Driving organic traffic to your website is an integral part of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. And while there are varying strategies for increasing traffic, every marketer knows that keywords, keyword strategy, and SEO blog writing are vital pieces. What many marketers are missing, however, are the basic building blocks for choosing the right keywords and using them correctly in content to drive the most qualified traffic to their website.
When it comes to keywords and SEO blog writing, you shouldn’t make random guesses or choose keywords based on hunches. While catchy words or phrases may sound good, they often don’t make good keywords. And keywords matter.
Keywords are the foundation for SEO blog writing. When executed correctly, you’ll attract the right prospects, at the right time, and further nurture them down the sales funnel. Data shows that 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine, so it’s essential to get this right. For this reason alone, nailing down a solid keyword research strategy and approach to SEO is crucial to any organization’s digital marketing success.
It’s important to build a solid foundation when it comes to SEO, keywords, and content. There are a lot of buzz terms associated with SEO blog writing and keywords. Let’s explore some of the fundamentals.
6 Basic Keyword and SEO-Related Terms
Digital marketers and SEO strategists often use a lot of industry jargon and acronyms. It’s important to have a basic understanding of some of these terms as they relate to content writing.
- Seed keywords are usually short-tail keywords that contain only one or two words. They tend to have high search volume and are difficult to compete for with SEO. These types of keywords are often the general topic a post is about. For example, ‘digital marketing agency’.
- Keyword variations, as the name implies, are variations of the main or seed keyword. For example, ‘marketing companies’.
- Long-tail keywords are usually several words long and have a lower search volume but are less competitive to rank for. An example of a long tail keyword is, ‘digital marketing companies with PPC’.
- LSI keywords, or latent semantic indexing keywords, are keywords that share the same or similar meaning as your main keyword. For example, ‘online marketing company’.
- Anchor text is your main keyword in the body content that is used to link to related, internal content. Anchor text is usually used within the first paragraph of the SEO blog.
- Metadata is an important part of SEO that many companies overlook. Metadata provides more information to Google bots about what that specific page is about. The more relevant information you give to Google bots in an organized structure the better Google likes (and hopefully ranks) those pages. Metadata falls into three categories; descriptive, structural, and administrative. Keywords used properly in descriptive metadata can help to boost SEO rankings.
Ranking on page one of Google is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website. With traffic comes conversions and increased revenue. SEO and SEO blog writing using strategically selected keywords are key ways to make this happen. Most searchers don’t make it past page one on Google. If your content is landing there, it will get overlooked.
Today, SEO and getting to page one is even harder than ever. Not only is the competition fierce, but Featured snippets are also resulting in zero clicks. In fact, 61.5% of all desktop searches result in zero clicks. This means that SEO blog writing and using the right keywords in the right places is more important than ever.
What is SEO and Why Does it Matter?
Search engine optimization or SEO is the process of driving traffic to your website through organic search results. In other words, SEO, when carried out correctly, helps people searching for products and services like yours to find you. Through the strategic use of keywords and other SEO techniques, Google finds your content and ranks it. The ultimate goal is to have your content appear at the top of page one on Google, Bing, Yahoo, YouTube, and other search engines.
According to research, only 0.78% of Google searchers click on page two of Google search results. If you want to drive traffic, you have to get your content on page one. The right keyword research strategy and SEO blog writing can help you get there. However, there’s more that goes into getting ranked well by Google than just choosing the right keywords. Ranking on Google is based on algorithms that look at more than 210 different factors. Some of these include:
- Authority of your page
- Keyword usage
- Backlinks to your page
- Relevance of page
- Quality of content
As mentioned there are hundreds of factors that go into ranking on page one of Google, these are just a few. Luckily, Google makes it pretty clear what the algorithms include for ranking pages. Taking a closer look at their guidelines should help you gain a clearer understanding of what it takes to rank. SEO is one of the most efficient and effective ways to gain brand visibility, nurture customer relationships, and gain the trust of your prospects and customers–all key to driving sales and revenue.
Creating the right content, with the right keywords that answers your prospects’ questions and provides them with valuable information is one of the best ways to begin driving organic traffic.
But why does SEO matter? And do blog posts help SEO?
