Have you run out of ideas for blog topics? Have you exhausted all topic keywords in your blogging niche? Are you searching for a new category or entire niche to write about? Here are some guaranteed ways to find new blog topics and blogging niches to inspire and motivate.
This is a beginner guide to keyword research. If you're wondering how to get traffic from search engines to your new blog, read on for tips that will save you lots of time. This guide will show you how to research great ideas fast and come up with lots of blog post topics.
First of all, there's no perfect keyword research process. Everyone has their own favorite keyword research strategy and content creation strategy. I'll present various different ways of finding competitive keywords so you can mix and match, or combine methods to create your own customized workflow.
- Blog Content Writing
- Keyword Research Tools
- Google Search Console
- How To Use Keyword Research Tools
- Fast Analysis With KW Finder
- Keyword Analysis With SEMrush
- Longtail Keywords With Keysearch
- Find Missing Keywords
- Answer The Public
- Reddit SubReddits (Sub Niches)
- Quora Questions
- Amazon's Keyword Goldmine
- Content or Backlinks
- Crafting a Keyword-Rich Headline
Blog Content Writing
Here are two ways to approach blog posts:
- Research visitor-intent specific keywords to optimise your posts for these keywords
- Write viral content with irresistible headlines. Forget about keywords.
Both approaches work for different reasons. The ideal situation is to write content that combines both approaches. That’s how marketers should approach content marketing in 2020. The game is changing. We’ve moved from keyword-stuffing to keyword-targeting and finally, to topic-targeting.
Write about topics people are searching for but make sure you have a chance of ranking for the keywords. How to know what phrases people are searching for? Use Content Creation tools to research and write the best blog posts on your topics.
Keyword Research Tools
There are a plethora of keyword research tools, both free and paid, like SEMrush, Moz, Ahrefs, KWfinder, and Keysearch, to name a few. Each tool is very capable and each has its own strengths. But no tool has a 100% overlap of features with that of another. Your choice of keyword checker will depend on your workflow or your appreciation of a particular user interface.
Lowfruits is a powerful keyword research tool that focuses on long-tail keywords or keywords that present great opportunities for smaller websites. Add a seed keyword (1-3 words) and let Lowfruits uncover organic keywords and phrases that nobody else is targeting and watch your traffic skyrocket.
Ahrefs, to start with, has one of the most appealing interfaces. It’s a pleasure to use and the information is nicely presented. The backlink and organic research tools are incredible. But I use the Ahrefs keyword research service only as a backup. The difficulty metric is based purely on the quality of backlinks. I've seen extremely tough keywords with very low difficulty scores and vice versa. One of the best features of Ahrefs is the keyword gap tool which shows you the keywords your competitors' websites rank for but your website does not.
Keyword Chef is a great tool for finding low competition keywords. It also offers pay-as-you-go pricing so you're not locked into any monthly plan. If you're starting a new website or you want to quickly rank some pages, use Keyword Chef to find keywords that your competitors are not targeting.
Keysearch is my go-to tool for finding low competition lists of keywords for blog posts. The interface is easy to use and the powerful bulk-checking features and filtering help narrow down potential keyword ideas in no time.
SE Ranking is my Swiss Army Knife SEO tool. The SE Ranking suite of tools includes competitive research, keyword research, backlink checker, On-page SEO checker, and more. The competitor comparison tool is basically a keyword gap tool. It shows you common, missing, and unique keyword comparisons for you and your competitors.
Google Keyword Planner is often described as an excellent resource for finding long-tail keywords. The truth is that it's not. Unless you're buying Google Ads, Keyword Planner is quite limited. And even ad buyers get rough ranges of search volumes. There's a big difference between 100 and 1000 monthly searches. Google's Keyword Planner also does not provide any kind of metric to determine how hard a search term might be to rank for. It does, however, offer a Cost Per Click (CPC) value but this is notoriously inaccurate. And keywords for “ads” should be approached differently to keywords for “search”.
KW Finder is a solid tool that shows both search volume and keyword difficulty (based on the app's own metrics) for your chosen search terms. KW Finder's interface gets my vote as the easiest to use and the nicest to look at.
Google Search Console
People frequently overlook Google Search Console as a valuable resource for discovering juicy keywords and learning more about how Google interprets their content. The truth is that GSC is an excellent keyword tool, especially if you already have content published.
What can you learn from GSC data?
- Find keyword phrases that your content is ranking for but aren't in the text.
- Discover which keywords Google believes your content should rank for. This could be a completely different keyword than your main Title keyword.
- Discover longtail (low difficulty keywords) in search results can be used to generate ideas for future blog posts. Phrases beginning with “who, why, when, how, and where” are excellent candidates for ‘How To' posts. In the Search Query report, use the Regex modifier below
How To Use Keyword Research Tools
I keep an excel spreadsheet where I note blog post ideas.
