Learning how to find keywords that will drive relevant traffic may seem intimidating at first blush. It’s a topic heavy with jargon and vague terms. What are SERPs, anyway? What exactly does “low,” “medium,” and “high” competition mean? And how are you supposed to work these keywords in without degrading the quality of your content?
By the end of this post, you’ll know the basics of keyword research and you’ll gain precious insight into how to find powerful keywords for your blog.
Search Volume—defined in terms of estimated monthly traffic. This gives you an idea of how many people are searching using the specified keyword.
Competition—defined on a scale of low to high (Google) or from 0 to 1 (SEMRush, with 1 representing high competition). This gives you a general idea of how difficult it will be to rank for the specified keyword.
NOTE: “Competition” should be treated as a guideline more than a rule. It’s easiest to get a feel for the competition you’re facing by looking at the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). By looking at the websites you’ll be competing with for the keyword, you’ll get a better idea of what is meant by “competition.”
Long-Tail Keywords vs. Head Terms
The two main categories you can break keywords into are long-tail and head terms. Long-tail keywords are longer, more specific keywords. Head terms are more generic, shorter keywords.
Head Term: “laptop charger”
Long-tail keyword: “replacement laptop charger for MacinSoft 2000X”
While long-tail keywords don’t get as much search volume, they do allow you to target your content better to drive more relevant traffic. This leads to better conversion rates because searchers who have a specific search query are more likely to be close to buying.
Additionally, for businesses that are just starting to blog, long-tail keywords are a great way to get quick wins in SERPs. The cumulative effect of ranking for several long-tail keywords builds authority so you can start targeting more competitive head terms in your evergreen content.
Incorporating Keywords into Blog Posts
Search engine algorithms have gotten smart, so stuffing keywords into your post in a nonsensical way will do nothing but harm. The best way to incorporate keywords naturally is to ensure that your keyword is highly relevant to your topic, and to plan out your topic and keywords together before writing the post. You’ll know you’re doing it right when it’s impossible to write about your chosen topic without using the keyword you’re targeting.
Also, take care to include the keyword in all the relevant places—titles, h2 tags, meta descriptions, and alt text. Make sure your keyword is also included in your first paragraph and used two other times throughout your article. Yoast is a great plugin for WordPress that provides a real-time checklist for proper keyword placement.
No matter your business, knowing how to find keywords will give you a huge leg up on the competition. The right keywords are essential to a robust blogging strategy. Have more questions about finding powerful keywords? Set up a time to talk with the content team at Volume Nine!