When using a blog to book strategy to build an audience for your work, one key skill you will need to learn is the appropriate use of keywords. Keywords and phrases are important because individuals usually find your blog as a result of entering them into a search engine. Search engines such as Google determine the suitability of a search result by analyzing the following components of your blog:
- Title of the blog
- Post titles
- Content within posts and on other pages of the blog
- Category labels
The more consistent you are in your use of keywords and phrases throughout your blog, the greater your likelihood to rank higher in search results for those terms over time. This will help jump-start your readership building strategy significantly.
Below are some guidelines and tools you can use to assist your keyword discovery process.
Keyword Research Process
Below are some basic steps that will help you identify keywords that are aligned with your topic area and have a sufficient level of popularity as search terms that you can use them to attract readers.
Create a starter list of terms that you think capture important aspects of your topic. These can be drawn from books, magazines, trade journals, related websites or just your own personal knowledge and experience base.
Enter these into a keyword research tool (see below) and note the number of searches made using these terms during the last 30 days. Depending on how general the term, you may see anything from no searches to millions. While it might be tempting to think about using terms with lots of searches, this can be a problem. It means you have lots of competition from other sites using those terms. Try to find terms that have an intermediate number of searches (say in the low to mid thousands). This will give your site more of an opportunity to appear with a higher ranking in the search results over time.
Most keyword research tools will provide alternative, but related keywords or phrases for you to consider. You may discover new ways that people are thinking about and trying to get information on your topic. If these look reasonable, add them to your list. You can include them in your posts later on. It’s all a matter of experimentation.
Try out searches on the blog search engines to see what kind of search results are produced. Discard search terms that generate too many off-topic results. You may think the term is appropriate, but if it doesn’t group you with similar sites, it won’t help you build readership.
The last step is to narrow down your list to a reasonable number, say 30-50 terms. For each term, make a list of the blogs that appear near the top of the search results.Once you’ve narrowed down the list of your search terms, you will want to make a list of these blogs filtered by authority. These are the blog neighbors you ultimately want to link to you.
Keyword Research Tools
There are many excellent tools to help you find good keywords and phrases to use in your blog. We have provided a list of several popular tools below. Be sure to periodically check websites of these tools as their features are being constantly updated.
The most popular paid keyword research services include:
- Keyword Discovery
- Digital Point keyword suggestion tool
- Google keyword research tool
- Niche Bot
If you are blogging on a tight budget, there are a number of free keyword research tools that you can use, including: