Keyword research tips” is a fairly competitive keyword and in reality I shouldn’t be ranking for it. But if you’ve come across this blog post via google search, then I’ve done what I teach and have both researched my keywords and published relevant content accordingly!
I have been working on my blog for almost two years and it’s really only in the last 3 – 6 months that I’ve finally realized how important getting keyword research right is!
It’s not that keyword research is complicated. It’s really not.
It’s just that so many guides and SEO specialists forget they were once beginners and seem to leave out some serious fundamentals that are worth learning early on.
Or they focus on advanced tactics that leave you bewildered and confused, not knowing how to even get started.
Instead, what I want to share is the exact 6 step keyword research strategy I’m using right now to rank in the google search results and gain traffic to new blog posts.
This is perfect for beginner bloggers looking to learn the ropes and do keyword research the right way.
Here are my top 6 keyword research tips to help you get started with a bang!
1. Select Your Main Phrases and Keywords
Otherwise known as “seed phrases”, these are the overarching topics that you will be looking to cover through your blog.
Say for example you run a blog in the health and fitness niche. Your main keywords might be things like:
- Keto Recipes
- Home Based Gym Equipment
- Strength Training for Beginners
At this stage of the keyword research process, all we’re doing is defining the major categories of content or topics that your website will include.
Don’t worry about being too specific here.
You simply want to think about which keywords are relevant to your target audience.
For example, if you plan on targeting vegan health and fitness fanatics, some great seed keywords to include would be:
- Vegan bodybuilding
- Meat-free diet
- Plant-based protein
If your niche is very specific, then you may only come up with 4 or 5 keywords here.
These are merely categories.
Think about the top 2-5 categories you want your blog to cover & start there.
Next, we’re going to mine the internet to find dozens, and even hundreds, of awesome keyword ideas.
2. Generate Specific Keyword Ideas
It’s time to start breaking things down. Your first stop should be Google itself.
Head on over to the search tool and begin typing in your keywords. Google will immediately give you a gold mine of keyword ideas that people are searching for.
We instantly know that those looking for advice on becoming a vegan bodybuilder want to know about things like:
- Diet plans
- Meal preparation
And remember, these suggestions are based on thousands (if not millions) of previous Google searches.
So we know that these are the main things that people are looking to learn more information about when searching for vegan bodybuilding advice.
Next, we want to go ahead and use another free Google tool, the Keyword Planner.
Immediately, we are presented with new keyword ideas. Some of them don’t even include the words “vegan” or “bodybuilding”.
Why is that?
It’s because the tool recognizes that people searching for “vegan bodybuilding” are also interested in topics like “vegan muscle building” and “plant-based bodybuilders”.
It also picks up on two people, Patrik Baboumian and Barny Du Plessis, because these are two of the world’s most famous vegan bodybuilders.
Dang Google, you smart!
To get even more value out of this tool, I recommend searching for a string of your general keywords all together, like this:
As you will see, the Google Keyword Planner also presents you with some data on each of these search terms.
- Average monthly search volume – Such a broad range can make it hard to decide if a keyword is really worth targeting. But below I will show you how to get more accurate data.
- Competition – This is how competitive it is to bid on this keyword through Google AdWords. It doesn’t mean how hard it is to rank for this keyword organically.
- Top of page bid – These two numbers are the estimated CPC when bidding on these through Google AdWords. These can be useful in showing which keywords may offer good affiliate earning opportunities further down the road.
Next in our list of rockstar keyword research tips;
3. Analyze and Filter Your Keyword Results
In as little as 15 to 20 minutes, you can use the above two steps to generate dozens of great keyword phrases and opportunities for your blog.
However, how do you know which ones are best to target?
Which ones will be easiest to rank on the google search engine results pages?
Which ones will earn your blog money?
It’s time to better analyze and filter these keywords that you’ve dug up using a paid tool.
If you’re just starting out blogging, then you may be averse to spending money on keyword research tools at this stage. And I’m not gonna lie, some of these tools can seem quite pricey.
But trust me, they are worth it!
In particular, I recommend Ahrefs or Ubersuggest, two tools that I swear by and have used extensively for years. (Not affiliate links)
The sorts of statistics they offer you far outweigh the costs. They will quickly help you identify which keywords are worth targeting, and which ones to steer clear of for now.
For the below examples, I’m going to be using Ahrefs.
For a new blogger, SEO can seem a little daunting, offering an almost endless array of data that goes far beyond keyword research. But don’t worry, you don’t need to use everything.
Analyzing your potential keywords
Using the “Keywords Explorer” tool within Ahrefs, here’s what it tells me about a keyword I found in step 2.
Let’s break the data down …
This is perhaps the most useful statistic they give you.
A number between 1 and 100, which measures how hard it would be to rank for this given keyword, based purely on how many linking domains each article on page 1 has.
As a rule of thumb, I would recommend beginner bloggers target keywords with a difficulty score no higher than 20.
If your domain authority is zero, looking for opportunities below keyword difficulty of 10 would be even better.
Above this number and it can take years of link building to get your guide to rank. Instead, we want to focus on quicker wins which will help you to boost organic traffic in the short term.