In another sheet, I make a list of keyword ideas around one topic. Each sheet has phrases based on a single idea.
My keyword selection begins as an unstructured quest for ideas. I'm trying to find ideas and using my gut feeling for inspiration. For each keyword idea, I decide whether I’d like to write about that topic. It doesn’t have to be super exciting, but something I can definitely talk at length about, cultivate, and hopefully become excited about.
Having picked a search term, I then run it through KWfinder and KeySearch. I'm looking for Keyword Difficulty scores of less than 40. If you have a highly authoritative site then you can go for more difficult words. The rest of us will need to hit the easier options.
While I was researching keywords for the Brand Monitoring post I realized that my target word was going to be difficult to rank for. However, I decided that “Brand Monitoring Tools” as a title worked best for clarity.
I used the methods outlined below to find related keywords and found “Find out who's talking about you”. This is an easy phrase to rank for and although the search volume is low, I added it to the title. Not only does it complement the target keyword but it clarifies it too.
Fast Analysis With KW Finder
I use Mangools SerpChecker to analyze the competition by discovering who ranks for what keywords anywhere in the world. Your results in Google will always be skewed by your location and your search history. Serpchecker removes these influences. Another reason why I prefer this tool over Ahrefs, for example, for initial keyword discovery is that I can see both the Moz and Majestic ranking factors in the results. Facebook and G+ likes are also included, so you get an idea of how popular the URL is on social media, and its ‘shareability’.
I check to see if any of the URLs in the top 10 are ‘weaker’ than the rest and if I can beat them. Check for sites with low Page Authority (PA), and Trust Flow (TF). These two factors are important because you can rank ahead of sites with low values of these factors even if the other factors are high.
Amazon has a very high Domain Authority (DA) as it’s a highly trusted site with millions of visitors, backlinks, and content pages. However, as is often the case, the individual pages have low PA.
Trust Flow indicates the trust value of links pointing to that URL. If a post or product page has a lot of spammy or low-value domains pointing to it, then Majestic will give it a lower TF.
Keyword Analysis With SEMrush
Under Domain Analytics > Organic Research in SEMrush, I add the URL and the software shows me the keywords that this particular URL is ranking for. This is information that you can use to build your own keyword lists. SEMrush has a Keyword Competition metric that shows the difficulty of ranking for that phrase. Anything under 70 should be OK for a newish site targeting a new keyword phrase. More established sites can go after KC scores of over 70. You’ll find that weaker sites do not rank highly for words with KC scores of over 80.
Look for lower KC keywords that the site has ranked highly for. You can also see the search volume based on different geographical locations.
Longtail Keywords With Keysearch
Keysearch is a solid performer in the keyword difficulty checker software landscape. It's awesome for bulk checking and filtering keyword ideas. This saves a lot of time. KWfinder, on the other hand, forces you to click each result to find it's difficulty level. It's definitely one of the best apps for building a keyword strategy.
How to use Keysearch
Enter topics, phrases, or individual words in the top left text box. The Keyword Planner selection will be the best engine for searching in most cases. If you want to go deeper Keysearch gives you the ability to search using Google Suggest, Bing Suggest, YouTube Suggest, Amazon Suggest, Competitor Keywords, and Other Ad Networks. You can also import keyword lists and import CSV files directly from Google Keyword Planner.
I filter keywords using target words and negative words to get more specific results. I also select a minimum volume to reduce the number of results. Once I'm happy with the number of results, I select all words and do a Bulk Check. I then sort by score. The easiest results will appear at the top. With a bit of luck, some juicy low-competition keywords with high search volume will pop up.
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Find Missing Keywords
Surfer SEO lets you cross-reference your blog posts against the posts that rank high in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and discover which keywords and phrases you need to add or remove from your content. It's unbeatable for analyzing the competition and figuring out where you can improve with simple, easy-to-follow suggestions.
I often use Google's Autocomplete feature to get some good ideas directly from the search results. Type part of your keyword into the search box and see what comes up. The phrases that Google suggests can sometimes be used as killer titles or headlines. These keywords are all based on related searches that other people are performing on Google. It's a great way to find the best keywords to add to your blog post or find new topic ideas.
Answer The Public
A fabulous website for finding long-tail keywords based on questions people ask is Answer The Public. This one works a little differently than the others. It pulls keywords from sources like Reddit and other forums.
Don't be scared by the creepy old man on the front page. He's harmless. Enter your keyword and get hundreds of phrases that will help you create awesome content.