SEO and SEO blog writing not only drive traffic to your website and increase your brand visibility but it also can help with the following:
- Creating a better user experience
- Building trust with the target audience
- Gaining a deeper understanding of your target audience
- Providing quantifiable data
- Ensuring more traffic in zero-click results
SEO also helps to make the experience of interacting with your product or services more fulfilling for your prospects. When you have a deeper understanding of your target audience and their needs you can provide them with more meaningful content personalized to them. This will help to move them through the buyer’s journey. And, if you’re using the right keywords and creating the best content, you’ll be building trust along the way.
SEO blog writing is far more than just picking a few keywords and writing some content. As mentioned, there should be a strategy behind it. One of the main building blocks of SEO is keywords and using keywords in content. It’s important to get this step right. If no one can find your content, it won’t matter how great your brand and product are, or how informative your content is. This is where keywords can make or break your strategy.
All Keywords Aren’t Created the Same
When it comes to keywords, not all are the same. A keyword, by definition, is ‘a word or concept of great significance’ and ‘a word that acts as a key to a cipher or code.’ With SEO and keywords, both are true. In SEO blog writing, keywords are words of great significance because most times, the main or seed keyword is the overall topic of the blog.
In addition, Google uses these keywords that users search for as ‘code’ words to guide them to the right content. Based on one or a few words (keywords), Google searches and analyzes thousands of pages to find the ones that best match the searcher’s needs based on their query. These are two reasons choosing the right keywords is an important part of SEO blog writing, there are many more.
There are fundamentals when it comes to choosing a keyword. Remember, you’ll want to have an overall strategy so you are selecting keywords for short and long-term goals.
You’ll want to choose keywords that relate to your product or service. You can start with broad keywords but you’ll want to whittle them down to keywords that are a bit more specific. Broad or seed keywords usually have high search volume and stiff competition which makes them hard to rank for in most cases. While there are some that you may decide to start writing for, you should have a comprehensive strategy so that while you’re working on gaining harder-to-win keywords, you have some quick wins too. This is especially true if you’re just starting out.
What defines the ‘right keyword’ depends on a number of factors. Some of these include:
- Search volume
- Keyword difficulty
- Alignment with strategic goals
- Competitor analysis
As mentioned there are keywords that have a high search volume. These may seem like the right keywords to use, however, not only are these usually very hard to compete for, but they also will drive a lot of unqualified traffic to your website. And while driving traffic is good, driving the right traffic is better.
There are free tools like Ahrefs’ Keyword Generator, Semrush, and Moz’s Keyword Explorer that will show you some of this information. You’ll want to find keywords with good search volume and a lower keyword difficulty that align with your product and strategic goals. What’s considered a good search volume is industry-specific. For one industry, just 150 monthly searches is a sweet spot, for others, 3,500 monthly searches are more on par. Be sure to find out what this is for your industry.
Keyword-driven Content: How to Compete
Once you’ve selected the keywords you want to include in your content, it’s time to dig deeper. You can’t assume that if you just write some content about the topic it’ll get ranked well by Google. It’s important to take a look at the competitive landscape. Simply type your chosen keywords into Google and see what the results reveal. Take a look at the top results and get a feel for the content Google’s rewarding. Look for:
- Length of the post
- Date of publication
- Flow, formatting, details in the post
- Backlinks to and from post
- Gaps in topic information
When you analyze some of these factors, it can help guide your SEO blog writing so you create something your audience wants to read that gives them valuable information. You can also get a glimpse into what your content will need to look like in order to compete. One important thing to note here is that if the top posts are from extremely well-known organizations and they have a high number of backlinks, it can be very hard to rank. Don’t try to outrank an SEO giant like Wikipedia, consider using a long-tail keyword or keyword variation instead.
Look for gaps in content when you’re reviewing search results. If there are posts that just skim the surface of the topic, consider taking a different perspective or doing a deep dive into the topic. On the other hand, if the top-ranking content is all over 3,000 words, be sure to write content of that length too. You can also look for date relevance. If the top posts are from several years ago, there may be an opportunity to provide some updated information on the topic.
Remember when it comes to SEO blog writing, keep your target audience in mind at all times and create relevant, useful content that answers their questions and helps them to see a path to solve their problems as they relate to your product or service. Creating the best content and optimal user experience should lead the way in all content creation.
