Blog Topics & SEO Keyword Research
SEO has become more of a buzzword than a logical strategy. It stands for Search Engine Optimization and it can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. Instead of making this sound like a programming lesson or science experiment, I’ll make this as simple as possible.
Why Do I Need SEO?
Because Google said so. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, then you should know that Google is the king of search. Google owns nearly 80% of the global market share, while the other search engines share the other 20%. If you’re taking your business online, then you need to play by the rules of the game – Google’s game.
The Secret to SEO
I’m sorry to disappoint you so early on, but there’s no secret. However that title is a perfect example of what you should not do (i.e., listen to people who tell you they know the “secret” to SEO – because they’re lying, or cheating). Google doesn’t like cheaters.
Since the inception of Google, they’ve been very secretive about their algorithm. They’ve sprinkled a few hints here and there, but the rest is speculation (and testing).
Just like with everything else digital, there are “guidelines” that have a proven track record of working. These SEO guidelines allow us to understand the rules of Google’s game.
The Basics of Writing a Blog
Google wants high quality content, so we give the king what he wants: deliver the goods. If you’re writing an opinion piece or a personal story, I suggest you write first and SEO later.
If you’re writing a piece with the goal to drive traffic, then you need to think SEO first. In such, you need to understand your industry, trending topics and questions your audience has. Otherwise, how do you know your content provides any value to your targeted audience?
Here are the basic SEO tips for writing a blog.
What is an SEO Keyword?
It might seem like this would be obvious, but it can get a little more complicated than saying, “it does what it says on the tin”.
SEO keywords are sometimes referred to as search terms or search queries, and they are the foundations to your blog post. Moz words it so beautifully, “If you boil everything on your page — all the images, video, copy, etc. — down to a simple words and phrases, those are your primary keywords.”
SEO Keyword Research
Before you start writing your blog, you need to step back and take a look at the bigger picture – what industry are you trying to target? What problems are you trying to solve? Who are you talking to?
Once you can answer those questions, then you can guide your efforts down a productive rabbit hole of online research.
The Tools For Creating an SEO-Friendly Blog Topic:
Amazon is a powerhouse of online marketplaces. Nearly 50% of consumers turn to Amazon first when shopping for products online. This has fluctuated over the years, but Amazon isn’t going anywhere.
Every time you type a product term in to Amazon’s search bar, the data is strategically used to rank/ distribute products. This can be very useful to find trending products and topics.
Amazon books helps you to see the trending subject matters. Based on the reviews and the ranking position, you can make an educated guess as to whether it’s worthwhile.
Use the sub-categories to look for related topics. There’s a never ending list of topics, but not all of them are going to fit. If the topics don’t fit, then take a look at the individual books on the bestseller list. If you want to go even further, have a look at their table of contents.
P.s. This will not work for all industries. It’s great for digital marketing, but maybe not for fashion trends.
Google Trends does exactly what the name implies – it helps you to stay on top of the latest search trends.
But wait, there’s so much more. You can:
- Research a keyword’s popularity over time.
- Explore specific times and regions.
- Segment results based on web, image, news and YouTube searches.
- Discover related keywords and topics.
We all spend a ridiculous amount of time on social media, which makes it the perfect platform to understand the who, what, where and why of your audience.
- What questions are people asking?
- Some Group posts spark discussions and amazing responses that could be a great starting point for you.
- On the other hand, some posts are left with cricket noises in the background, and no responses. This is a good opportunity to take your topic further.
- Can you ask a question and see what people say?
- Example: I want to write a blog about blogging (blog inception), so I join a group of freelance bloggers on Facebook and ask them, “What do you think is the hardest/most painful part about blogging
Trending hashtags and topics
“Moments are curated stories showcasing the very best of what’s happening on Twitter.”
PINTEREST KEYWORD RESEARCH
- Explore topics: On every category page, Pinterest lists the most popular related topics as subcategories.
- Pinterest Quick Search: Start typing a topic into the search bar. Similar to Google, Pinterest will try to autocomplete your search by displaying a list of phrases associated with the first word you type in.
- Pinterest Guided Search: After you search a keyword, Pinterest will display a list of boxes below the search bar, called “Guides”. These are the most common phrases that are searched with the keyword you entered.
Explore the discussions on open forums. A few examples would be:
When we say publications, we’re not just talking about the online ones, we’re talking about the print ones too. Did you think print was dead? Well, you’re…
Choosing your SEO Keywords
Now you have a topic (or if you’re like us, you have about 10 and want to write a blog about them all).
Google only likes it if you focus on two or three keywords. If you use too many, this is called keyword stuffing, which is considered a black-hat SEO tactic. NOT good.
The longer the search term (/ the more specific you are) the less competition you’re likely to have.
- Generic: fashion and style
- Specific: fashion and style trends for 2018
With all the research you’ve done, you must have come across hundreds of keywords that you could use. How can you possibly choose the best ones?
The keywords you use should be based off the type of search queries your audience would use to find the topic you’re writing about.
What questions are your audience asking Google?
When you want to find an answer, you usually type a question into Google. You have to answer these questions and your keywords pioneer your helpful content.
These are called LSI Keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing) and they are keywords that are semantically related to your search term. They are essentially keywords based on user search patterns and behavior.
Please note: LSI Keywords do NOT replace your core keywords, they are supporting search terms that help guide your content.
Here are some cool tools to try out:
Your SEO Blog Keyword Checklist
- An overarching topic (or a few).
- Health and fitness
- Digital marketing
- Subtopics that help contribute to your overarching topic.
- Gluten free recipes
- Social media trends for small business
- Questions your audience need answering.
- Select a question or subject matter that’s trending.
- Choose 3 keywords and a few LSI keywords to craft your blog.
- Keep the research you didn’t use for another day.
These tips are just the beginning for your SEO keyword research, once you start digging you will develop an ever changing strategy in understanding what your audience wants to read.
This might seem a little overwhelming but if you don’t just do it, you will NEVER learn. So get out there and get your SEO on.