Most blogs rely on search engines for the bulk of their traffic. That means when users look for a specific keyword, you want your blog to be among the first results. For that to happen, you need to find out what people are looking for in the first place.
That’s what we call blog keyword research. It’s the process of finding the best possible keywords to target and using them to guide your content strategy. That way, you’ll always know there’s an interest in the articles you publish.
In this article, I’ll teach you how to access my favorite keyword research tool, Google Keyword Planner. Then we’ll walk through three tips to kick start your blog keyword research. Let’s dig in!
How to Get Access to Google Keyword Planner (For Free)
Google is by far the most popular search engine in the world. It’s only logical you use it to help determine what keywords people are looking for. To get access to that data, you can use Keyword Planner, which is part of the Google Ads platform:
To use Keyword Planner, you’ll need to sign up for a Google Ads account. Doing so is free, but you don’t get access to Keyword Planner until you try to launch an ad campaign, which requires a budget.
Once you sign up for Google Ads, you’ll see an option to bypass creating your first campaign right away. If you select that option, you’ll gain access to your Google Ads dashboard:
From here, you can find the Keyword Planner, by clicking on the tools button at the top right corner of the page:
Now is where things get fun. You can use Keyword Planner to help you find search term suggestions and analyze volume. To find new keywords, select the Discover new keywords option to the left:
Keyword Planner will ask you to enter one initial keyword or more, which it uses to help you find related queries. You can also choose which region and language the tool should focus on:
Once you hit the GET RESULTS button, you’ll get a list of related keywords. Now it’s time to learn how to pick the winners.
3 Tips for Blog Keyword Research Using Keyword Planner
At this stage, what I want you to do is think about a topic or two you want to write about for your blog. It doesn’t have to be anything specific – you just need to have a keyword in mind. When you do, run a search using Keyword Planner and let’s find you the best potential keywords.
1. Focus on Keywords with at Least 1,000 Searches per Month
When you run a search using Keyword Planner, the tool returns a list of related keywords, including average monthly searches.
Logic would dictate you want to focus on the keywords with the highest search volume. After all, the more interest there is, the better for your blog.
As a rule of thumb, you want to avoid any keywords with a volume of 1,000 searches per month or less. To put it simply, there’s very little value to focusing on keywords with no search volume.
Using Keyword Planner, you can order results in decreasing or increasing order of searches, so go ahead and do it. Anything above 1,000 has potential, so feel free to add those keywords to a list, which we’ll continue to fine-tune.
2. Avoid High-Competition Keywords
There are search terms that are so competitive, it’s nearly impossible for new blogs to rank for them. If you search for ‘best jeans’, for example, you’ll notice all the top results are big-name companies, such as Men’s Health, GQ, Glamour, and the like:
It is possible to compete with massive websites, but the amount of effort it requires often isn’t worth the return. Keyword Planner tells you explicitly if there’s competition for the keywords it shows you:
Your ideal keyword is one with a high search volume and low competition. That means the keyword is ripe for the taking and if you can write a blog post that’s better than what everyone else is doing, you can dominate the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
For new blogs, your time is much better off spent targeting low-competition keywords. Even if the search volume they get isn’t that great, it keeps adding up the more content you publish.
3. Avoid Awkward Keyword Combinations
It shouldn’t come as a surprise people look for some weird things online. In many cases, Keyword Planner will throw word combinations at you that don’t make any sense or that are way too convoluted.
Sometimes, it may be worth it to try and rank for ‘weird’ keywords if the traffic is good enough. However, there are few things in life as soul-sucking as trying to use awkward keywords within your blog posts and making them sound natural.
My recommendation is – if it makes your articles read awkwardly, look for better keyword alternatives. Your visitors can be very picky and if they think your content is poorly written, they might write you off and visit another website instead.
Using keywords properly is something you get the hang on with enough practice. As a rule of thumb, I almost never try to force keywords, but as long as you include them a few times within your content, subheadings, and intro, you should be good to go.
The right keywords used the right way can make all the difference. If you regularly publish content you know people are looking for and you do it better than your competitors, finding an audience is only a matter of time.
If you’re using Google Keyword Planner, here are three tips to help you find the best keywords for your blog:
- Focus on keywords with at least 1,000 searches per month.
- Avoid high-competition keywords.
- Avoid awkward keyword combinations.
Blog keyword research is important, but it’s only one aspect of launching a successful website. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our full guide to launching a WordPress blog!
Image credit: Pixabay.
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