Volume & CPC
Volume is the estimated search traffic this keyword receives each month from the country you have specified.
In the screenshot above, you’ll see that this is for traffic from America alone. Look at the far right of the screenshot for a more accurate idea of global search volume for that keyword.
It also gives you a trend graph showing how search traffic for that term fluctuates throughout the year.
CPC is Cost Per Click. The estimated cost of paying for that keyword in Google AdWords. Again, this can be a useful indicator of the value of a given keyword.
Once again when you’re just starting out, it’s absolutely fine to target keywords anywhere between 50 – 500 volume.
You can try higher volumes, but as a new site google needs to learn to trust you before it ranks you, so a good strategy would be to target long tail keywords (keyword phrases with more than 3 words), with a keyword difficulty below 10 and a volume of between 50 – 500.
That will help you to start getting ranked without needing a ton of backlinks.
As you scroll down the page further, you will find even more information relating to this keyword.
It gives you a great breakdown of the articles currently ranking in the top 10 positions.
Again, try not to be put off by the data. Here are the crucial things to look for:
DR (Domain Rating)
This is a number between 1 and 100 which measures how strong a website’s backlink profile is compared to every other website in the world.
Those with DR’s of 90 and above are huge authority sites, while those less than 10 are brand new blogs with very few links.
You’re looking for websites that are ranking in the top 10 for your chosen keyword with a DR below 50.
This means that Google is happy to rank websites here that don’t have the world’s strongest backlink profiles.
On the flip side, if you see that the only websites they rank have a DR of at least 50 and above, there is a much lower chance you will break into those google search rankings any time soon.
UR (URL ranking)
This is similar to DR, but is instead based solely on how many domains that specific URL has linking back to it.
As you can see, some websites have an extremely high DR, but a relatively low UR. Meaning, the website as a whole has many backlinks but that exact page has very few.
I recommend making sure at least one of these pages has a UR of below 20. If not, then it is again a signal that Google is only looking to rank authoritative pages for this keyword.
Key takeaways here:
Step 3 of this process can be a little bit time-consuming, but it really is worth it!
Using the guidance above, you can narrow down your rough list of keywords and find the specific keywords that are worth your time targeting.
Here’s a quick summary to follow …
- Plug your keywords into a research tool like Ahrefs and Ubersuggest to gain much more accurate data on whether a keyword is worth exploring.
- Only target long tail keywords that have a keyword difficulty of 20 or below (10 or below is even better) and a search volume between 50 – 500.
- Ensure page one of Google ranks at least 1 website with a DR below 50.
- As well as at least 1 website with a UR below 20.
- CPC is a great metric to be aware of. Those with higher values are typically more valuable to target and could have better revenue-generating potential for you.
4. Find Specific LSI keywords
Up till this point, the main keyword research tips discussed and the focus of your keyword research has been to find keywords that the entire blog post will focus around.
However, that is only half the battle.
To eventually rank this article, it is useful to sprinkle your blog post with other related keywords.
These are known as LSI keywords, short for Latent Semantic Indexing.
In human terms, it simply means keywords that search engines think closely correlate with the target keyword.
I recommend sourcing 15-20 of these before beginning to write your article, as they play a crucial role in how you structure your post and how well you weave them into the copy.
How to Find LSI keywords
Finding LSI keywords is quite straightforward. It involves using all the same tools already discussed in this guide.
Remember earlier when we used this to help generate ideas?
It’s a simple and useful way to find which words Google thinks most closely relate to your chosen focus keyword.
Say, for example, you settled on targeting the keyword “vegan bodybuilding diet”. Here’s what Google suggests …
If you include most of those words boxed in red, you will be giving Google content that they believe is most widely related to “vegan bodybuilding diet”.
Based solely on this data, you may want to add some extra sections to your content that you hadn’t even thought of before.
In this case, you’d consider including a downloadable PDF, as well as a diet for men and another for women.
Google Related Searches
Now go ahead and search for your initial keyword, and scroll to the bottom of the page for the “Related searches”.
These are an absolute goldmine of LSI keyword ideas. And once again, are based solely on searches related to your target keyword.
These are often extremely niche. For example, let’s take a look at the search volume for “3000 calorie vegan bodybuilding meal plan”:
With just 0-10 searches per month, it’s clearly not worth writing an entire post dedicated to this one keyword.
However, it would work well as an additional small section inside of a much larger post.
When including these relevant keywords in your content, you don’t necessarily have to include them exactly as they are shown here.
Many of them, like “vegan bodybuilding diet female” don’t make grammatical sense, and may come across as keyword-stuffed if pasted in as it appears.
A variation such as “female vegan bodybuilding diet”, or even “vegan bodybuilding diet for women” will be just as effective.
Finally, I recommend heading back to your chosen keyword tool, be it the Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, or even another one, and searching for your chosen keyword phrase.
Then scroll down and pick out a handful of keyword suggestions that you think will work well in your content.
There are more steps you can take beyond this, but honestly, using these simple 3 steps will drum up a wide enough pool of LSI keywords.
I recommend aiming for around 15 to 20.
