. Once you have a good keyword in mind, try googling that term.
Take a look at what pages are currently ranking. Are they blog posts? Are they software demos? Or are they something else? When I google “how to do keyword research” these are the top results:
As you can see, they are all blogs posts, explaining some basics. This means the intent for this search term is largely informational. For a blog post, infographic or any other informational content, this is great! And even though they are coming from some larger agencies, they are in line with the content I am creating.
My post may not immediately rank with the big dogs, but it is a good starting point for supporting a larger cluster of content I am trying to build.
If the results were linking directly to products, however, that generally means the intent on the search term is transactional; someone is looking to buy something. This wouldn’t be a good fit for my blog post and wouldn’t support the rest of my content.
Implementing good keywords can be complicated, but keeping intent in mind will ensure that your content is reaching engage readers.
Throw A Tail On It
Now it’s time to get more specific. Who is this blog for? Well, it’s for you! A content creator (or someone similar) who wants to be a more well-rounded digital marketer. So, to make things clearer, I tacked on “for content creators’ at the end of my keyword and WHAM! A long-tail keyword that is clear and targeted.
To make your keyword long-tail you could try to add on some common words or phrases such as "best" "2018" "buy" "review" “free” “tips” that will specify what you will be talking about. You could also try specifying your target like "for developers" or “for small business owners”.
Honing in on your audience allows you to reach interested readers who engage and respond.
Integrate the Keyword Into The Content
Last but not least, you must integrate the keyword into the content. The keyword should always be:
- in the title and url
- in the first 100 words
- in at least one headline
You've Got This!
While this isn’t an end-all be-all guide, it does provide a basis for growing your knowledge of SEO. Becoming a well-rounded or even unicorn marketer, adds value to your company and your personal brand.