Doing effective keyword research is the first step to creating a successful blog, increasing traffic and conversions.
By doing keyword research, in fact, you will be able to intercept the topics and words that are used by users to find the topics you cover in your blog, so you can create content that is more in line with the needs of your audience.
If you want to create a blog and therefore want to get a high volume of readers, you must first learn how to perform a keyword search.
And this is exactly what we will talk about in this article. I will explain what exactly a keyword search is, the differences between the various keywords, how to find out the keywords for which your competitors are positioned, and all the best tools you will need for your keyword research.
What is keyword search?
Keyword research is an SEO technique through which the main search terms on a certain topic are searched and typed on the main search engines, such as Google.
Through keyword research, you can go to not only find new content for your blog, but also understand what are the best topics you should cover to attract new customers and increase your blog traffic.
Effective keyword research answers some crucial questions, such as:
- What are the most searched topics in your niche?
- How many people are looking for these keywords?
- What are the related topics (and therefore, the related keywords)?
- What are the keywords used by your competitors?
Through keyword research you will be able to create the best content for your blog, intercepting the questions your audience asks to provide them with the best answer.
Why is keyword research so important?
One of the skills of an SEO Copywriter is also SEO, or optimization for search engines.
SEO is a set of techniques and strategies that are used to position the contents of a blog or website in the highest positions in Google search results. In fact, the higher your content in the Google SERP, the greater the chance that users will visit your website.
The blog statistics speak for themselves: keyword research still remains the cornerstone of any blog editorial strategy.
- 92.04% of total organic traffic comes from Google
- 95% of users stop at Google’s first page results
- Almost 50% of all clicks in Google’s search results are made on the top 3 search results.
The keyword research is therefore essential to find the best keywords to develop in the blog and position them in the first Google search results, so as to obtain the most user clicks.
But how is keyword research done?
Keyword research: how to get started
To create an editorial plan where to group the topics you will develop on your blog, it is important first of all to find out what people in your niche are looking for when they search on Google about the topic you want to cover.
Before starting the actual keyword research, it is therefore important to start drawing up a list of “basic” topics for your blog. Don’t pay too much attention to the form in this step but let it be a kind of brainstorming.
These basic topics are those that will form the categories of the blog, the main topics to be developed. Focus specifically on the products or services you offer or intend to offer.
For example, if you have a yoga site, these macro-categories could be:
- Practice of yoga
- Yoga lifestyle
- Yoga course.
Once you’ve found the main categories, it’s time to delve into them by looking for the terms your audience uses to describe your products or services.
There are several ways you can do this research. The first is undoubtedly to search in blogs, forums (such as Quora), or Facebook groups which are the most frequently asked questions.
The second way is to use SEO tools that allow you to further deepen your searches, giving you results also in terms of the number of searches.
There are numerous tools you can use for this search, such as:
We will talk more about this in a moment.
Another very useful thing you can do to understand which are the best keywords you can develop is to check which keywords your competitors are ranking for.
You can do this simply with SEMRush (even with the free plan).
In fact, you just need to go to the side menu> Domain analysis> Organic search and you will be able to find out which are the main keywords for which the competitor sites are ranking and any other competitor blogs you can analyze.
Upon completion of this research, you will have numerous keywords and ideas that you can use. Now is the time to optimize our keyword list.
After doing the preliminary research, you probably used the SEO tools I recommended to also check the search volume of each keyword, i.e. the number of people who search for that keyword on Google.
The instinctive thing would be to choose the keywords with the highest search volume. In fact, more people searching means more clicks on our blog, right?
But no, that’s not exactly the case.
An important fact that we must look at, in fact, is the keyword difficulty, that is the difficulty that a keyword has in positioning itself, based on the competition.
Let’s go back to our yoga blog. The dry keyword “yoga” certainly has a very high search volume. But it also has very high competition and therefore a high keyword difficulty.
This means that you will hardly be able to position yourself in the first search results, overtaking giants such as Wikipedia, especially if your blog is still young.
The solution, therefore, is to focus on what are called longtail keywords.
These keywords are made up of 3-5 words and, as also reported by Hubspot, keywords of more than 4 words represent 50% of all searches that are done on Google.
Very often, in fact, people use conversational queries, ie keywords that represent a question, a bit as if users “conversed” with Google.
Users are in fact more likely to search for phrases such as “How can I …” rather than looking for the dry keyword.
These keywords, therefore, have lower search volumes but less competition and it is, therefore, easier to be able to position themselves in the first search results.
The best keywords to work on, especially at the beginning, are therefore those that have:
- high search volumes
- low competition
Features that you can control with the tools I mentioned earlier, such as Semrush.
Being able to intercept and exploit these keywords is not only one of the best ways to be able to rank well on Google in a short time but it is also easier to convert visitors and monetize your blog since you are giving them exactly what they are looking for.
There are a number of tools you can use to find long-string keywords, such as Semrush, and Answer the Public.
