A Complete (Yet Simple) Guide To Keyword Research and Content Writing
Content rules, but it needs proper keyword research, or you may never be heard!
All content deserves to be read, and what better way to make sure people find your content than conducting keyword research?
In this chapter, we are going to look at keyword research and content writing.
You may be thinking that keyword research is less important than the content itself. I assure you it’s not!
If no one can find your content, there is no point for you to write it. Keyword research allows you to see what words are popular in your niche, which ones are worth targeting based on your website’s authority, and so on.
Let’s dive right in!
Table of Contents
What Is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is used to help search engine optimisation (SEO) in your efforts to rank higher than your competitors.
When doing keyword research, you can unveil all sorts of valuable data such as popular keywords, ranking difficulty, and traffic estimates.
Keyword research will help you determine what keywords are popular in your niche and which ones to include in your content.
For example, when analysing the keyword “best head massager for blood circulation,” you can see that it is a keyword that gets searched on Google.
It is less competitive, therefore easier to rank for than just using “best head massager”.
You can then brainstorm different ways to use this keyword for your article and include it in places like the title, subtitle, metatag, URL, and so on.
You should conduct keyword research prior to producing content. This information will allow you to be more specific about what topics need to be addressed and how they should be written.
How to Do Keyword Research Correctly
Below, I have listed some essential steps to take to do keyword research the right way.
Before writing content, you should research keywords to make sure you craft the kind of content your readers will actually care about.
Try to put yourself into your readers’ shoes and understand what they’re looking for when they enter a search term or phrase.
Make a list of the topics you believe are most pertinent to your business
Start by listing the topics you want to rank for based on your business’ needs. For example, suppose your site is about web design and development.
In that case, the list might include related topics such as: “design”, “professional services”, “web hosting”, etc.
These topics will help you with keyword research since they will allow you to dive deeper and identify keywords that are easy to rank for.
Run a keyword research report to explore what people are currently searching for
Now that you have identified your topics, go ahead and do some keyword research. You are going to want to rank for terms that your target reader is likely searching for.
- Web design for roofers
- Affordable websites for small businesses
- Web design for online stores
You want to dig as deep as possible with your topics because broad keywords like “web design” are harder to rank for.
To rank for this keyword, you would have to own a very authoritative site. And if you are just starting out, targeting more specific long-tail keywords will help you rank.
For example, targeting “affordable web design for roofers” will cut down on competition and help your site rank higher.
Understand Intent and How It Affects Keyword Research
In the previous section, I mentioned that it is vital to look for keywords based on what users are likely to search for.
Google wants you to answer questions that have been asked by other users, which means your articles should focus on solving a problem.
So let’s say that during keyword research, you decided to target the keyword “website”. Targeting “website” will not capture user intent.
But what happens when you start typing “website” on Google?
Google will start suggesting what other users have searched for.
- website design
- website speed test
- website template
The above 3 phrases represent 3 different intents, so it is crucial to target the right keyword.
Conduct further keyword research for related terms
Now that you have understood user intent try and search for a specific keyword on Google.
Then look at the “related search terms” section and gather additional keywords.
You can incorporate those related search terms into your article to make it even more relevant.
The good thing? You can carry on going through related search terms over and over by searching for the related search terms of a related search term!
Make the most of keyword research tools
Keyword research tools can help you come up with additional keyword ideas for the topics you write about.
The most popular keyword research tools are SEMrush and Ahrefs.
These tools let you enter a keyword, then give you stats on how many people search for those keywords each month and the competition for ranking well in search engines for those terms.
You’ll also learn which other keywords are closely related to these terms.
Secrets to Finding and Choosing the Right Keywords for Your Website
After gathering a few keywords, it’s crucial to think about which ones make the most sense for your business:
Know what makes keywords good keywords to target
Keywords need to be targeted based on relevance, AKA user intent. So you must choose keywords that solve problems a user may have.
It is also essential that you find keywords with a good search volume so that your website can gain a certain amount of visitors. That is when keywords research tools come into play.