It’s also important to remember that SEO blog writing and keyword strategy aren’t ‘set it and forget it’ approaches. Both need to have a strategy behind them, be monitored, and adjusted as time goes on. There will be some keywords that you want to continue to nurture and others that you’ll want to forget. Be sure to keep tabs on your SEO and measure the success of your strategy regularly.
What you decide to keep, swap out, and discard will depend on:
- Search volume-driven
- Conversions driven
- Changes in strategic goals
- Changes in competitor landscape
For example, if your SEO blog writing is focused on a group of keywords and keyword variations that are driving traffic but there’s a high bounce rate and low conversion rates, you’ll want to reconsider this keyword group. Maybe the intent is mismatched? Maybe the content needs to be altered a bit to meet the needs of the reader? Taking the time to analyze this data, again and again, is a crucial part of SEO success.
This is why it’s essential to track which keywords are driving the most calls, chats, texts, and form submissions. Then, which of those drive the most conversions. Being able to track and attribute both online and offline leads that come from marketing efforts is crucial to success. Whether it’s from a digital billboard, a PPC ad, or a web page, it’s critical to know where your customers are coming from and which ads and keywords are driving them. When you clearly understand which ads and keywords are driving the most conversions, you’ll have a clearer picture of where to focus your marketing dollars and where to pull back.
8 Places to Use Keywords in Content
Once you know what keywords you’ll be using for a specific post, you’ll want to create high-quality content with strategic keyword usage. Keywords, keyword variations, long-tail, and LSI keywords should be used throughout the content when you are doing SEO blog writing. But the most important thing to remember is to create content that is valuable and easy to read for your audience.
Another important item to note is that keywords can be used in more than just blogs and web pages. Keywords should also be used in alt text descriptions, video descriptions, podcasts descriptions, and more. This will help Google to find your content.
In SEO blog writing there are a few key places to use keywords. These include:
- Title or H1 – Placing keywords in the title and H1 tells Google right away that this blog post is about the keyword searched for.
- First paragraph – When you put the keyword in the first paragraph of the post, this will help Google further understand that this blog post is indeed related to the keyword searched for.
- Subheads – Using keyword variations, LSI, and long-tail keywords in the subheads should occur naturally. These variations of the seed keyword will most likely be subtopics you’ll be discussing in the post. Working these keywords into a few of the subheads will help readers easily find relevant information and also signal Google to rank the page.
- Content – Use keywords, keyword variations, LSI keywords, and long-tail keywords within your body content. This should flow naturally and be easy to do. Be sure you aren’t overusing or underusing keywords.
- Metadata – Metadata was mentioned briefly before. Metadata helps Google index your pages too. Metadata like meta descriptions provide an opportunity to tell your readers and Google more about your post. This will further help drive qualified traffic to your website. Including your keyword in the meta description, will help solidify what your post is about for readers and Google.
- URL structure – Another important place to have a clear description of the post is in the URL which makes this a great place to use a keyword or variation. Aim to have a URL that clearly reflects what the page is about and the content on the page supports that.
- Title Tag – The title tag shows up as the top bold line in search results. This is what the readers see first. You want this to clearly reflect your topic, which the keyword should be perfect to do. In addition, you’ll want to include your company name in the title tag.
- Alt Text – The alt text is the text used to describe any images included in your SEO blog post. The alt text helps visually impaired readers to understand what the images are. Alt text should clearly describe the image and can include keywords when possible.
The first priority with alt text should be accessibility for readers. If using the keyword here works, great, if not, don’t force it.
When keywords, keyword variations, and LSI keywords are properly selected, they will fall naturally into the content. There won’t be a need to force certain keywords in and reach a certain number of uses. In fact, striving for a keyword count or overly focusing on keyword usage is the opposite of what you should do. With well-chosen keywords and well-written content, this process will be natural.
SEO blog writing and keywords go hand in hand. Getting them right is vital to any digital marketing campaign or SEO strategy. There’s no doubt about it, finding the right keywords to use and following a keyword or SEO strategy take time and effort. However, as one of the most effective and efficient sales tools, it’s well worth it. If you want to drive traffic to your site–traffic that converts–master your SEO blog writing and content strategy beginning with keywords. Ready to level up your keyword research strategy?