When it comes to using them, simply sprinkle them sporadically throughout your post, only once or twice each.
Also, try to use them in the h2 and h3 headings of your post, as well as in the alt attributes when naming your images.
5. Identify Search Intent
By this part of the keyword research process, you should have identified:
- Which target keyword you will be focusing on
- Which LSI keywords you can use to supplement the article
But before you begin writing your post, I want to briefly touch on a crucial step.
Identifying search intent.
This is the process of understanding exactly what a reader is looking for when searching for your target keyword.
This is a huge part of your search engine optimization strategy.
Let’s take the example of “vegan bodybuilding diet”. What do people want to see when they search for this in Google?
You might imagine they will be looking for meal plans; or maybe inspiration; or perhaps the downsides of this diet. Let’s see what Google has to say …
What do we see?
Google is prioritizing articles that focus around the angle of “meal plans”. Meaning, when people search this keyword they want to be given meal plans to follow.
They don’t want to read:
- 10 Benefits of a Vegan bodybuilding diet
- Is a vegan bodybuilding diet right for me?
- The risks of following a vegan bodybuilding diet
Instead, after analyzing millions of searches over more than 2 decades, Google is showing people content that is oriented mostly around meal plans.
So when writing your content, be sure to go down a similar path.
Yes, your content needs to be 100% unique, but it also needs to be laid out in a format that Google is more inclined to rank.
If Google only ranks list posts for a given keyword, you will need to write a list post. If they only rank “how-to” style guides, then yours should be too.
The last two keyword research tips aren’t strictly keyword research but are just as important in your efforts to rank your content.
6. Write Better Content!
As this is a guide on keyword research tips for beginners, I don’t want to spend too much time talking about writing your blog posts.
But here is a crucial lesson you need to remember:
Unless your content is BETTER than what is already ranking in Google, you won’t stand a chance.
Sounds simple right?
But very few bloggers (even experienced ones) actually understand this point.
Yes, keyword research is extremely important and you should now have curated a list of awesome keywords to target.
But don’t think you can simply write 300 or 500 words on the topic and hope that it jumps to page one of Google.
Instead, you need to find a way to make it stand out from the masses. So, what do we mean by better content?
- Longer content – It’s been shown that longer content does better, ideally 2,000-3,000 words. Don’t waffle for the sake of it, just be sure to thoroughly cover whatever your topic is on.
- Unique angle – Find a way to approach your article that is unique and interesting for readers. This will help it to stand out and for people to click your article compared to someone else’s
- Plenty of multimedia – Google loves content that is rich and diverse. So include plenty of pictures, graphs, and even videos throughout your content, helping to better highlight the points you are making, and boosting the average time someone spends on that page.
Sure, there are more things to do, such as writing a great headline, getting backlinks, and gaining more social shares.
But by following these 3 content suggestions and the rest of the seo keyword research tips in this article, you’re putting your blog in the best possible position to succeed.
So to wrap up my rockstar keyword research tips, here’s the last tip for you;
7. Use Google Analytics & Google Search Console to Track and Analyze Your Results
There’s not a lot of point in putting in all this effort to find the right keywords if you’re not going to track your results.
Adding google analytics to your blog & adding your blog to google search console will take just a few minutes of your time.
The benefits from doing so are vast.
Analytics will tell you where your visitors are coming from, which pages they’re landing on the most, how long they stay, which pages they go to next, whether they found you through search, social media or direct, and loads more.
Google search console focuses on google search only.
It tells you how many impressions your posts get in the search results, your click through rate, the main keywords you’re being found for and loads more.
They’re both free so take just a few minutes to set them up and you’ll have a raft of data at your fingertips to use to improve your blog content & keyword research even further!
Setting up Google Analytics
Go to google.com/analytics and sign up for an analytics account.
Add your website details within the ‘property setup’ section and then click on ‘property settings’ section from within your analytics dashboard.
From here, you’ll find the UA number assigned to you by google.
Now install the GA Google Analytics plugin and add your UA code to the “GA Tracking ID’ section.
Watch the traffic start pouring in!!!
Connecting to Google Search Console
Head to Google Search Console
Add your website details.
Then follow one of the routes to verify your site ownership.
The easiest is probably to use your google analytics account, however if you have Yoast SEO installed, you can also add your search console verification details in there.
Please note if this step is a bit confusing and you’re not sure what to do, head to upwork.com and pay $20 for someone else to do it for you!
Start monitoring your hard earned search traffic!
Keyword Research Tips Summary
As a beginner blogger, if you’ve ever asked the question ‘Why Is Keyword Research Important?’, I’m hoping this article with my 6 keyword research tips has given you the answer!
To get ranked on the google search engines takes great content, time, patience and for more competitive keywords a boat load of backlinks.
It starts with great keyword research.
Don’t make the mistake I did and ignore keyword research. It’s the secret to getting your website off the starting blocks and into the big leagues.
As your website grows and your rankings & traffic increases, you’ll be able to target more competitive keywords with higher monthly volumes and over time will start to see your traffic multiply massively.
Keep at it, post regularly & don’t give up!