The topic of SEO and keywords drives me nuts.
Why does it have to be sooooo complicated and mysterious?
Ask 20 pimply 20-something “SEO experts” how to use keywords in your blog and you’ll get…
Here’s the bottom line:
The most important way to increase ROI from your blog is to publish and promote relevant content consistently.
In this post, I will try to demystify how keywords work, where to find them, and how to use them.
And I’ll keep it simple.
If you want something more confusing, ask a pimply 20-something.
Let’s start with the question you might be embarrassed to ask…
SEO explained (simply)
“SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.” Moz.com
Every minute billions of people are searching online. They are looking for addresses, books to gift, barbecues for burgers and some are looking for you.
You’ve done it, right?
You’ve needed something and went to Google to find it. Sometimes you type a group of words, sometimes it’s a proper phrase:
- “Leadership expert online courses”
- “Divorce lawyer in Seattle”
- “Manitoba financial planner retirement”
- “Dog trainer doodle puppy”
Your job is to show up in that search.
At the same time, search engines use bots to search the web for content that can be indexed.
Don’t be – the concept is actually pretty simple: search engines attempt to catalogue and rank all the content on the web and match it with searches.
You use keywords to help the search engines rank your content and deliver it to searchers.
We’re going to stop there.
Beyond this simple explanation, it gets crazily complicated (because Google doesn’t share exactly how this works, everyone is guessing).
Remember the goal is to publish and promote relevant content consistently.
Let’s get started.
Start with a system
The biggest mistake with keyword research is to reinvent your approach every time you sit down to write.
You won’t produce anything.
You need a simple system you’re happy to repeat every time you write.
That’s why step #1 is to build a system.
Our 5-part system at BlogWorks is:
- Find your topic
- Pick keyword phases
- Write a great post
- Bonus SEO points
- Promote your post
After you read the rest of this article you might want to create your own system. But, let’s start with understanding how this simple system can help you get great content quickly.
1. Solve a problem
Before you mess around with keywords, you need a topic.
My blog topics come from my Content Calendar – a list of topics generated from my core service. I explain how to create a simple Content Calendar in this article.
When I started writing blogs I treated it like a journal—random topics that I found interesting enough to spend 2 hours writing about.
Big mistake.When I started writing blogs I treated it like a journal—random topics that I found interesting enough to spend 2 hours writing about. Click To Tweet
Your clients aren’t searching for random topics that popped into your head while brushing your teeth!
They are looking for solutions.
Here’s the rule to follow: every blog topic should solve a specific problem your customers have.
For example, you might want to explain how to save for retirement, but what your customer is searching for is how to save for retirement on a fixed income.
You might want to write about how to have a happy marriage, but what your customer is searching for is how to survive a renovation as a couple.
Here are some great examples of blog topics that tackled a specific problem and attracted lots of traffic.
- 50 Smart Ways to Segment Your Email List Like a Pro (OptinMonster)
- 21 Incorrectly Used Words That Make You Look Dumb (BlogWorks – that’s us!)
- Where To Find Free Images Online (ProBlogger)
- The Best Ways to Do Market Research for Your Business Plan (Entrepreneur.com)
- 10 Productivity Strategies Backed By Science (Inc.com)
Now that you have your topics it’s time for….keywords (don’t worry I’ll keep it simple.)
2. Google has your keyword
For some reason, SEO experts love to recommend 12 tools to do the job of keyword research. I don’t have time for that.
So let’s keep it simple.
You have a dynamite topic, now you need one keyword phrase to use in your article, ideally your headline and the SEO settings for that blog article (I’ll get to that).
But, here’s the most important thing: don’t make it frick’n complicated or you’ll never get it done.
Yes, there are loads of amazing tools that will bedazzle you with numbers, graphs, charts, and helpful tips. Some are free, some expensive, all are more than you need.
Confession: at BlogWorks we do use a keyword research tool. But, we’re in the business of delivering lots of brilliant blog posts every week and a research tool saves us time.
The fastest, most accurate, and creative way to get keywords for your articles is to let Google suggest them.The fastest, most accurate, and creative way to get keywords for your articles is to let Google suggest them. Click To Tweet
Here’s how it works:
Let’s say the topic for your next blog is relationships. And because you paid close attention to my rant about finding a narrow topic (above) you have gone with: how to survive a renovation as a couple.
