In this article, we are going to ask the question, “how to do keyword research for your blog?”
Keyword research is often about finding the keywords that you then will want to rank for on Google.
Put differently, keyword research is researching for keywords to write content about.
Now that you are on the path to a profitable blog, you have done some form of keyword research already.
Mind-mapping is an excellent way to do keyword research; we use Xmind; it is how Quick Blog Profit outlines its content based on qualitative keyword research – explained in #5.
Browsing search engine results and creating Excel spreadsheets based on your search engine results is also keyword research.
Answer The Public, that is a keyword research tool.
So, we can see that keyword research makes sense for content strategy.
Does keyword research have relevance to making money blogging, otherwise known as blog monetization?
Does keyword research make sense for email marketing, too?
We will look for all the environments where keyword research has value, in a moment.
What Is Keyword Research?
First, let us talk about what keyword research really does for you and your blog.
Keyword research is a noun, it is like a thing that exists, but it exists because of work you do, and the work is the verb “to keyword research.”
Mostly, it exists digitally, and in the cloud.
With keyword research, you are gaining insight – like blog analytics – into what keywords you should author articles for to get ranked on Google.
Some people in SEO know how to get people ranked on Google for specific keywords, without much content.
They are backlink-driven SEO.
More people in SEO know how to get people ranked on Google for specific keywords, while writing lots of interesting and excellent content.
They are content-driven SEO.
Keyword research for bloggers is often about finding content pieces that you can rank for, when written well.
The understanding being one or two top keywords per article.
So, keyword research gets you ranked on Google for the keywords that you find relevant to your blog, one blog post after another.
Where Does Keyword Research Have Relevance?
Keyword research has relevance for a number of aspects of online marketing.
Firstly, keyword research is excellent for content strategy.
Most people start blogs, and write content based on their interests, but the profitable bloggers all write content for which there is demand.
Supply and demand.
When there is demand, the market creates supply.
Demand means that people want it.
So, keyword research gives you opportunities to write content that people want to read.
How can you tell?
You use keyword research tools, such as the Keyword Magic Tool from Semrush.
You can also use Serpstat, one of our new favorite tools.
With keyword research tools, you can deduce the keywords that people are already searching for.
Then, you write content for keywords with sufficient demand – and sufficient ease of getting ranked on Google.
Second, keyword research is excellent for blog monetization – making money blogging.
Keyword research lets you find keywords where, if you wrote content for that keyword, you would be able to generate sales.
These sales could be for an online store, a drop-shipping store, or even for an affiliate link.
Doing keyword research lets you find keywords that, if you wrote a blog post, you could earn money from that blog post.
Third, keyword research is a smart strategy for email marketing.
How does this make sense?
Well, email marketing is about sending marketing emails to your email list.
With your email list, you can send content with higher demand.
If you have a keyword that you drafted an article for, with 5,000 searches a month, then you could get ranked for this keyword easily.
However, with your email list, you can draft articles for searches with 100,000 searches a month, or more.
Here, it is a bigger market – you could make bigger money – and because the audience is your email list, you can send them the content and they will get to read it.
That means, if you rank on the 4th page of Google for an article, you can still get readers to your article through email marketing.
Fourth, keyword research can help you make money with Pinterest.
How can keyword research help you make money with Pinterest?
Simply put, Pinterest is a search engine for images that link to blog content.
If you find that the article has sufficient demand, meaning there are readers that want to read the content, then you can create Pinterest pins that get traffic to blog posts that have value.
Fifth, keyword research can help you make money with affiliate marketing.
With affiliate marketing, you write blog posts that link to products, digital products, and software.
Using an affiliate link, you earn a commission on each sale.
With keyword research, you can find keywords that have commercial value for certain products.
Then, you author a good article, and then when people visit your article, they will buy from your affiliate link.
This could work for fitness, travel, or tech products.
Or anything else.
Sixth, keyword research can help you find success with public relations.
Public relations earn their money by, with respect to the industry, sending press releases.
However, the mistake most public relations pros make is that they send press releases about topics that do not get many searches.
If you do keyword research, and find a keyword with 25,000 searches a month, then when you write a press release for that keyword, you instantly get distribution to hundreds or thousands of media outlets.
We recommend using Newswire for press release distribution.
So, you can again write content for larger keywords with press releases, which can reach a regional, national, or international audience.
Seventh, and most important, keyword research helps you make money with SEO.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is about getting your articles ranked #1 on Google, so you can be successful with your profitable blog.
When you do the keyword research, you find articles to write that you can get on the front page of Google.
That earns you plenty of money through direct sales of products and services, or affiliate commissions, or sales of digital products such as eBooks and courses.
