How To Do Keyword Research for Your Business Blog
Writing great content for your company’s business blog is crucial to support inbound marketing. But if you haven’t done your keyword research before writing, you’re probably missing big opportunities in search traffic.
There are lots of tools and tactics for keyword research, but it’s important to understand exactly what keyword research is in the first place. A keyword is a phrase or word that people search for to learn about, research, compare, or buy something.
It helps you attract the right kind of visitor to your site by answering the questions or challenges they’re searching for. For example, you may have found this post by searching for “how to do keyword research.”
Why is keyword research so important?
As content marketers, we do keyword research for two basic reasons. First, we want to know what people are really searching for on Google. Second, we want to know if your business blog has a realistic chance of competing for certain terms.
By assessing the popularity and competition of keyword searches, you can focus your content around terms your target audience is searching for, but also on terms for which you have a realistic chance of being found.
Keywords can describe your company, your company’s product/service, or a problem that your customers face on a daily basis. Crafting a helpful blog post targeted around a specific keyword isn’t just suggested in today’s blogging sphere. It’s imperative.
There are dozens of keyword research tools available, but we’ve found that our favorites are Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner, Moz’s Keyword Explorer tool, and HubSpot’s Keyword Research tool. All three allow the user to input hundreds of different keywords, analyze top contenders, and uncover keyword opportunities that are both accurate and feasible in terms of ranking in the SERPs.
After you choose a service (we suggest you compare more than just these three), we recommend that you follow some best practices.
How to do keyword research: Best practices
Think from your customers’ point of view
It’s important to understand your buyer personas in thinking about what your target prospects search for. What do they need to answer? What problems do they have that your business helps solve? These questions (and more) can all be easily answered when you consider your buyer personas. Not sure what a buyer persona is? Develop your buyer personas with our step-by-step guide. Once you’ve figured out your buyer personas and which keyword buckets to target, it’s time to start the research.
Make sure you can rank for the keyword
Not all keywords are as easy to rank for as others. For example, short-tail keywords like “inbound marketing,” “financial advisors,” or “taxi company” will all be very difficult to rank for, so be mindful of the competitiveness of the keyword.
Even if the keyword seems crucial to your business, it may be a lost cause when it comes to ranking for it. While it would be fantastic to rank for one of these, the competition is simply too high. All hope is not lost, though. Long-tail keywords are here to save the day.
Utilize long-tail keywords
Short-tail keywords (like the ones described above) can be almost impossible to rank for. But focusing on more specific long-tail keywords (for example: “inbound marketing in NH” “New England financial advisors,” or “cleanest Boston taxi company”) can benefit you in a number of ways.
Not only is there less competition for a long-tail keyword, but the people searching for long-tail keywords will be much more qualified. Why you may ask? Typically, people who search for long-tail keywords are further along in the buying process.
Someone searching for “cleanest Boston taxi company” is likely looking to call one in the near future. If you rank near the top, the odds of a conversion with that customer are much higher. Don’t think for a second that people aren’t searching with long-tail keywords, either. A recent Moz study shows that more than 70% of searches are with long-tail keywords.
Keyword placement and distribution
Now that you’ve got some hand-selected keywords, it’s time to write your blog post around them. Placing the keyword throughout the post will help in terms of ranking, but don’t overdo it. Too much keyword stuffing will make Google cranky and may result in a penalty. To avoid that, you should include your keywords in the following places:
- Page/Blog Title
- In the URL
- The file name and alt-text for the photo (if you post one)
- The body of the blog (including some slight variation, at least a few times)
- Anchor text to other relevant internal site pages
- Meta description (320-character summary of your content page visible in SERPS)
After you’ve crafted some remarkable content and placed your targeted keywords, your post will be ready to work not only as valuable content for your prospects, but also as a magnet for those prospects when they Google something. Don’t expect a transformation overnight, though. It can take time for the traffic, leads, and conversions to reflect your efforts. If it was quick and easy, everyone would be doing it!
Proper keyword research will help you focus your content on answering questions, solving problems, and providing value every time you post. When you blog with all of this in mind, you won’t just help your business, you’ll help others as well.