Keywords are words or phrases that people use to search in search engines. If I type Heritage Apples into Google, Heritage Apples are my keywords for the search. And Google will come back with about 5.5 million search results for my query. If Heritage Apples was my niche, I would have a lot of competition!
Let’s look at keywords and what they do
As bloggers, we use keywords to make it easier for our target audience to find our blog post and the help that we are offering. If a person’s search uses the same keywords that are in your post, your site will show up in their search results. This is a key part of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
If someone were to type “heritage apples” into Google they could be looking for all kinds of information such as how to grow heritage apples, or what type of heritage apples taste good in a pie or even what a heritage apple looks like because they stumbled on to a strange tree in the abandoned lot next door.
Some keywords are highly competitive while others get very little interest. If you use a keyword tool like Jaaxy (which I recommend highly) you might start with heritage apples as your main keyword. The word “apples” is far to broad to be useful in a blog post, so to narrow it down we add the word heritage.
Related Post: Jaaxy The Ultimate Free Keyword SEO Tool
You can then add a couple of other words to create what is known as a long-tail keyword, which narrows down the search results even further.
An example of a long tailed keyword is “heritage apple varieties uk”. If you have a website based in the United Kingdom, and it specializes in information about heritage apples, you would likely be on page one of Google for that keyword.
Ideally, when searching for keywords it is a good idea to write your blog post, and then start looking for the potential keywords. Take these keywords and try to fit them into your post wherever it looks right naturally and makes sense.As well, you will want the keyword(s) in the title of the post and the heading.
It usually works out that if you just write naturally, your post will have plenty of relevant keywords that you can rank for.
Ideally, we want visitors who are interested in what we are talking about. And Google wants to direct interested visitors to sites where they will get the information that they are searching for. With some well written content, these two things will come together.
How to find keywords
There are plenty of keyword tools on the internet; some are free and some are paid and some are free to try before you pay, like Jaaxy.
Your cheapest keyword tool is GOOGLE because it is free, always. It may be helpful for you to keep all of your keyword research in a spreadsheet, including traffic and competition for that word or words. The only issue with not using a keyword tool is that Google will not give you the traffic or competition numbers.
Type a keyword or words into a Google search bar; Google will automatically try to predict what you are searching for. This prediction can yield some nice directions for your theme to go in. For example, when I type in Heritage Apples and then put a space after “apples”, Google will try to guess what I will type next. Some of the Googles guesses that I got are: “Ontario”, and “nz” as well as “of Ireland”. Look at that! You now have 3 new subjects for posts: Ontario, New Zealand and Ireland.
There is also the “Alphabet Soup” technique. Type in your keyword, a space, and then the letter “a”, checking to see what Google is guessing for your search. Still using the heritage apple them, for “a”, I got: “Australia” and “a new sensation”. Not sure what a new sensation is (turns out it is a book), but if your theme is heritage apples, this could mean a whole new area to search. Keep doing this but substituting the “a” for the rest of the letters of the alphabet.
You can get some excellent ideas on subjects for your theme this way. And don’t forget to just type in your keyword or long tail keyword and see what the search results are. If you can tell which sites are affiliates, you may not have much competition, but you will want to know if you are competing against authority sites (the big players).
How to use keywords effectively
Regardless of whether your keyword is one word or a phrase, it is important not to overdo it when placing them into your posts. It should always look natural, so just keep your main keyword or theme in mind while you write.
You want a keyword in the title of your post, as well as the first paragraph, and the conclusion. This first paragraph is an excellent place to put a long tail keyword. Try to keep most of the long tail keyword intact in a sentence if you can. If your long tail keyword is not proper English, you will have to adapt it, choosing the most key part. Then go ahead and write the rest of your post.
Keywords can also be placed into the tags for your photos/media, but this only works of the media is relevant to the post.
It is also fine to add keywords to your meta description. In some website themes, you can edit the meta description yourself and write anything meaningful to help visitors decide to choose your site. Do not use the keyword more than once in your description, but instead use synonyms of the main keyword to get more mileage from it.
About keyword tools
Many keyword tools are try-before-you-buy. Be aware when shopping for a keyword tool, of any limits on the number of keywords that you can search monthly. Look for keywords that have high search volume and low competition.
Jaaxy has a 30-keyword search free trial, and then two different tiers depending on what your needs are. I have used Jaaxy, and it is pretty impressive and has a lot of useful statistics, like traffic, and competition for your keyword. It also has a “Keyword Quality Indicator” which lets you know about the competition using stop light colors; red, yellow and green for great!
Wordstream has a 10 keyword search trial and then you can search once a day after that.
There is also Wordtracker, which has a 7 day trial and is $27/ month after.
Google has an awesome keyword tool, but sadly they want you to purchase Google Ads in order to use it.
Open two windows on your computer and try out the same keyword or long tail keyword in both of your free tools and see if you get the same results. Ultimately, you are looking for keywords with traffic above 100 and a QSR/Competition of under 100.
Traffic above 100 means that people are actively visiting sites using these keywords. Competition means the relative number of sites using this keyword in its title or description.
Related Post: Writing effective meta descriptions
You want traffic, but not too much that you are competing with everyone. And you want some competition which shows that there are people searching for those keywords. Ideally, you want a nice mix of evergreen content, well placed keywords, and correct SEO practices like inter-linking your blog posts together.
This ensures that, over time, you will steadily gain traffic and the inter-linking and other SEO practices will keep them on your site longer, which ensures that Google will recognize your quality content and move you further up the ranks!
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Ah, the circle of blogging life.
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