Start Doing Keyword Research: Choosing Your Seed Keywords
Now that you understand the strategy behind why you would do keyword research, it is time to get started!
The first thing you should do is think about your “seed keywords.”
Seed keywords are the topical keywords that you will use for your keyword research.
You can work with them one by one, or many per go.
There might also be more than one way to say the “seed keyword,” and each version of your seed keyword can lead to differently worded keywords.
Each version has value because different people think differently.
The seed keyword is the topic or subtopic that would lead to 20-100 articles being written about that topic.
So, for example, you could start with blog monetization.
Blog monetization is a great keyword to start with.
It is also known as “make money blogging,” which is a different seed keyword but would get you comparable results.
I would do both, rather than one or the other.
Going to the Keyword Magic Tool, by Semrush, you can find interesting keywords about blog monetization.
You can keep an eye on those keywords or access the complete list of keywords.
Be creative with your seed keywords.
For example, a sub-topic of blog monetization is “affiliate marketing.”
Another sub-topic of blog monetization is “creating online courses.”
When you produce sub-topics, as secondary seed keywords, you can produce dozens or hundreds of articles worth of content to write, that would get ranked on Google.
All of them would be about blog monetization in general.
So, seed keywords, combined with creative thinking about sub-topics, can lead to your 100 articles of content to write about the subject.
Hint: make sure that you practice internal linking, and that your blog posts in your cluster of 100 articles all link to each other. Some articles are more important, and the remainder of the articles will link to the more important articles, 5 or 10 to 1.
Using The Google Keyword Planner
We have been using the Google Keyword Planner for a long time, both for SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising reasons.
We have found that you can really plan your keyword research nicely with this free keyword research tool from Google.
Let us log in and check it out.
We find that “blog monetization” gets 100-1,000 monthly searches, but “make money blogging” gets 1,000-10,000 monthly searches.
Same concept, different traffic.
The thinking here is that when you check your keywords, you can unlock more web visitors – more traffic – to your blog, simply by titling your blog post differently.
We find that the Google Keyword Planner has plenty of usefulness and gives excellent content ideas that you can then write to get more visitors to your blog.
Doing Qualitative Keyword Research Based on Google Searches
This is where most people doing keyword research start out.
As you search, you find patterns in the search results.
You notice specific pieces of content that would be excellent on your blog.
In addition, you could check the People Also Ask section, and derive blog content based on those results.
All of this is valuable and counts as qualitative keyword research.
It is key that you get creative with your searches, rather than simply adding words to a seed keyword and calling it a long-tail keyword.
When you are good at this, you can find 30-40 articles worth of content where the keyword was already vetted by the search engines.
So, it counts.
The idea is that you then bring in the Keyword Magic Tool from Semrush, and then you can fill out your content from there using a quantitative keyword research tool such as Semrush.
You can also do this with Serpstat.
The Next Step: Analyzing Your Keywords
The next step to keyword research for your blog is analyzing your keywords.
The way to do this is with a keyword research tool, or SEO tool.
Say you are using Semrush.
With Semrush, you can look at indicators to determine the commercial value of a keyword.
Indicators such as Search Volume, Traffic Potential (an Ahrefs indicator), Keyword Difficulty, CPC, and Trends each allow you to gain insight into your potential keywords.
This insight allows you to determine if it makes sense to create content for these keywords.
Let us look at Search Volume.
This metric tells you how many times a person is searching for this keyword per month.
It’s an annual metric, meaning that if a keyword has 120,000 searches a year, and most of the searches are November – January, then the metric will show 10,000 keyword searches per month.
Search volume is valuable because you can learn about how much demand there is for the keyword this way.
With search volume, you’ll know if you should be writing a blog post, or eBook, or even an online course.
Next, let’s look at Traffic Potential.
Traffic potential is an Ahrefs statistic telling you how much traffic you can expect to earn to your blog from one keyword.
It is an excellent way of helping you decide about whether to write a blog post for that keyword.
Also, you can think about how long the article should be, as well as what type of content should be sent to that keyword.
Third, let us look at Keyword Difficulty.
Keyword Difficulty is an interesting search engine metric.
The metric of keyword difficulty helps you determine how easy or difficult it will be to rank your content for the keyword in question.
The higher the difficulty, the more valuable the keyword.
However, the higher the difficulty, the more work you will have to do to get your keyword ranked on Google, or even on YouTube.
The next metric I want to focus on is Cost-Per-Click (CPC).
With CPC, you can see how much an average person will pay on Google AdWords to get one visitor to their website who clicked on the search engine result.
This is an instructive metric.
I say this because in my experience, most keywords I have used get a CPC of around $1.
However, for high-volume or high-competition keywords, for example business-driving keywords, the CPC can rise considerably.
