ENTREPRENEURSHIP / MAR. 08, 2014
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How to Do Basic Keyword Research for Your Business Blog

So, you already know that you need to be blogging for your business website. Besides the joy you'll get from writing on a daily basis (it does a body good), you'll start to see organic SEO traffic show up from Google, Bing, and Yahoo. And people who end up at your virtual homestead via this route are much more likely to part with some of their hard-earned cash. Aggressively pushing your product or service doesn't work like it used to...if it ever really did.

A blog creates trust with your readership. It promotes you as an expert in your field. All good things. When people end up there because of a natural, organic search term, they want to be there. They weren't redirected from their intended destination. Your website is where they want to be, and that's half the battle.

But how do you get them there? Is it simply a matter of "If you write it, they will come"? Well, yes and no. The crucial step is proper keyword research. You need to target the words and phrases that people are actually searching for online.

The Proper Tool for the Job

The good news is that Google provides a simple but effective tool called the Keyword Planner. It will give you everything you need to know about a given word or phrase (although it will only provide stats related to Google searches, but really, that's all you need). With it, you can find out exactly how many people are searching for that word/phrase every month, for both your country of origin, and globally. Additionally, it will give you an indication about how hard it will be to rank for that term.

What Can You Do?

The planner allows you to search for keywords related to a seed word/phrase you enter, and also to check search volume for a list of keywords you already have. Both of these features are very helpful to anyone writing for a business blog in order to generate SEO traffic.

Once you've logged on using your Google password, you'll see your available options on the left-hand side.

Search for New Keyword Ideas

This feature will allow you to generate a list of keywords and phrases related to your product or industry (flowers, wedding cakes, babysitting, etc.). Enter it in the appropriate field, and select your location and language a bit further down. When you're ready, click "Get Ideas", and Google will provide you with a long list of related words/phrases, complete with average monthly local (whatever country you entered) searches.

The Planner lists "Ad Group", "Keywords", and "Avg. monthly searches". Click on an ad group that looks interesting, and the screen will change to a detailed list of specific keywords that you could target.

What does it mean to target a keyword?

Good question. Once you've found some words that are interesting and related to your business in some way, you'll want to zero in on a few with favourable stats. To target a keyword or phrase means that you create optimized content that anyone searching for that keyword will find online.

For the purposes of our exploration here, we're going to talk about PRIMARY and SECONDARY keywords, and each has its own requirements.

Primary Keywords

Primary keywords are going to appear on your home or landing page. It won't be as frequently updated or changed, if ever. A good primary (sometimes called "sticky" because it sticks to your page) keyword should have between 3000 and 20,000 local searches each month. Obviously, it should be directly related to your business, product, or service.

Once you've found one, you'll write a useful, detailed post that targets that word(s). It should appear in the page URL, the post title, the meta description, and the content itself. You'll want to NATURALLY use the word somewhere between 1-3% of your total word count. Any more than that, and you run the risk of keyword stuffing, and that usually results in a penalty from Google. If your primary keyword is "flower arranging", you'd obviously expect that term to be used several times in the main body of your text. Just don't overdo it.

Once written, anchor the article to your main page. Now it's time to focus on secondary keywords.

Secondary Keywords

A good blog should be updated several times per week, and secondary keywords provide the subject for these frequent posts.

Using the keyword planner, find keywords (related to your chosen primary keyword) with 100-1000 local monthly searches. These words have enough searches to make it worthwhile, but not so many that they will typically be aggressively targeted by others.

Write a 750-1000 (or more if you’re feeling ambitious) word post for each keyword, following all the same rules as your primary "sticky" post. Update your blog as frequently as you can, and when you run out of keywords to target, go back to the planner and generate some more.

Where does the traffic come from?

If you've done your homework correctly, you should be able to rank (appear early in the results when someone searches Google for that term) for your keywords. Even if you only get a small percentage of visitors from the people searching for each word or phrase, that can really add up when you're creating new posts, and targeting new secondary keywords with 100-1000 monthly searches, as often as you can. It gets the ball rolling, gets people to your site, and puts you on Google's radar. The more you write, the more you'll be recognized by Google, and the higher they’ll be willing to rank you for your targeted keywords.

What if I already have some keyword ideas?

If you have a list of keywords you want to target, you can still use the Planner to make sure they’re worth your effort.

Select "Get Search Volume for a List of Keywords", enter your ideas, and check that they meet the requirements as listed here (primary between 3000-20,000 monthly searches, secondary between 100-1000). If they do, you're good to go. If not, use the Planner to find some that do.

It's really not worth the time or effort to target words outside of those parameters.

Is It Really That Simple?

Yes. And no. There is a lot more you can do with the Keyword Planner. If you have the time, and if you’re so inclined, go through some of the tutorials provided by Google. Finding and using good keywords is only part of a successful ranking strategy, and the higher you rank (appearing closer to the top of the first page of search results), the more traffic you can expect to see. Building relationships and links with other authorities in your industry is also important, but can take a lot more time and know-how.

Finding appropriate keywords is easy. Using them is not all that difficult, either. And you’ll likely see increased traffic with only that one little adjustment. The return-on-investment is excellent, so if you do only one thing to help generate natural traffic to your business website, make it this one.  

 

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