If you read my first post on blogging for beginners, you’ll know that I’m trying to keep things pretty short and sweet. I want to make it as easy as possible for my new blogging friends to implement some of these ideas without getting overwhelmed. Which is why I’m hesitant to even talk about search engine optimization (SEO).
But, if you’ve got any hope of anyone other than your friends and family reading your stuff, you’ve got to incorporate some basic SEO techniques. I can’t pretend to be an expert and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that search engines change so frequently making it virtually impossible to stay up-to-date. That being said, I have learned a thing or two from SEO marketers and here are my go-to tips:
What are keywords?
Keywords are the words and phrases that people use to search on a certain topic. You’ll benefit by incorporating these phrases and words into your blog post to increase the chances of someone googling on a topic that you wrote about and you showing up at the top of their search results.
How to use keyword research to determine what to write about
- Come up with a list of phrases or words that people might use to find your products and services. The best way to think about this is asking yourself the question, “What words would my clients or prospects use to find me?”
- If you’re coming up short on a list of words, you can use the auto suggest functionality in Google to get some ideas, consider a tool like Seed Keywords which allows you to survey your customers on how they search for products or services, or try one of our favorite free keyword research tools to help generate ideas or fine-tune your keywords:
- Try to find keywords that have high search volume or popularity, but low competition indicating that a lot of people are searching on this topic, but not a lot of people are writing with those keywords. Unfortunately a lot of the free tools will give you ideas for keywords, but not the level of detail you need to determine which keywords have high volume and low competition so you may need to pay to access that information.
- I typically do a quick search in the beginning to help solidify the direction of the topic and then at the very end to help inform my title choice.
How to incorporate keywords into your blog post
- Once you’ve chosen one or two keywords/phrases, you’ll want to incorporate them into your content and blog post title. Chances are you’ll find hundreds of combinations of words and phrases so just keep it to one or two or you’ll ruin the authenticity of your post.
- Your title should be less than 70 characters and should include a keyword phrase early in the title. This helps improve your chances of coming up in search results, but prevents the title and keyword phrases from getting cut off in the search result.
Finally, while you want to incorporate keyword research into your content, you also want to produce good, authentic content that people want to read. Good content ALWAYS trumps mediocre content loaded with keywords. People might find you by searching on a topic that you’ve written about, but they’ll keep coming back to you because you’ve given them something of value, they’ve learned from you, and frankly, because they like you which is why you have to show your true, authentic self.
Still have questions on keyword research? Ask your questions in the Comments section and stay tuned for our next post on connecting blogging and business.
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