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As a website owner I’m sure you’ve heard “content is king”, a mantra derived from Google’s Panda and Penguin updates. The most common practice to keep fresh content on your website is creating and maintaining a blog.
If you’re keeping a blog just to keep content on your site, you’re wasting your time. Blogging is a tool that should be focused on driving targeted traffic to your website that could potentially turn into sales/conversions.
This means that you have to create posts that use keywords for proper blog optimization when targeting your potential customers.
Writing articles that use keywords in the right way can be difficult, as it requires some SEO basic knowledge. I decide to put this post together in order to enlighten you on how to choose the right keywords as well as how to create blog posts that catch the attention of potential customers.
I have it broken down into 4 major steps:
1. Choosing A Topic
It is essential to determine who the customer is to be able to select the keywords correctly. I will use my business (Marketic) as an example for demonstration purposes.
Marketic is an SEO company that offers online marketing and design services to medium sized businesses. In order to target the right people, I know my clients need to posses the following:
- The client should have a monthly budget for marketing.
- The client should be looking to expand operations.
- The client should be weak in online marketing.
We can then use these qualifications as a means for identifying high-level criteria:
- The client should operate in a lucrative industry, i.e., a budget is necessary.
- The client should operate in a field with a lot of competition.
- The client should not have an in house marketing team.
Using these three basic criteria, I can determine some industries to target. For demonstration purposes, I am going to use landscaping companies as an example of a target client.
2. Keyword Selection
Now that the target client has been identified, the next step is to find out what keywords they are using in Google. Luckily, Google has a free tool which makes this easy.
- Follow this link https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner.
- Use your Google account to log in.
- Type in some related keywords in the first box. For our example, we will use ‘marketing landscaping’, ‘how to market a landscaping business’, and ‘landscape marketing’.
- Click on the Get Ideas button.
- Click on the Keyword Ideas tab.
The top box will display the information on the keywords you typed into the search bar. What we want to look at is the Average Monthly Searches. Do not be distracted by any other figures, since they are not related to SEO but to Google Adwords campaigns.
Beneath the top box, you will see a box that will display a long list of all related variations of the keyword, as well as related searches. Focus on that box and find relevant keywords that have a high monthly search volume.
Copy all of the keywords which are related to your target, choosing only those with a search volume of at least 30, and paste them on a spreadsheet. When you are done, copy each keyword in that spreadsheet and paste it into the Keyword Planner’s search field. This process has to be done over and over until all keyword options have been exhausted for effective blog optimization.
3. Analyze the Competition
By this time you should have a sizeable list of keywords with a monthly search volume of 30 or higher. Now, you could just pick the keyword that has the highest search volume and call it a day. However, we want to take it to the next level. We need to look for a keyword with a decent search volume but with little or no competition.
That means you will end up selecting a keyword with moderate to low monthly search volume. It may sound counterintuitive, but think about it this way: would you rather write a post that ranks organically in Google for a low searched term, or not rank for a high searched term? At the end of the day, 30 targeted hits a month are better than 0.
In order to check out the level of competition around each keyword go to www.ahrefs.com. This is a good tool for SEO because it lets us view a website’s backlinks.
If you’re new to SEO, backlinks play a critical role in the way search engines rank websites. For the purpose of this article, we will stick to the basics: the more backlinks a website has, the harder it will be to outrank it. Here’s what you need to do:
- Head back to your spreadsheet with the list of potential keywords.
- Then take each keyword and paste it into a Google search.
- Take the first website that ranks for that keyword and paste the URL into the Ahrefs search bar.
Your ONLY focus should be on the number of backlinks. If it is above 300, the chances are you won’t be able to outrank that website for that keyword (without linkbuilding). The trick here is to select the keyword that has the highest search volume but has the least number of competitors.
Go through each keyword in the spreadsheet and find the one that has the highest search volume and the least amount of competition. Then build your blog post around that keyword.
4. Create and Optimize your Post
Next, log in to your blog and create a new post. While you are in the process of creating it, be sure to put the main keyword in the post title as well as its URL structure. In most cases, the title of the post will not make any sense if you do not put in extra words.
For example, landscape marketing is your primary keyword. The title of your post should be Ten Ways to Improve your Landscape Marketing Efforts, the URL should look like this: www.marketic.co/10-ways-to-improve-your-landscape-marketing-efforts.
While writing the post, use the keyword two or three times. Google penalizes keyword stuffing so it is better to use the keyword less often.
For WordPress users, we highly recommend the Yoast SEO Plugin. Installing this tool will help you with the next part. In case you haven’t done so, scroll down to the bottom of your draft. Here, you will be able to come up with the SEO title as well as the meta-description.
A meta-description is a short blurb that is 156 characters long and it is usually displayed under the URL and title in the search engine results. This is your opportunity to make your post stand out and make a great call to action. Think of a creative and original blurb. Observe what your competitors are doing and do something else.
Once you’ve completed these 4 steps, you’re done with your blog optimization! It seems like a long process, but once you get used to using the tools it generally only takes an extra 10-15 minutes to complete and it gives your business the best chance of success when blogging.
About The Author – firstname.lastname@example.org. Ryan has over 10 years experience in digital marketing working with both start-ups and fortune 100 companies. Prior to owning Marketic, Ryan was a marketing consultant with Deloitte. Ryan holds a Master’s Degree is Business Administration and played Division 1 football for the College of the Holy Cross.