Do I need keywords (to write my blog)?
There are basically three types of bloggers out there:
hobby bloggers, who want to release their creative writing/ranting/journaling urges
commercial bloggers, who make money from affiliate links in their blog
business bloggers, who want to promote their products and services.
All have a common problem: how to get readers.
Whichever category of blog writer you fall into, once you’ve written your masterpiece and published it, your blog will sit there waiting to be discovered. Concerned that nobody will discover your blog, you do a bit of research and realise that you didn't consciously use any “keywords” (which you probably read about in another blog).
What are keywords?
“Keyword” is the term used to describe a common word that people might search for in Google to find information on a subject.
Confusingly, a keyword is not necessarily singular. In fact, the best use of a keyword in blogs is in the form of the “long tail keyword”, which is not just one really long word, but a collection of words that people naturally use when searching for stuff online.
Hubspot explains further: Understanding Keywords.
“How do I fix my dripping tap?”
Let’s say you are an enlightened, marketing-savvy plumber. You have identified a common problem that people have with dripping taps. You write a useful article on how to fix a dripping tap.
People with this annoying problem are likely to search for “how to fix a dripping tap”, not just “how to fix taps”.
So, if you work in the phrase “how to fix a dripping tap”, your article about that leaky problem will float nearer the top of search results and hopefully above the competition.
(By the way, if you are a plumber reading this, and wonder why on earth you would show people how to fix plumbing problems themselves, read this article on the essence of content marketing!
Keyword Research (or finding keywords) and how to use them.
Rachel Sprung at Hubspot writes a good, straightforward article about keyword research How to Do Keyword Research for SEO: A Beginner's Guide. Rachel uses the “bucket” method, which I think is rather good. She also mentions other tools to help with keyword research (like Google Adwords) so you can go as high-tech as you like.
Hang on, I hear you say, I already use words that actually describe the problem in my blog article. Of course you do. You don’t need to get too hung up on keywords. You don’t need keywords to write your blog. In fact, if you do focus only on keywords, your article could look forced and unnatural.
Your blog could even get pushed down the search engine results, because “keyword stuffing” (using too many keywords gratuitously just to get more readers) can be detected by Google, and Google will punish it!
What you need to do is write naturally.
Remember that your article needs to be read easily - test it for readability. SEOPressor explains more: How To Improve Content Readability And How That Will Affect Your SEO.
Paul Suntup writes a good guide here in his article: Beginner WordPress SEO (Part 1): How to Optimize Your Blog Posts.
After you've found some effective keywords, try using them in a Google search. The results will give you an idea of what you’re up against. Even if your long tail keywords are really specific, there will be thousands, if not millions of search results.
Don’t despair. This tells you that:
Many people (or businesses) have identified the same problem.
There is a lot of content on the subject and you’re missing a trick if you don’t produce your own.
You should not rely solely on people stumbling on your article by searching - you need to proactively distribute it.
So, take a couple of your long tail keywords, work one into your title, and use the other about a 3rd of the way down your blog article.
Using keyword is part of optimising for SEO, and I write about it here: How To SEO Your Blog (So People Can Find It)
People will read your article because it is a good read, and answers their problem, not because there are a lot of keywords knocking about.
If you have any questions or need some help with you copywriting, please do contact me.