You think it’s fun, you’ve been through it yourself (drywall an all), and lots of couples tackle renovations together.
Okay, so far so good. Now we need a killer phrase that people are actually searching for.
Head over to your favourite search engine (I’m using Chrome) and start typing in your topic. But, don’t type all of it—let Google suggest the rest of the phrase.
In this case, I started with “survive a renovation” and got this:
Already I’m seeing the phrase “survive a renovation project”
Let’s scroll to the bottom of the page and look at more suggestions.
Here I see the phrase “overwhelmed by house renovation”. It still feels too general, so I next use that as the search term and Google suggests articles about “renovation stress”
I like this the best – I don’t see a lot of competition and I can include the aspect of couples doing renovations together. My headline could be:
- How to avoid renovation stress as a couple
- ## tips on how to avoid renovation stress as a couple
- How to prevent renovation stress from wrecking your marriage
Now that we have our keyword it’s time to grab a mug of java and start writing.
3. Follow a template
The secret to a great post is to follow a template.
I know you are a creative genius and don’t want to be constrained, but I have a secret for you:
Most writers use a template—it makes their writing better and saves you a ton of time.
In this article, I walk you through my 7-step writing template that will save you a ton of time (and make your article better.). You can download the template for free here.
For this article, I want to introduce you to the most important part of this template: the opening.
- OPENING – The first job of the opening is to stop the reader from clicking away. Start with a story, a bold claim, a question, or a statistic or fact.
- PROBLEM – Make the problem you are solving obvious. Remember, you need to hook the reader with a problem you know they have.
- PERSONAL – You’ve grabbed the reader’s attention, now you need to establish why you are writing this article. What’s your personal experience with this problem? Or, how have you helped a client overcome this issue?
- PROMISE – Before you get to the solution, let your reader know what to expect. For example, in this article, I told you: “In this post I will try to demystify how keywords work, where to find them and how to use them.”
4. Bonus SEO points
You’ve made it this far – now for some techy stuff.
Search engines index more than just blog article content. If you want to earn bonus SEO points (come on, who doesn’t), these are easy tactics that can get you big results.
At BlogWorks we not only write amazing blog articles that attract readers we can publish your article as well – including doing everything listed in this section.
Think of the meta description as a small advertisement of your web page or blog post. It’s what the reader sees when she searches for a result.
Try to start your meta description with a keyword or something to entice the reader to click that result. Google truncates your description at 160 characters, so get to the point!
Your Title Tag (otherwise known as the SEO title) is the clickable title of the search result and is normally truncated at 60 characters.
If your site is built on WordPress you will edit your meta description and title tag in a plug-in like Yoast.
This is the heading at the top of your article. While it can be the same as your Title Tag, it can be different. Remember, the Title Tag is used to draw in readers from related Google searches, your headline is not.
To learn more about writing great headlines, read this post. For extra bonus points, use our Amazing Headline Analyzer to test your headline before you publish it.
Imagine a book without chapters or subheadings within the chapters – pretty awful, right? Same with your blog post:
Your subheadings break up the reading and draw the reader down to through the article.
If they are done well.
The trick with subheadings is to try to include the keywords you chose for the article and to attract the reader to read more. Here are the subheadings I used in this article:
- SEO explained (simply)
- Start with a system
- 1. Solve a problem
- 2. Google has your keyword
- 3. Follow a template
- 4. Bonus SEO points
- 5. Promote your post
One of the easiest ways to optimize your blog post for SEO is to add internal links (you may have noticed lots in this article!). This is what the SEO experts at Moz.com say about internal linking “On an individual page, search engines need to see content in order to list pages in their massive keyword-based indices.”
I add these links after I’ve finished writing the post and my goal is to add 2-3 relevant links to pages on my site.
5. Promote your post
Finally, we get to promoting your post. Just like your system for writing, you should have a system for promoting your post.
As a busy person you want to avoid thinking about your promotions strategy—you are better off doing less, but doing it consistently.
A simple routine you can start with is:
- Link from other, related articles on your site to the new article.
- Email your list. This article explains how to get started building a list.
