How many of you go from draft to published post without ever thinking about keywords? C’mon, don’t be shy. I know you’re out there because I used to be one of you.
But then I learned I was leaving traffic on the table thanks to myopic thinking…
Keyword research isn’t something dirty. It doesn’t cheapen your writing by making it “targeted towards robots.”
Instead, it’s a necessary part of ensuring that your writing gets seen by as many people as possible.
And in this post, I’m gonna show you the why and the how of using an SEO keyword tool to get more traffic to your blog posts.
Why You Need an SEO Keyword Tool
When I first got the idea for this post, I was going to target something like “keyword research for blog posts”. That seems like a good idea, right?
The keyword intent of people searching for that phrase likely matches the topic of my post. The keyword is descriptive. It definitely seems like something a human would type. All good so far…
But there’s one problem, which I discovered because I actually decided to validate whether or not my assumptions were correct.
To perform that validation, I turned to my favorite keyword research tool, KWFinder. And much to my dismay, KWFinder dropped this unfortunate truth bomb on me:
20 searches a month?!??? You’ve gotta be kidding me!
With an average CTR of about 30% for the first position in Google, that means I can expect…~6 visits per month for my exact match keyword. And that’s if I can rank in the top position…which I probably can’t because of that scary looking difficulty score.
That’s why, after wondering why more people weren’t searching for such an important topic, I made the decision to target “SEO Keyword Tool”.
And while I’m definitely not expecting to rank in the top position, at least 1,600 searches per month is a much bigger potential pie.
You Have to Care About the Robots a Little
Look, I know that you probably want to just write for humans. And I’m with you. I think it’s a horrible idea to cram your posts with keywords just to please the search bots.
But you still need to toss the robots some scraps. And doing basic keyword research for your blog posts is the best way to do that.
All I’m saying is to plug in your main keyword to something like KWFinder and try to find the best phrase possible to use in your titles and headings. It’s not going to turn your blog posts into keyword-stuffed garbage, and it’s not going to take up a lot of time.
What it will do is give you a chance to get more traffic to your blog posts.
How to Conduct Keyword Research for a Blog Post
Keyword research for a blog post is easy, at least how I recommend it. Sure, great keyword definitely takes more time. But you can’t do great keyword research for every single blog post you write. What you do need to do is make sure you always grab the low hanging fruit.
Here’s my exact process:
Step 1: Brainstorm Potential Keywords
Don’t worry about validating your data yet. In this stage, just brainstorm some of the potential phrases that you think real people would search for to find your post. Jot down the top 3 or 4.
For this post, that list could look something like this:
- Keyword research blogging
- Keyword research blog posts
- Keyword research for bloggers
Step 2: Plug Those Assumptions into Your SEO Keyword Tool
Now’s where you get to marvel in awe at how other people think. You’re going to plug your keyword list into an SEO keyword tool to see if the phrases you brainstormed are actually what the world at large is searching for.
Previously, I used the AdWords Keyword Planner to do this. But then they made their results look like this:
10,000 to 100,000 searches? Really? Thanks Google, that’s helpful!
So now, I use my new love, KWFinder. It gives you the real search volume, not a range. The free version even lets you conduct up to three searches per day (after that, you’ll need to pay for a premium plan).
Just plug in your keywords and click the Analyze button:
Step 3: Pick an Alternative Keyword If Necessary
When you’re looking at KWFinder’s analysis, you need to check two things.
First, you want to make sure your phrase gets a decent volume. That’s this first column:
I generally like to shoot for keywords that get at least 750+ searches per month.
Next, you want to consider the difficulty of the keyword. That’s this other column:
If you’re using KWFinder, you normally want to find keywords with a green difficulty rating so you’re not smashing yourself against a brick SEO wall.
As you can see, the SEO keyword tool area is pretty competitive, so there weren’t any green terms to choose from.
Step 4: Use That Target Keyword in Your Blog Post Title
Once you’ve picked a keyword that both has a decent search volume and isn’t too difficult, you’re set to jet. Just make sure to use the keyword in your blog post title and ideally a subheading or two.
You’re still writing for humans, but now you’re maximizing your returns from Google, too!
Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer for hire with a background in SEO and affiliate marketing. He helps clients grow their web visibility by writing primarily about digital marketing, WordPress, and B2B topics.