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Umar Khan

Rank Your Blog with This Keyword Research Method

Umar Khan
Rank Your Blog with This Keyword Research Method

Everyone wants to get succeed with their blog, but few people know the “secret recipe.” Writing a great blog is one of those things that once you find your groove, you just don’t want to stop writing. However, all those great write-ups aren’t worth much if their visibility is poor. And this is one of the reasons why majority of the blogs fail; they think that SEO is no more important and “keyword research” is a waste of time.

Because of the Google‘s frequent refinements for updating algorithm, most of the bloggers are pissed off. People need to realize that, there’s one thing that’s remained pretty much unchanged as far as website optimization for increased visibility is concerned: "keyword research." To put it more accurately, the need for keyword research hasn’t changed, rather how you do it has.

Follow these keyword research steps and narrow down your own list to include terms you need to target. Through this approach, you can establish and execute a head-on keyword strategy that will help your audiences find you for the search terms which apply and are relevant, depending on your niche or area of expertise.

Step 1: Based on Your Niche, Make a List of Relevant Topics

Think of the topics which you want to be ranked for – let’s refer to this as “generic buckets.” Come up with five to ten topic buckets you feel are relevant to your blog. Then, use the topic buckets to come up with specific keywords later.

If you happen to be a regular blogger, the topics you chose are the ones your blog revolves around. Picture this from your reader’s perspective: what type of topics would your niche audience search that you’d want your blog to be found for? For instance, if your blog is all about fitness regimens, you’ll probably have general topic buckets like "fat loss," "muscle building," "cardio," "yoga," "diet" or "HIIT."

Step 2: Fill the Topic Buckets with Keywords

You have the topic buckets you need to focus on, now you need to identify a few keywords that are relevant to those buckets. These should be keyword phrases you feel are necessary to rank for in the SERPs (search engine results pages), since your target audience may be conducting searches using those keyword phrases or terms.

Let’s take the last topic bucket for fitness regimens around which our blog is tailored – we need to brainstorm keyword phrases people might type in as far as the blog goes. This might include:

  • Best diet for fat loss
  • Supplements for muscle building
  • Is steady-state or HIIT-style cardio better for fat loss and muscle gain?
  • Best exercises for targeting weight loss

And on it goes. The general idea here isn’t to prepare a final list of keyword phrases but rather brainstorm a bunch of phrases you think people might key-in to look for content related to the topic bucket – in this case, your fitness blog. Later down the process, we’ll be narrowing down these lists.

Google encrypts an increasing amount of keywords each day, though another clever way of discovering keyword ideas is to find out which keywords your website is already ranking for – i.e. getting found by users keying in certain terms and phrases. Thanks to “Not provided,” we couldn’t be able to get that treasure any more but there are ways to become a Jack Sparrow.

This will help you identify keywords people are using to find your website. You can repeat this drill for as many topic buckets as you like.

Step 3: Dig up Related Search Terms

Here’s another way of filling those topic bucket lists:

Go to Google and check out the related search terms found on the bottom of the page, which you get once you’ve entered a keyword. These are suggestions for searches that are related to the original keyword you entered. These related keywords can really help you come up with even more ideas as far as collecting your keyword/topic bucket lists are concerned.

Want to take this to another level? Click on a related keyword suggestion, and check out its related keywords on the bottom of the search page! Endless possibilities.

You should also check the Google wildcard suggestions for better understanding of people’s intent around your search terms.

Bonus Tip: Keywordtool.io and Uber Suggest are the tools that you should use for this. They provide very useful data that most of the time Google Keyword planner doesn’t show.

Step 4: Pinpoint Head Terms and Long Tail Keywords in Each Bucket

If you’re not already aware, it’s important to understand how head terms or keywords differ from long-tail keywords.

Head terms can be defined as keyword phrases which are generic and generally not more than a word or two long, depending on the type of phrase entered. Long tail keywords on the other hand, are as you guessed it, longer keyword phrases – three words or more – which typically take the form of a short sentence or question.

You need to have a good mix of head terms and long tail keywords in your bucket lists. Why? So that you’ll have a well-balanced keyword strategy which translates into short-term gains as well as long-term goals.

You see, head terms are usually searched more by people, as you can imagine, which usually makes them far more competitive and also harder to rank as opposed to long tail terms. Let’s think about this for a moment: in your opinion, which one of these terms would be harder to rank?

  1. How to permanently lose fat the right way
  2. Fat loss

You probably went with "fat loss," and you’re completely right. However, it’s important to understand that even though head terms generate more search volume (which means higher potential for driving traffic to your blog or site), the traffic you’re going to get from “how to permanently lose fat the right way” is actually more desirable. Let’s expand further.

A person who’s searching for something more specific makes him/her a more qualified searcher for what you’re selling (the blog), compared to someone who’s just looking for something generic. Since long tail keywords are more specific, it’s easier to guess what people using them are looking for. Now, on the other hand, a person just looking for “fat loss” may be looking it up for a host of reasons which could be almost completely unrelated to your blog or website.

Therefore, always make sure your keyword lists contain a good mix of head terms as well as long tail keywords. So, as a rule: long tail keywords for some quick wins, and more complex head terms for the long haul.

Step 5: How Your Competitors Rank Keywords

You don’t need to follow in your competitor’s footsteps just because something is working for them. This especially applies to keywords. Though, you still need to understand which keywords your competitors are ranking for.

If your competitors are ranking for the same keywords as your list, you need to work on bettering your ranking for those. However, this is not to say you should be ignoring the keywords your competitors aren’t using, as this could be an excellent opportunity to for you to grab market share based on those keyword terms.

Bonus tip: Cyfe is one of the tools that can gives you all the insights of your competitor including web analytics, SEO performance, rankings, content strategy, email marketing strategy and social media strategy.

So keep in mind that finding the right balance will definitely ensure quick wins but also in the process, help you move towards bigger and more challenging SEO goals.

One of the best ways to determine what keywords your competitors are ranking for is SEMrush, which lets you run unlimited reports and display top keywords for any given domain. This way, you get a good sense of the kinds of terms your competitors are striving to rank for.

The above points will certainly guide your blog on the road of success. Did I miss something important? What’s your best approach in keyword research these days? Let’s talk about under the comment section!

Umar oversees digital strategy at FAM Properties, a leading real estate agency in Dubai. He is a columnist for famous marketing publications and love working with people all over the world. Get in touch with him on Twitter.

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