- Schedule updates to go to social media.
- Wait a week and then publish your article to LinkedIn (publish as an article, not a post).
- Wait a week and then publish your article to Medium.com
Obviously, there are many ways to promote your blog posts, including creating video, repeat posting on social media, cross-linking, seeking backlinks, and more.
This article is for the busy person (not the pimply 20-something living in his parent’s basement).
Enjoyed this post? Here are 3 more articles all about getting blog traffic to your site:
21 clever ways to attract more readers and boost blog traffic this year
How to increase blog traffic by almost 30% in only 90 days – a case study
How to overcome writer’s block with this 7-step template
This article was originally published in 2017, and has been updated in 2020 just for you!
Thank you for sharing your insight about putting keywords in a blog. An additional information that I have learned from this one is that never overuse your keyword in your blog because it may lead to cliche and will end up losing the chance to be on top.
Good point – overusing keywords can also make your blog sound unnatural. In the end, we need our readers to enjoy the article.
Such a nice information provided by you related to the topic of using keywords in your blog posts. As i am also a blogger and i have a website where i write an article related to the topic called Best SEO Tools 2019 which help you to understand the best available SEO tools 2019. So simply have a look.
I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your website. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues?
A small number of my blog readers have complained about my site not operating correctly in Explorer but
looks great in Chrome. Do you have any advice to help
fix this issue?
Hey there, You’ve done an excellent job. I’ll certainly digg it and
individually recommend to my twitter followers.
I’m confident they’ll be benefited
out of this website.
Your Article is Quit good you can add some of the tools name for researching a keyworg like Uber suggest .this tool is free of cost and we can see how many keywords rank in Search Engine Result.
Your thinking of keyword stuffing is good use so much keywords in your blog it would be worst effect on Google.
For every blogger keep these stuffs in mind that your keyword density is not more.
Thanks for sharing this great information. The need for good SEO Strategy cannot be overemphasized. However, like you rightly pointed out, keywords are to be used with caution in order not to sound unnatural.
Will it be okay if you include Social Sharing icons on your posts so that one can easily click and share these wonderful posts on social platforms. Thank you.
Thanks for sharing. I will try to implement these methods on my blog. Thanks for sharing. Keep updating us.
hey can you suggest some exact proportion of much keywords we can add in a 1000 -1500 words of content so that i gives an idea for us how is good enough so it doesn’t look like spamming
plz do reply if you read
Good article and excellent way to articulate, keep it up
Keyword research is the most important part of digital marketing. Thanks for giving this wonderful article which helps people. Your writing skills are awesome.
It’s a great article. Now the digital marketing sector growing big. It’s very useful for people who are just getting started with digital marketing. Thanks for sharing this.
The facts have been discussed are really important, keep up the good work
As we wrap up another year of web design it’s important to slow down and take a look at what trends will stick around. Keep it up.
thanks Hugh Culver for sharing the article about usage of keywords in article.I will try to implement these methods on my blog.
I have read this blog and i must say there is some very good information given in this blog. Thanks for that.
Your post touches upon a lot of great points, but ultimately I think the most important thing is that as writers we should always write for the reader and never for the search engines. If you write in a natural and authoritative way, the keywords and keyphrases will follow along by default, and you’ll be optimizing your content without overthinking it.
Keyword research is the most important part of digital marketing. Thanks for giving this wonderful article which helps people. keep up the good work. Your answer is really nice.
This is SO helpful, I’m going to re-read this and implement your process. Thank you very much for such thoughtful content!
You should be writing about a single topic. One of the most important factors to ranking in Google include covering every sub-topic within your main topic. Don’t be too random in your topics or it will hurt your SEO.
I have read this blog and i think that this is written very well. Thanks for providing a good information.
New things always bring new ideas. This is something like that.
this is very helpful for begineers
Hey, Thank you so much for sharing this amzing information about SEO and it’s very amazing and so much useful for me. Keep it up. Once again thanks:)
Great piece, as a marketing analyst and wannabe blogger this post is exactly what I needed to see.
Thanks – much appreciated!
Thank you for making this so easy to understand. I also love the cheat sheet. Not gonna lie – I’m gonna steak it and use it! Great work ya’ll.
Thanks Randy – great to hear!