With Answer the Public, for example, you just need to enter a word or two to get all the linked longtail keywords.
How to analyze your competitor’s keywords
As we have mentioned, analyzing the keywords of competitors is an excellent strategy to know not only which keywords they are positioning for but also to get useful insights on what interests your audience.
Your aim must be to be able to create content that bypasses all the competitors that are positioned in the first search results.
There are mainly 3 ways to analyze competitors:
- Analyze the keywords and the best-positioned articles
- Get a list of keyword gaps
- Analyze the top search results on Google.
All of this can be done through SemRush.
Semrush is a paid SEO tool but you can use it with limited functions even for free. As for these features, you can use the free version without any problems.
Then create an account on SEMRush and follow the next steps to analyze your competitors.
1. Analyze the keywords and the best-positioned articles
Once you have created a free account on Semrush, we can proceed to see which are the best-positioned articles and keywords of your competitors.
Enter the main dashboard and in the left menu select Domain Analysis> Organic Search.
Now enter the URL of your first competitor and start the search.
This research gives you a lot of useful insights, such as:
- Traffic data
- The main organic keywords
- The main changes in the position of keywords in the Google SERP
- The features of the SERP
- The main pages that have positioned themselves
- The main subdomains
- The main organic competitors
- The competitive positioning map.
This is a great starting point for doing effective keyword research.
2. Get a list of keyword gaps
Another interesting feature of Semrush that you can use for your keyword research is the Keyword Gap tool, which allows you to compare your blog with those of your competition, in order to find out which keywords they have covered on your site or in a specific article but which are not yet present on your blog or in your article.
This way you can check their content and create better articles so that you can outperform your competitors in the Google SERP.
To use this tool, log into your Semrush dashboard and in the left menu choose Domain Analysis> Keyword Gap.
Then enter your URL, those of your competitors and launch the search.
3. Analyze the top search results on Google
Articles need to be relevant to both your readers and Google. And another way to find out which topics Google prefers is to ask Google.
Type the keyword in the Google search bar and analyze the top 10 search results. These are your main competitors for that keyword and if they are positioned on the first page of Google, it means that Google liked that content.
Then open all the first 10 results, try to analyze the contents, and understand what structure and what format you should give to your article. Are they long or short articles? What are they focused on? Do they contain infographics, videos, images?
This will give you valuable information on what you should focus on most.
Generally, however, the more you search for keywords, the more you will understand how to respond to the search intent of your audience. But what exactly is meant by research intent? Let’s see it together.
Understanding research intent
Even more important than keyword research is understanding your audience’s search intent.
The more your articles answer the questions people ask on the web, the more your content will be appreciated by your audience.
Think about when you do a Google search. Surely you don’t always do it for the same reason. Sometimes, in fact, you are looking for information on how to plant basil, or you are looking for reviews on a product to buy or you are looking for an online shop because you buy something specific.
This ultimate goal is called search intent.
There are 3 main research aims:
- Navigational search is when the user already knows the name of the product or brand he is looking for. An example of a navigational search is for example “IKEA furniture” or “Facebook”.
- Informational searches, i.e. those that are done to search for information that we do not know and are usually performed to find things like tutorials, tips, advice, solutions. An example is “how to create a blog” or “how to make pizza at home”. This is usually the main search intent a blog responds to.
- Transactional searches, ie those aimed at a specific action, usually a purchase, such as “MacBook Pro sale” or “house for rent in San Diego”.
Once again, Semrush comes to our aid in this case as well, automating the results and offering an overview of the main results for a given keyword.
To do this, go back to your Semrush dashboard, and in the left menu choose Keyword Analysis> Keyword Magic Tool and enter the keyword you want to analyze.
From here you can get a general overview of the related keywords and the questions that are asked on a given topic.
Google boxes can also help you with this search, for example by checking what people are asking for and related searches.
What keywords does your blog already rank for?
If you already have a blog, you can use some tools to understand which keywords your blog is already ranked for and with which keywords your readers are finding your website.
To do this, you can use SEO tools such as Semrush or SEOZoom or through the Google Search Console.
On the Search Console, you just need to go to Performance and in the box below you can see:
- all the keywords through which people found your blog
- the relative impressions (i.e. how many have viewed the link to your blog)
- how many actually clicked on the link
- the ratio between impressions and clicks (CTR, i.e. click to rate)
- the SERP position of that keyword.
Keyword research is the basis of a strategically structured editorial plan and, consequently, is the basis of every successful blog.
Through keyword research, you can ensure that you always create top-notch content, which answers your audience’s questions, in order to increase traffic and conversions on your website.
One last tip before saying goodbye.
When doing keyword research, don’t stop at the numbers. Percentages, search volumes, traffic …
Remember that when you write, you don’t do it for numbers – you do it for people.
So try to understand your audience ever more deeply, listen to their questions, doubts, and fears and try to offer concrete answers and solutions.
Find new topics that people want to read but other blogs don’t offer. Keyword research is just a stepping stone.
Stay safe and stay tuned!