Before your blog posts can rank in search engines, you’ll need to perform keyword research. This isn’t just finding keywords but also ones that you can actually rank for. The problem with many bloggers and businesses is that they don’t know how to analyze the competition. This might not seem like that big of a deal…
But if you spend hours creating content or thousands of dollars paying for it — you probably want it to be seen. And if you’re publishing the content on the wrong keywords that’s probably not going to happen.
Throughout this article, I’m going to show you how to do keyword research for blog posts. Besides, I’ll also show you how to do competitor analysis, but we’ll get to that later on…
What Are The Types of Keywords You Can Target?
Before we dive into the tutorial on which keywords to target, I wanted to explain the different types of keywords. While I’m sure there are endless ways to categorize keywords, I wanted to break them down into the main categories so that you can get a basic understanding of them.
Keep in mind; they may cross over depending on the keyword.
- Transactional: Here, the keyword shows that the user wants to buy right now… For example, “buy multivitamin supplements.”
- Buyer Intent: “Product review,” “A vs. B,” or “Product buying guide” – Here, the user has expressed serious interest in the product and is considering buying it.
- Informational: “What is digital marketing” or “how to do keyword research”… The user wants the information on a particular topic.
- Short-tail: Keywords with 1 or 2 words
- Long-tail: Keywords with 3+ words
All of these keywords have their place. However, it’s usually most effective for blog posts to focus on both buyer intent and informational. You can also build a topic cluster with the pillar content targeting short(er)-tail keywords and the supporting articles targeting the lower-hanging fruit (i.e., long-tail keywords).
Analyzing The Intent
When doing keyword research for blog posts, it’s important to analyze the intent first. If the user is not looking for a blog post, Google will probably not show them one.
Transactional intent example:
The user clearly wants to complete the transaction right now. And a blog post will not help them do that, so Google won’t show it to them.
That’s why you should always analyze what the user is looking for and aim to satisfy it. If it’s not a blog post… Then don’t write a blog post.
When doing keyword research for blog posts, you should (usually) avoid:
- Transactional keywords – Although these are valuable, you’re probably not going to rank with a blog post (There are exceptions).
- Keywords with a too specific intent – Like when does the stock market open… This is a preference, but I wouldn’t waste an entire article on a keyword where the user won’t click on results.
- Anything else where the user won’t click on the results
There are exceptions to this, and it is a somewhat personal preference whether you want to target keywords with a highly specific intent. But often, if the user is looking for something very specific, you might be wasting your time because they won’t read the entire article.
Again, let’s look at the stock market example. I would assume that the click-through rate (CTR) is quite low, because the user gets their specific answer, and doesn’t click on your article.
Likewise, if you’re trying to rank for a keyword and your blog post is on a completely different topic to the ones ranking… That’s a red flag too.
How To Do Keyword Research For Blog Posts
Here are the steps to do keyword research for blog posts:
- Start with topics
- Make a list of your competitors
- Get your keyword list ready
- Check out your competitors
- Use Google to find keywords
- Use Keyword Research Tools To Find More Keywords
- Analyze The Competition of Your Keywords
- Create an Editorial Calendar
Of course, once you have learned what you need to do, your process may vary slightly. However, I find that these steps are a great way to learn the initial process, and it’s the way I personally do it. Below, I have guided you through each step so you can replicate it for your own blog or website.
Before We Start: Choose a Keyword Research Tool
For this tutorial, you are going to need a keyword research tool. There’s plenty of them out there, and they all do very similar things.
I like to use Mangools’ KWFinder, but you can also use any others of your choice.
The most popular ones are SEMrush and Ahrefs, which also do a lot more than keyword research.
I’ve listed them below, so you can choose one and find keywords with this tutorial. If you’re looking for one that has a free trial, I recommend SEMrush.
- SEMrush (has a free trial)
- Mangools KWFinder (My Favorite)
- KeySearch (Most Affordable)
- Ahrefs (Best for backlinks)
1. Start with Topics
Before you go and find keywords, I always suggest starting with topics. Not only does it make it easier to find ideas, but also it helps your topics stay relevant to one another. The benefit of this is that it allows you to build authority around a specific topic.