Reddit SubReddits (Sub Niches)
Reddit is one of the most popular websites in the world and is a gold mine of topics keywords, questions, and trending niches. If you’re not using Reddit for market research and blog topic ideation, you’re missing out. This blogging platform should be one of the first points of call for finding inspiration.
Here's how to research the most engaged Reddit audiences and Subreddits.
Head to GummySearch and create a new audience. Let’s take the example of “fitness enthusiasts”. GummySearch shows us the hot discussions, solutions requests, and top content ideas around this topic.
And there's more. Discover opportunities and ideas as well as discussions about money. GummySearch will surface everything that's relevant and engaged relating to your niche.
You can then select a subset of subreddits and go even more lazer-focused.
Quora is one of the most underrated platforms for keyword research. It's one of the most popular Q&A platforms on the internet and is home to a large number of active communities. But it can also be a great source of keyword research and lead generation ideas.
QApop is one of the best tools on the internet to use in order to find great keyword opportunities on Quora – which, as we covered above, is how you find highly trafficked, data-driven answers you can turn into valuable content.
Amazon's Keyword Goldmine
Looking for long-tail keywords with buyer intent?
Here's a useful and completely free Chrome extension that displays a plethora of relevant keywords within the Amazon ecosystem. Install a Chrome extension called AMZ Suggestion Expander and perform a regular Amazon product search.
The AMZ Suggestion Expander will take your initial search and present you with related long-tail keywords, many of which you may not have considered.
There is a Pro version, but the free version is pretty great so unless you're seriously hungry for keywords, you will probably not need it. However, to download all the keywords (by clicking the yellow button at the bottom of the keyword suggestions box), you'll need a license for AMZ Suggestion Expander Pro.
I've found that most of the time, I don't need this option.
And you can always use a hack like copying the text with Text Sniper (one of my favorite and most-used tools). Simply create a selection box around the words and Text Sniper will copy all of the text so that you can paste them somewhere else.
Content or Backlinks
First of all, let's look at the old comparison of on-page SEO (keyword research and content) and off-page SEO (backlinks). Can we rank in Google search without backlinks? Is great content good enough to drive organic traffic?
Marketers and SEOs tend to talk about how their method of researching and writing blog posts works best because Google is now focusing on X over Y, etc. But some marketers are merely promoting their own products. The owners of backlink checker tools will tell you how backlinks are the only thing that matters. Keyword research tool companies show how the right keywords are all you need to grow your organic search traffic.
I’ve ranked several websites on the first page and the first position of Google's search engine result pages using content and keyword research alone. Websites with little or no backlinks can do very well under the right conditions. By the way, some of these websites and URLs have stayed on the top of Google for years without building links.
Inbound marketing is super powerful but it only works with high-quality content based on search terms that people are plugging into Google.
Crafting a Keyword-Rich Headline
Once I've written the post, I decide on a title. Using keywords in the Title and the URL is an important part of your strategy. Even if the search engines begin to give less weight to the headline, it helps the user's experience by showing exactly what the content is about.
Use the Mangools Google SERP simulator to preview how your post will look in the search results and optimize your snippets. Make sure the title length is optimal and the Meta Description looks right.
You don't want the headline to appear truncated. The original title for this blog post was “How I do Keyword Research for Blog Posts – Step By Step Guide” but there's a good chance that this title will appear truncated, as in the image above. Other SERP preview tools might show the complete title but Google tends to show between 60-64 characters. I try to make my headlines 60 characters maximum.
In the above example, I removed the word ‘Guide' and the headline appears in its entirety.
Summary Step By Step
- Use Serpchecker or SEMrush to find sites ranking around the main target keyword
- Plug each of the sites on the front page into SE Ranking and Ahrefs
- Gather a list of relevant keywords.
- Add a few of these keywords into LSIgraph
- Enter phrases into Google's search box to get Autocomplete ideas
- Use Keysearch to find long-tail keywords and bulk check their difficulty level.
- Build up a list of low-competition, high volume keywords to use in your title, headings, and throughout the text.
Keyword research is a time-consuming process. There isn't a single method that works every time. There's no magic bullet. To do proper research takes time but you have plenty of tools are your disposal.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the keyword phrase scores based on?
The keyword scores are determined by an algorithm that considers the popularity of a keyword phrase, with popularity defined as the volume of searches conducted for that phrase in Google Search.
The keyword phrase's relevance to a piece of content may also be considered. The website's authority and individual URLs are also quality indicators.
What about LSI keywords?
People still use Latent Semantic Indexing keywords, but they are largely outdated. They are not used in the same way anymore because of changes in Search Engine Optimization and the way Google interprets the text meaning.
Is Google Trends a good
Google Trends is a good research tool for discovering trends and predicting keyword popularity. It's not a tool for understanding competitiveness (level of competition) or search intent.