Keyword research – everything you need to know

If you ask a group of established bloggers what they wish they’d know at the start of their journey, you can almost guarantee that somebody will say: “how to do keyword research”. This is important if you want to rank on Google, but it doesn’t have to be complicated and you don’t have to become an expert. You just need to know the essentials.

What’s a ‘keyword’?

A keyword is essentially a word that somebody types into search engine, looking for a page result. Search terms that have between three and five words are often referred to as ‘long-tail keywords’.

What’s ‘keyword research’?

If you decide to do some keyword research, then you’ll be looking for search terms that you could potentially rank for. You will then try to construct your article to rank for it.

Do I need to use a specific keyword research tool?

There are lots of keyword tools available, but they tend to be exceptionally expensive. So unless you work for a reasonable sized company, you might not be able to justify it.

The only tool that I’ve found which is affordable and do the job is KeySearch. If you want your blog to rank well in Google, then you should consider investing in a subscription. I pay annually for a ‘starter’ subscription which gives me 200 searches each day. This costs $169 (around £123), but there are often 30% off codes around, which brings the price down to $118.30 (£86). That works out at just over £7 per month; this is a no brainer in my eyes!

If you’d like to try KeySearch out before buying, then you can get ten free searches each day.

The value of long-tail keywords

As you can imagine, individual keywords are exceptionally hard to rank for. Terms like “car” receive millions of searches each month, but it would be almost impossible to rank for. Not that you’d particularly want to. You see, the thing with a general keyword is that people could be searching for it for a number of reasons. If somebody types in “car”, then maybe they want to buy a new vehicle? Maybe they’re after a toy car for their nephew? Perhaps they’d like to rent a car in Portugal. It is pretty much impossible to determine the intent behind that search.

However, it’s much clearer what type of information somebody that types: “buy yellow Ford Escort Hull” is looking for. And if you’re a Ford reseller in Hull, then you’d probably be keen to rank for that phrase. That term will, of course, have much fewer searches that “car”, but the competition will be lower, so it will be easier to rank for. The results will also be much more valuable to that second-hand car dealership in Hull.

As a blogger, you should be trying to get relevant traffic to your site, which is why it make sense to target long-tail keywords.

If these technical terms are sending your head into a spin, check out my jargon buster.

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