For example, if you have 30 articles on your website about social media marketing, then search engines will recognize that this is what your website is about. Therefore, they’ll rank you higher for keywords in that topic.
So, try to create a list of maybe your main topic and some sub-topics.
2. Make a list of Competitors
Next, it’s time to make a list of your competitors. We’ll be using their blogs and keywords for ideas, as well as stealing their traffic by creating content on search phrases they rank for.
If you can’t think of any competitors, take a couple of sites in your niche. And, if you can’t think of competitors either, search Google for some related words to your business or topic, and find some.
Then, make a list of them… You can do this in a Google or Excel sheet. Don’t worry about formatting it well or anything like that; we’re just going to grab the URLs and add them into our tools later on.
3. Get your keyword list ready
Next, you’ll also want to create a separate Google or Excel sheet and insert your keywords. Again, don’t worry about formatting too much because we will create a different editorial calendar later on.
This is just space where you can add your keywords and some basic information like the volume.
4. Check out your competitors
Now, it’s time to start finding keywords, and there are various ways you can do this.
First of all, you will need a keyword research tool. For this tutorial, I am going to use Mangools’ KWFinder, as mentioned earlier. But you can use your preferred tool. The process with all of them is pretty much the same.
Grab the URLs you found and put them into your preferred keyword tool. The tool will spit out all the keywords this site ranks for.
For example… Let’s say Neil Patel is your competitor:
You can sort by traffic to find keywords that are bringing this site the most traffic. This is especially effective if it’s a direct competitor with a similar offering to yours. Or, you can also sort by keyword difficulty (down) to potentially look for “low hanging fruit” (i.e., easy keywords).
The screenshot above shows Mangools KWFinder, but you can use whatever you prefer.
Now, add them to your list of keywords. You can rinse and repeat this process for all your competitors, and you should be able to find some decent keywords.
5. Use Google To Find Keywords (+Keywords Everywhere)
The next way you can also find keywords is by using Google.
Just start typing in keywords related to your business, and look at what comes up.
Google will also show you related keywords in the:
- People Also Ask section
- People also search for/Related searches
Additionally, you can also use a freemium extension called “Keywords Everywhere.”
The free version will show you related keywords to all of the searches you make, which will look like this:
And then you can use the credit to load the metrics, or just add them into your keyword research tool.
Alternatively, you can also use Keyword Surfer, but I prefer Keywords everywhere.
From here, add them and their metrics to your list of keywords. This way, you can easily choose the ones worth it later on and create blog posts for them.
6. Use Keyword Research Tools To Find More Keywords
Besides stealing your competitors’ keywords, there are more ways your tool can find keywords for you. If you open it up and type in a keyword related to your topic, it should show you more related keywords with their metrics.
Remember, each tool has its own scoring system for keyword difficulties, so this score isn’t too reliable. But, I will show you how to analyze the difficulty of a keyword later in this article.
From here, take those keywords and the metrics your tool displays, and add them to your list.
7. Analyze The Competition of Your Keywords
Once you have your list of keywords, you’ll want to analyze their competition. The reason for this is that some of them may be more effort than they are worth. For example, if you find an informational keyword with low traffic, and the entire first page is authority sites… It may not be worth it.
Some of the factors you’ll want to look at are:
- Off-page SEO (Backlinks pointing to the page & domain)
- On-page SEO (Wordcount, kw density, content quality, etc.)
If the competition is too good in both of these areas, it may be more effort than it’s worth. But, I’ll talk you about how to analyze these in more detail later if you’re not sure how to.
From here, you’ll want to select the keywords in order of priority; you can base this off keyword difficulty or whichever ones you want to do first. For example, it may make sense to get your pillar post done first.
8. Create an Editorial Calendar
Once you have your keywords, it would make sense to create an editorial calendar. Doing so will allow you to keep a regular publishing schedule and structure in your content. If you set yourself a target to post every Saturday, then having a plan where the content idea and additional information are ready should help you.
