Write better with SEO keyword research
Learning how to research SEO keywords will take your well-meaning, and probably meandering, posts and transform them into something relevant and helpful. This article by Orbit Media on keyword research gave us a roadmap on how to get started. But what good is a map if you don’t use it?
Three quick benefits of SEO keyword research
Keyword research can make you a more effective writer in the following ways:
You’re very interesting. And charming. But no one wants to read your blog when the writing rambles about aimlessly. Keyword research can give you a target to hit with your writing. One good question to ask is “Does what I’m writing have anything to do with my keywords?”
Remember to take your keywords and write for humans. Write your copy to be helpful to those humans. Google and other search engines use relevancy into their rank scoring factors. Focus on the goal, be helpful to humans.
Clarity is writing what you say you will write about. It’s writing about SEO keyword research and talking about it. Your audience appreciates it too. Listen closely and you can hear them saying, “Thank you for not confusing the hell out of me.” Satisfying, isn’t it?
Clarity beats trickiness any day of the week. Google isn’t impressed with your $99 SEO “Hacks” from 2016. Just write the words that help humans. This way, everyone wins.
Your voice matters. Your experience matters. There is always someone behind you in getting started. Be helpful, share your experience. What are some lessons discovered from your success and struggle?
It also helps others by reminding them they are not alone. Community matters. Be generous with your success and your struggles. People need experts and they need fellow travelers. Your journey from noob to expert will help others see a path forward towards success. Give them a vision of the future that includes bliss and joy. My bliss includes a full bag of Hot Cheetos. #willworkforsnacks
Photo by Thomas Teal | Instagram
Free is a beautiful (key) word
Keyword research is one action beginning writers can do with no funding necessary. You have access to multiple free and partially free, powerful keyword research tools. Excuses be gone! Here’s what we are using in 2020.
Free keyword research options
- Google Ads Keyword tool
- Google search suggestion
- Moz (Free trial)
Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest is a free SEO keyword tool. It offers many of the tools that the paid SEO tools use but at no cost. Ubersuggest can spy on your competitor’s keywords, track which keywords you rank for, and help you research main and long-tail keywords for your own articles and content. This is a great place for anyone to start.
Google Ads Keyword tool
This tool is available in your Google Ads account. You can make a free account here (link). Take your short keywords and enter them in the tool. Look for 4-5 word keywords that have low competition and search volume.
Use Ubersuggest to see what your competitors are ranking for and then plug them into this tool. No one said you have to only use one tool at a time. I’ll take a #3 keyword combo and make it a large!
Google Search Suggestion
When you type in the Google search bar or any app that uses Google as its search engine, you get suggestions as you type. You can use these suggestions as long-tail keywords. There are a lot of combinations you can test out here so don’t be afraid to be creative. Just don’t get sucked down an internet wormhole of distraction. At least screenshot the results of your search before you watch even more cat videos.
Moz Keyword tool (Free)
Moz offers a powerful suite of tools. These tools are also out of our budget. Thankfully, there is a free allotment of 10 keywords and related information you can access each month. Use it for a single big monthly project.
Another option is to sign-up for a 30-day trial and go hard on a dozen keyword ideas. You could bank a year’s worth of keyword research for a dozen long-form articles over a few weeks of dedicated research.
If you’re producing over one long-form piece, each month then upgrading to a paid tool link Moz might be a good choice.
Mirror mirror on the wall. Who’s the fairest keyword of them all?
This chart from the crew at Orbit Media gives us a good look at what length keywords we should try to rank for. For instance, Twenty-Two Kittens is a new site with zero Domain Authority. 5-word long-tail keywords are what we’re after.
Look up who is ranking for short versions of your keyword and then base your long-tail keyword on theirs. Successful pages often rank for 1000s of keywords.
Some of those keywords are valuable to you and are low competition. Can’t beat em, might as well stand next to them and enjoy some sunshine too.
Image via Orbit Media
Do I need a paste-on neckbeard to learn how to research keywords?
No beard necessary! The number one thing to remember about learning SEO Keyword research is that starting is better than nothing. Using free tools will get you further than despair and angst about not being able to afford the professional tools.
The skills you build in a year of bootstrapping low/no-cost keyword research will give you confidence, case studies (blog posts!), and a justification for moving up to some paid SEO keyword research tools. And you can afford some proper beard paste from all the money you save by using free keyword and SEO tools.
Keywords for better blog writing
One more time for the folks in the back. SEO keyword research gives you:
Clarity is having a target – your keyword. First drafts often have meandering topics or multiple main topics.
Well-researched keywords give you the opportunity to ask questions, “Would this section be better as an article of its own?” You don’t always have to kill your darlings, sometimes you just edit them out and repurpose them.
Authority is tricky. It boils down to – “Does this person know what the heck they are talking about?” Do you? You can be a beginner and still be building your authority. Writing is a great way to do that.
Usefulness is determined by your audience. Is your motive to help people or are you solely a salesy overbearing spam machine? Did they learn something? Or just get filled with regret?
Give yourself a fighting chance with SEO keyword research
Why guess what your audience is trying to search for? You’ll probably guess wrong. And then blame yourself for your stunning lack of clairvoyance. Instead, leverage the success of the big kids. If someone ranks for the term keyword research, you might try to rank for keyword research for beginners or variations of that phrase.
In the end
Keywords give us:
- SEO benefits
- A chance to rank
You can write more today by following these suggestions. Your writing needs time and repetition to develop its potential. But you can start building your foundation today. Consistency matters. Small wins really matter. Getting 1% better most days adds up to bigger successes and better systems. Keywords rock. Use them.