Most people that maintain a website or blog, don’t actively engage in keyword research. Keyword research is basically SEO geekspeak for checking out what sort of volume of traffic is attached to a particular phrase, or keyword. If you’ve been blogging for any length of time, you’ll come across an article or two that you’ve written that generates more traffic from Google than others- not because it has been particularly popular (or gained many links), but rather that with relatively little effort, you’ve made it to the top of the search pile for a keyword or phrase that is a lucrative (albeit accidental) source of traffic. This is where keyword research can help.
Finding those lucrative traffic sources makes your life as a blogger or webmaster easier – as it means more traffic, for less effort. For that reason it is well worth investigating at least before you hit that big shiny publish button.
With the majority of all traffic for your site coming from the search engines (70% in most cases), its well worth having a look to see if there is low hanging fruit that you can swipe for a boost in traffic. I’ve always been schooled to work smarter not harder, and engaging in keyword research combined with the basics of SEO can make the difference between your hard worked blog article getting 5 or 50 visitors a day.
So how do you go about that then?
Its all a matter of using a combination of SEO tools, and applying the results alongside traditional on page SEO techniques. Unfortunately keyword prediction tools are notoriously inaccurate in their data, but still provide good insight into potential traffic.
Personally – I don’t actually trust any one individual tool 100%. It is preferable to take the estimated traffic numbers from the seo tools I’ve mentioned over here and look for patterns that correlate. Whilst the predicted traffic numbers aren’t 100% perfect the do a relatively good job of pointing you in the direction of what’s more or less popular. If you can’t find any results for long tail searches using the tools mentioned- then improvise by making them slightly shorter tailed. I’ve demonstrated how to make these shorter in my example below.
Sample keyword research
Lets say for example that I’m trying to decide on a good headline for this article. The tough thing with generating truly great article headlines is that they need to be creative, audience grabbing and yet still cater towards an SEO strategy. No point publishing an article around a topic that no one cares about or searches for. Title tags (that bit at the top of your browser bar) – play a big role in SEO, so for me personally, I leave the final working title of an article to last, and generate maybe ten ideas for that article. The ones which win are generally a combination of creativity + seo friendliness – here’s how I check how friendly they potentially are within the SERP’s.
It’s worth noting that this principle doesn’t matter as much if your post is a massive piece of linkbait – ignore everything but the creative tagline – your traffic will come as a result of how and where you promote it, and SEO generally will be secondary to the process.
Article Title Ideas
I’ve generated a couple of article title ideas below for this post, and highlighted the potential phrases within each of these that I think is likely to become a search phrase within the search engines. I’m now going to take a look at the keyword research tools, and find out which of them is likely to generate the highest volume of traffic.
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Keyword research for dummies
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What every blogger should know about keyword research tools
What bloggers need to know about keyword research for SEO
Having a look at a few basic free tools (Adwords keyword tool, Aaron Wall’s Tools and Digital Point’s Keyword tool) – straight away I was able to get a feel for what is most likely to get traffic – and we have a winner. “Keyword research tools” is a particularly high powered phrase in the search engines, with a huge search prediction (800+ searches per day) – and as such, I’ve integrated it into this article title, as well as giving it a catchy feel. Whilst this methodology doesn’t guarantee that I’ll be instantly rank for the keyword in question – it does get you off on the right footer for future traffic.
I could of course have extended this title out further again – “What every blogger should know about keyword research tools for SEO” is also likely to pick up traffic – however in this case, for the sake of my visitors – I’ve opted to keep it short and sweet. Notice that with this ammendment, I’d be ranking for two phrase “keyword research tools” AND “research tools for SEO”. This doubles your chances of picking up traffic.
Always remember that regardless of any search engine ranking tactic, that your visitors should come first and foremost, and you are still writing for a human audience.