by guest blogger Matt Beswick
For any blogger, keyword research is essential. For pretty much everyone, it's also the dullest and most annoying part of creating content. I'm hoping to change that. As an SEO based in Milton Keynes, keyword analysis has become one of the most important parts of my day job. By the end of the post I want you to be excited about including some research into your monthly content writing workflow.
Sound impossible? Well, maybe, but it's worth a try!
As a committed pet blogger you'll most likely be writing in your spare time. Whether you're a vet that likes to post about their work, or a dedicated dog owner who loves nothing better than to show off their experiences caring for man's best friend. Slowly but surely your blog grows, picking up new readers through the wonders of social networking and promoting your content through communities like BlogPaws. But how do you reach new faces? How do you increase the chances of finding a new audience through the search engines?
Choosing a topic.
Figure 1: Google's Keyword Tool
On the days where you're not sure what to write about, keyword research is a great way to find inspiration. So, fire up Google's Keyword Tool and do a brain dump of things that you're interested in writing about - enter one phrase per line (ideally two words or more) in the box at the top. If you want to, use the location options to choose the geographical area you'd like to target and then hit the search button.
At a technical level you're now seeing 'broad match' terms and the amount of searches / competition that word or phrase has on Google. This is useful if you want to get an idea of generic searches, but as bloggers we will probably want to be more specific. So, to get some more accurate data, check the tick box on the left hand side for 'phrase match' and wait for the new details to appear.
This now includes information on the amount of people searching for the phrase, not just the individual words, that you've entered as part of their search. For example, if you'd included 'dog products' you might see terms like "best dog products 2011", "dog products online", "dog products", and "dog products reviews".
Each of these will have a 'Competition' value (Low, Medium or High) and a monthly search count. What you're looking for here are terms with low competition and a search count that's as high as possible. You'll generally find that terms associated with buying things have lots of competition while those that are more editorial have less people challenging for them. This is because the numbers actually come from Google's paid search stats, not organic rankings, but the correlation between the two is usually very high.
Knowledge is Power
Now you're able to think of as many topics as you like and find out whether people are actually looking for that information. From 'cute pictures of puppies' to 'dog health advice', 'dog walks in Seattle', and 'how to pick a dog name'. You'll generally find that a longer phrase will have fewer searches, but that's no bad thing - chances are that there'll be less people writing about your topic of choice.
A great way to use this is to tweak your post titles based on this research. It might be that 'Walking your dog in Seattle' was the title you were originally going to use but 'Dog walking Seattle' is actually the phrase that most people are using. You really will be surprised as to the kind of search terms that people use - they're not always logical and differ hugely depending on location.
This really is something that you can use as a brain dump. All of the ideas you've had that you're just sure will get you some new readers can easily be checked to find out if it's the kind of things people are searching for. In doing this you'll have a far better idea as to whether your post will be found. It shouldn't be the only thing you take into account - after all, you're looking to cater to your readers, but mixing a well researched post in here and there certainly won't do you any harm.