There are many templates online that you can download; some for Excel, others for Google sheets. Below, I’ve left some links to ones that you can download.
The editorial calendar should include additional information such as the word count, keyword density (if any), and related keywords to build in.
Keyword Research For Blog Posts: How To Analyze The Competition
As mentioned earlier, I will explain how to analyze the competition, which is part of doing keyword research for blog posts.
On-Page Factors & Length of Blog Post
For the on-page SEO factors, I like to use a tool called audiit.io.
With audiit.io, you can have all the on-page SEO factors ready at a glance in just one click. This makes planning your blog posts SO MUCH easier because you won’t have to go clicking around to see how long your competitors’ blog posts are to get an idea. And you’ll know exactly how long Google wants a blog post on this topic should be.
You can also use Audiit to compare your existing pages to the ones ranking at the top of Google to see the differences.
Plus, as the tool is still very new, there’s a sweet lifetime deal available at just $47, which you can access using the button below.
Besides your on-page SEO factors, your backlink profile will also be a crucial set of ranking factors. For a normal blog post, I don’t really dig too much into this, especially if it’s a post that I want to write anyway.
However, what you’ll want to look at is:
- The links pointing to the domain (Domain Authority/Rating/etc.)
- The links pointing to the page
You can use a tool like Mangools, Ahrefs, or SEMrush to do this. From here, you should look that it’s not too difficult/competitive. Usually, you can make up for whatever you’re lacking, with a bit of the other.
For example, if you have low domain authority but excellent content and lots of links pointing to one post, it may compete with bigger sites.
You can also use the percentage difficulty metrics of keyword research tools, but keep in mind that these are 3rd party metrics. Meaning: Google does not use them, so research outside of them too. They are mainly indicators.
However, I’m not that experienced when it comes to link-building myself. So if you want to read more about the non-content parts of SEO, I suggest checking out some of the resources below.
Link Building for SEO: The Beginner’s Guide
Keyword Research For Blog Posts: Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about doing keyword research for blog posts.
What Are The Best Keyword Research Tools For Bloggers?
The best keyword research tools for bloggers are:
- Mangools KW Finder (Best all-rounder)
- SEMrush (Best for content tools)
- KeySearch (Most Affordable)
How Do I Build In Related Keywords To My Content?
For most related keywords, I like to build them under their own separate heading. For example, if I’m writing a product review and a question keyword about that product, I might build a separate section for it under its own heading.
You don’t necessarily have to include the keyword under its own heading, but it clearly shows Google that you have covered the keyword.
That’s also why I often like to include Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) at the end of articles. Doing so allows me to build in several keywords under their own heading while keeping the article well-formatted and user-friendly.
How many keywords should a blog post have?
In theory, a blog post could target unlimited keywords. So, there isn’t a set rule. However, you need to provide the best page for a keyword, and if you build in too many “seed keywords,” this would be hard.
Therefore, I usually like to target one main keyword with each page and a few related ones that don’t need as much coverage as the primary keyword.
How do I SEO optimize my blog post?
Here’s how to optimize your blog post for SEO:
- Research keywords first
- Include the main keyword in the title
- Structure your content properly
- Use images and optimize the alt tags
- Analyze the competition, and follow similar patterns
- Use internal and external links
- Add meta information to your blog posts
- Optimize your URL structure
If you want to read more about this process, check out how to write SEO-friendly blog posts.
Final Thoughts – What’s Next?
Once you have found your keywords and created your editorial planner, it’s time to start writing your content. Again I recommend setting a schedule that you’ll stick to, and as time goes on, you should see a rise in organic traffic.
Also, make sure that you are tracking your progress with your preferred SEO tool. When you have pages ranking on page 2 or 3, make improvements to them, as this will give you a decent boost in visibility and traffic.
If you enjoyed this article on how to do keyword research for blog posts, you may also like:
How To Write an Outline For a Blog Post (The SEO Way)
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