So, the understanding is that the more the keyword has a business value with respect to Google AdWords, the bigger the CPC.
In addition, you can expect there to be more competition for bigger CPC keywords.
Finally, the next metric I want to mention is Trends.
With Trends, you can see the performance of the keyword with respect to monthly searches and see if more people are searching per month as it goes.
If you notice an upward trend, then be sure to consider making content for this keyword.
However, if you notice a downward trend, then you might experience diminishing returns as the blog post gets ranked.
Looking Into Domain Authority, and Search Intent
Now, let us investigate Domain Authority and Search Intent.
Domain authority is a fascinating subject and is a useful metric for determining how valuable your website or blog is to the search engines.
The higher the domain authority score – from 1 to 100 – the better likelihood that the blog will rank on Google for its blog posts.
A lower score does not hurt your chances with the search engines, but it is a sign to build more backlinks and write more and better content.
Search intent is another beast entirely.
There are 4 types of searches, and these searches define your search intent:
- Navigational searches
- Informational searches
- Commercial searches
- Transactional searches
Navigational searches are searches where people are searching to go from A to B.
Or they want to read the news and go to New York Times.
Informational searches are searches where people want to find out some information.
They might be looking for a “how to” article.
People that reached this blog post from the searches engines did an informational search about “keyword research.”
Commercial searches are searches where people are researching a product or service to make a purchase soon.
They might be searching for “best email marketing companies,” or “best noise cancelling headphones.”
Transactional searches are searches where people want to buy something right now.
They might be looking to “buy a Ford Mach E Turbo” or “buy a new laptop.”
Now that you understand search intent, you can delve into your keywords, and write content with a healthy balance of keywords with respect to search intent.
Targeting Your Keywords
The next step in your keyword research for your blog is called “keyword targeting.”
The first thing you do is develop your parent keywords.
The understanding is that you want many keywords – sub-keywords – mentioned in your blog post.
So, you want to figure out if the secondary keywords that you find because of your search get placed in your big blog post, or rather in secondary articles.
It is an innovative idea to find 10-20 related keywords and place them in your article to achieve the biggest advantage.
Next, you want to investigate search intent.
A good place to start is to go to a Google search for your parent keyword.
Look at the search results and identify the search intent of many of the results.
If you find, for example, informational keywords as well as commercial keywords, then you can write a blog post that features both styles of keyword.
You will want to pay attention to the type of article, for example a blog post, product page, etc.
You will also want to pay attention to the format of the article.
You will choose from guides, listicles, reviews, comparison blog posts, and more.
It would do you a service to get creative with your blog titles, incorporating elements of art and culture into your blog title.
For example, if you are writing about sports, and specifically basketball, then you would write a headline like this:
How To Shoot 3-Pointers Like Stephen Curry.
Rather than, “the best way to shoot 3-pointers”.
So, in summary, you start with your parent keywords, identify sub-keywords that could fit in your article or be articles of their own, and then you investigate search intent to gain more detail and clarity.
SEO Tools for Keyword Research
There are a few SEO tools for keyword research for your blog that can make an enormous difference in your blog achievements.
First, we have the industry leader: Semrush.
Semrush is the most expensive tool, but also the most powerful.
Not only can you find, analyze, and target keywords, but you can also do a lot with backlinks.
Backlink building is a pillar of SEO success.
With Semrush, you can find broken URLs to gain new backlinks, and do a link gap analysis to find the differences in your backlink profile with respect to your competitors.
Their tool is by far the best SEO tool, which is why I mentioned Semrush first.
There is also Ahrefs, which is an excellent keyword research tool.
Ahrefs has impressive functionality and we have used it before with success.
Also, there is Moz, which is also an industry leader – though not as big as Semrush.
Moz is helpful for finding parent keywords, and sub-keywords.
Moz also shows you the monthly number of searches for most keywords, so you can accomplish a great deal using this tool.
Our best recommendation is for Semrush, which we believe deserves its place as industry leader.
We have taken great care to investigate the question, “how to do keyword research for your blog?”
We first talked about what keyword research is.
Next, we talked about where keyword research has relevance, including for content strategy, blog monetization, email marketing, Pinterest, affiliate marketing, public relations, and certainly for SEO.
We then talked about choosing seed keywords.
Then, we talked about using the free tool Google Keyword Planner.
We mentioned doing qualitative keyword research based on Google searches, identifying patterns, and creativity.
Then, we talked about analyzing keywords, thinking about search volume, traffic potential, keyword difficulty, cost-per-click (CPC) and trends.
Then we investigated domain authority and search intent.
We identified the 4 types of search intent – informational, navigational, commercial, and transactional.
Then, we started to focus on targeting keywords through keyword clusters and search intent.
We finally talked about SEO tools for keyword research.