How to choose keywords for blog posts

Contents

In Blogging for SEO: A beginner’s guide, I discuss how to choose topics for your blog posts. In this guide I’m going to show you how to choose keywords for blog posts.

When coming up with topics to blog about, you need to consider what your target audience is searching for online and answer their questions in helpful articles which relate to the services you offer. Your keyword or keyphrase will be based on that question, which is often also the title of your article.

Keyword Research

Keywords (or keyphrases) are the way we tell search engines what our article is all about. Google wants to show its users the most relevant and valuable results.

For example, imagine you run a financial consultancy, helping people manage their personal finances. A lot of your clients are self employed and have questions about pensions, so it makes sense to write an article about this.

If somebody searches ‘how to manage your pension if you’re self employed’, our article about pensions should have a keyphrase that matches their search term.

If the conditions are right (we’ll go into those conditions later) and we’ve optimised our article well, then it should come up high in the search results pages, because Google knows it’s relevant and valuable.

The first level of keyword research is simply doing exactly what I described above – think about the questions your target audience might have, in the same general area as the services you provide.

Then, use one of those questions as your keyphrase for each article.

If you want your research to be more effective, you need to think about search volume and competition.

Search volume

Search volume is the number of people who are using your chosen keyphrase as a search term.

Ideally you’d find a topic that lots of people are searching for, maximising the amount of traffic coming to that article. You’ve probably got a good idea of what your target audience is searching for to try to solve their problems, but it’s always good to get some insights to make sure you’re not wasting your time.

It’s hard to find out specific numbers without using keyword research tools (more on these below), but there is a way to find popular current searches.

One great way to find real, popular things that people are searching for right now, is to use Google itself.

Open up Google and type in your potential keyphrase, in this case we’ll stick with ‘How to manage your pension if you’re self employed’. Then, scroll down a little way down the first page of search results, until you get to a section called ‘People also ask’. You’ll see something like this:

An image showing the 'people often ask' section of a Google search results page. On it are various alternative searches such as 'Is a SIPP a good idea?', 'Where to invest pension lump sum?', and 'What are the disadvantages of a SIPP?' These search terms are a great way to find ideas of keywords for blog posts.

All these results are things that real people are currently searching for, so any of these would make great topics for a blog post, if they’re relevant to the service you provide.

Competition

The second factor to consider when doing keyword research is how competitive your keyword is. If there are a lot of articles all trying to rank for the same keyphrase as you, you have less chance of showing up on the first page of Google.

This is especially true if the current articles ranking for your chosen keywords appear on highly authoratitive, well established websites. You’re unlikely to get ahead of these in the search results.

So, to figure out how competitive your potential keyword is, let’s turn to Google again.

This time, we’ll choose a keyphrase based on that ‘People also ask’ section above. We’ll go with ‘What is the difference between a personal pension and a SIPP?’

Type it into Google and see what comes up.

The top article is explaining what a SIPP is. Then there are a few sponsored links (to be honest it’s best to ignore these, they’ve paid to be there and you can’t do anything about them) and then a few more articles on a personal pension vs a SIPP.

There are no titles which match the exact search term we just typed in, so if you carefully optimise your article for that keyphrase (check out my guide on blogging for SEO to learn how to do this), you might have a chance at ranking above some of these articles on the first page.

Keyword research tools

If you want a much clearer idea of search volume and competition for various keyphrases, paid keyword research tools are available. There are also some free tools, but they’re pretty limited, and they’ll usually give you either the search volume, or the competition score, but not both.

Depending on how serious you want to get with your blogging and keyword research, you might want to invest in one of the more heavy duty keyword research tools like Ahrefs or Semrush, however these can be pricey, and tend to give you a lot more information than you need if you’re just wondering how to choose keywords for blog posts.

My favourite is a more lightweight tool called Keysearch. It’s much more affordable than the big ones I mentioned above, but gives you everything you need to know in terms of search volume and competition score. It can also suggest other relevant search terms so you can compare a few at the same time, and decide on the best one for you.

Now you know how to choose keywords for blog posts, head back to my Blogging for SEO article to find out how to use keywords effectively in your blogs.

If you have questions about anything in this article, feel free to reach out for a chat with me!

If you’re wondering how to generate more leads and enquiries through your website and you’d like my support, I offer one-to-one website consultations to help you develop a strategy for improving your website.

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