how to do keyword research for search engine optimization

You spend hours writing the perfect post. You find the perfect pictures and write your best content, and yet, you don’t seem to be gaining much traction. So what went wrong?

This is something that I struggled with for a long time until I stumbled upon a post that talked about using keywords to help drive traffic to your website. So what did I learn? Well, in essence, keywords are something that that people search for on websites like Google in order to find what they are looking for. The beauty of the internet is that the more that you talk about a keyword, the easier you will be to find what you need. So if I want to show people how to do keyword research for search engine optimization, all I have to do is simply use that phrase.

Keywords are serious business
Keywords are serious business

So does this mean that I can stuff as many keywords in my posts as possible?

Not at all! We are on the verge of artificial intelligence and the algorithms that drive the content that you see are very good at sorting out which content is there to benefit readers and which content is there to benefit solely the website. Strategies like buying links, keyword stuffing not only don’t work, but also search engines will penalize you.

Keyword stuffing is time-consuming and ultimately won’t help readers understand what you are trying to accomplish. The basis of writing is to convey something to the writer. The best writing, the writing that turns visitors into regulars, is the kind of writing that solves some kind of pain or problem for a reader.

Think about it. Why do you search for something on Google? Maybe you want to find a store, maybe you want to look up reviews for a product or even to find a dentist because you are having tooth pain. All of these examples are of people that are looking to solve a problem. So before you even start writing or searching for keywords, identify a problem that your potential readers have that you can solve.

So what about the keywords?

So you know that keywords help readers find you, but how do you find the keywords? To do that you need a keyword tool. Keyword tools are programs and websites that show you what phrases are searched for and clicked on the most. Not only that but they also tell you what other websites are targetting the same keyword. This will help you narrow your keyword phrase from something like ‘search engine optimization’, which has tons of traffic and searches monthly, to ‘how to do keyword research for search engine optimization’, which has decent traffic and searches and also much less competition.

What keyword tool is the best?

There are lots of keyword tools out there that will help you find the information that you need but I personally like Jaaxy. Jaaxy is a tool that will allow you to find competitive keywords, but it will also help you find affiliate programs, see where you rank for your keywords and more.

Jaaxy has a free trial but the standard cost for small bloggers and new website owners is $49/month. There are other good tools too, like Longtail Pro. Which tool works the best for you depends on exactly what you want to accomplish and the rate at which you want to succeed.

Jaaxy keyword search page
Jaaxy keyword search page

How do I use keywords?

It’s very helpful to know what keywords suit your content the best, but how do you actually use them in your content? Personally, I don’t try to stuff every paragraph with my keywords and I don’t generally target more than one phrase per article. Here are some strategies that I use to incorporate my keywords.

  1. Use your keyword in your title. Because you want your content to be searchable, it’s important that potential readers see their search phrase as soon as possible in your content. The best way to accomplish this is to use the phrase right in the title of your article. So if someone searches for ‘waffle house in Dallas Texas’ and I’m a waffle house in Dallas, I might have a title like ‘Why GoodWaffles is the best waffle house in Dallas Texas’.
  2. Use your keyword somewhere in your first paragraph or two. You want to reinforce that this content is relevant to your readers. Using your keyword early on is going to help your readers know that your post has what they need. It’s also not a bad idea to use your keyword later on as well.
  3. Write quality content that is easy to read and is relevant to your reader. This one is a little bit more abstract. Think of a blog or even a YouTube channel that you really like.  You can tell that they are passionate about their niche and that they are trying to deliver content to you that helps you solve a problem. They aren’t trying to scam you or drive traffic to their sites to overload you with ads because this drives people away and delivers a bad experience.
  4. Target the same keywords in multiple posts. Another strategy is to target the same group of keywords in multiple posts. Staying consistent with your keywords, at least when your website is not well established, will ensure that you will be seen when people look for that phrase. This is an even more successful strategy if you include links in your posts to other posts on your website. This will bring traffic to other pages of yours as well.

These are some basic keyword strategies but if you do them consistently, your content will rise to the tops of the search results and you will notice your organic traffic taking off. Keep in mind that these strategies all require that you are writing consistently and that you are doing these with every post.

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