Finally, remember that having a new website will always put you in a disadvantaged position compared to websites that have been around for years.
Google tends to give priority to sources that are deemed to be authoritative.
Make sure you use both head terms and long-tail keywords
Keyword phrases are either short (head) or long-tail. Short keyword phrases might have only one or two words and are typically more generic.
In comparison, long-tail keywords are lengthy and usually contain three or more words.
You need to find the balance between head terms and long-tail by mixing your keywords.
Head terms, which generally get searched more regularly, are often (but not always) more competitive than long-tail keywords.
Let’s look at the example below:
- Chair –> head term
- Reclining chairs for small spaces –> long-tail
Of course, the head term will get more monthly searches, but it will be impossible to rank for that keyword or even just catch the right user intent for it.
However, using “reclining chairs for small spaces” will likely catch the right user intent and give you a better chance to rank higher on Google. Search volume for that long-tail phrase will be much lower.
Analyse your competition to see how they rank for those exact keywords
Analysing your competitor can really help you get an idea of what other keywords you could target.
However, bear in mind that using their exact keywords will not guarantee that you will outrank them.
As mentioned earlier, an SEO optimised authoritative website will always have an advantage over a brand new website.
However, it is still worth trying to match what your competitor does, even if you think your website currently does not stand a chance!
Incorporating a well-balanced mix of competitive and non-competitive phrases into your keyword list will provide you with some easy wins and allows you to progress towards more ambitious SEO goals.
But how do you find out which keywords your competitor is ranking for?
The easiest way is to use a tool such as Ahrefs, search for your competitor’s domain, and get a report of top keywords your competitor currently ranks for.
How to Write Content That Ranks
So now that you have a list of keywords to target, it is time to write some juicy content!
Understand the ideal word count
First of all, how many words should you write to have a better chance of outranking your competitor?
Well, it depends…
You would want to search for your main keyword and analyse the top 3 results as a rule of thumb. See how long their articles are and try to match or even double their word count.
However, nowadays, Google prioritises quality over quantity. So if you feel like the article you need to write can be nicely written with just 500 words, then go for it!
A well-written 500 words article will be better rewarded than a 2000 words long article that has a lot of fluff and is not SEO optimised.
Keyword optimised headers
Start by laying down the headers for your content. There should only be one H1 one per article/page. This should contain your primary keyword.
Then add a few H2s and even H3s using related search terms.
Having the headers in place will help you stay on track of what exactly you should include in your content.
Write body content by naturally including your keywords
It is now time to write body content!
When doing that, make sure you include all the keywords you found during your research.
Don’t try and stuff keywords within your content where it does not make sense to have that keyword. Everything should flow naturally.
This is yet another chance for you to sprinkle all those high competition keywords, low competition keywords, and related terms you previously found!
Inbound and Outbound links
As part of making our content relevant and authoritative, we want to build both some internal links and link out to authoritative websites.
For example, suppose you are writing about “web design”.
In that case, you can hyperlink the word “web design” and link to an authoritative piece of content that talks about what web design is.
You can, for example, link out to Wikipedia, or even better, link out to an authoritative website that is in the web development niche.
You can then do the same to link the article you are writing to another related article within your website.
Yay! You made it to the end of this chapter! By now, you should have a good understanding of how to do keyword research the right way.
It is important to update your keywords often- once every three months. Maintaining the presence you already have and growing in new areas are significant aspects of having successful SEO.
As your website grows and gains authority, you can aim to add more highly competitive keywords.
Just make sure you never replace an old article’s existing keywords, as that will cause your website to lose rankings for terms you were already ranking for.
I hope you found value in this chapter, and I will see you in the next one!
More lessons in this guide
Lesson Six: Local SEO & GMB
Lesson Seven: Tracking Results
Resources And Conclusion
About Scott Latham
For over 15 years, I have been building and implementing WordPress web design and SEO, having worked with some of the largest companies across a range of industries to see their business growth to the next level.
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