Something you need to know is that even without any keyword research, your blog posts will get indexed and ranked in Google. You do not have to do anything special for Google to see your website and give you a position in the search engines.
There are many successful bloggers and website owners out there that simply do not do any research. They are well-versed in their niche of choice, and just write about stuff they think is important.
If you are a good writer, your blog posts will naturally be focused, descriptive, and interesting to the reader.
However, when you are an inexperience writer and unfamiliar with the topic of your niche website, keyword research and SEO writing becomes more useful. Having a process to optimize your post for search engines is a good skill to have. These general guidelines can keep you on topic and optimized.
Keywords Are Just Guidelines
Keywords are just a method we use to reach human readers. I like to think of them as guidelines, not an exact formula. They tell me which topics are getting the most traffic, and which phrases are the least competitive to rank for.
Keywords can suggest where I should focus more, but they don’t tell me how I to run my business!
Google is a robot, and it's trying to figure out what the pages on your affiliate site are about. By using keyword research and search engine optimization, you can give strong hints to Google as to what you're writing about.
Still, no amount of SEO wizardry will guarantee that you rank for your phrase of choice. It’s Google's job to make sure that people cannot manipulate the algorithm and rank for anything they want. Imagine a world where you could just type in a formula and put your website in any position you want. Sure, it would be great for you, but what about the million other people that want that exact same spot.
At the end of the day, you have to realize that there is only so much control you have over the rank of a post.
Keywords For Organic Search Engine Traffic
1. Is This A Good Keyword?
If the keyword makes sense and you think it’s useful to your audience, then yes, it’s a good one. I really don’t care how much traffic it’s getting. Even if 1 person a month finds that post and buys something because of it, that’s 1 sale per month for the next X amount of years my business is in operation.
Every piece of content on your website will be indexed in Google. You might end up ranking for things you didn’t plan on anyway, so it’s worth your time (at some point) to write about this topic. You can write about it now, or write about it later. You can write about it once, or maybe a few times. Those are both good examples of why looking at traffic and competition stats can be important sometimes!
2. How Do I Use Keywords in My Writing
Strategies vary, but mine is very basic:
- Required: Keyword in title & URL
- Required: Keyword in first paragraph
- Optional: Keyword in h2/h3/h4 tag
- Optional: Keyword in alt tag & image title
- Optional: Keyword near the end of the article
There's more you can do as well, but watch out for over-optimization. See the full SEO checklist.
Video: Where Do I Put Keywords For SEO?
3. Can I Change My Keyword?
This phrase could have multiple meanings. If you find a phrase that is not grammatically correct but has high traffic, low competition numbers, should change it to be correct? Is it still a good keyword?
The first thing I do when I find something like this is check the stats for the grammatically correct phrase. That will tell the real story, since Google autocorrects searches anyway. If the numbers still look good and I think I can write a good post on the grammatically correct version of the phrase then I do it.
Video: How I Deal With Bad Grammar Keywords
The second possible interpretation of this phrase is whether or not you can change a keyword when updating content. You may discover that some things you wrote in the past were not properly optimized, or targeted a high competition phrase. Can you write for a new keyword?
You need to decide if the content, title, and URL is salvageable or not. If the whole thing is a bunch of garbage, just delete the post or redirect it to a better page. Garbage content won't rank anyway. If you can make some tweaks, then improve upon what's already there, you can do that too. I don't think that revamping an old article to have a completely new idea/content is worth your time.
4. Can I Use Two Keywords?
No, you cannot. Targeting two keywords takes away focus from the first keyword. One topic per article means one keyword per article. You will naturally rank for hundreds of phrases, as you can see in Google Search Console. However, those extra terms are just a bi-product of Google's algorithm.
One keyword per article. If you love that second keyword so much, write an article about it. If it's very similar to the first keyword and does not deserve its own article, then it would be a waste of time to write about it anyway.
5. Why Am I Not Ranking For My Keyword?
There are many reasons a post might not rank for a term you are trying to rank for.
The #1 reason I see is that the website simply doesn’t have enough authority. If you have a brand new domain name, only three pages of content, you just don't have the power to rank. Search Engines don't know you very well, let alone trust you.
Even a website that’s 2-3 months old and has 5-10 blog posts averaging 400-500 words per post is going to struggle to rank for higher competition phrases. Google's a robot and it needs data (words) to figure out what your website is all about. Feed it some data by publishing more often!
Another common reason people don't rank for stuff is that they use slight variations of keywords to write similar content. “How to Naturally Cure A Cold” and “How To Naturally Cure My Cold” are basically the same thing. You can use similar keywords as long as the intent is different.
You could be over-optimizing or under optimizing. At this point, we get into a grey area. Every person has a different strategy of what's too much, not enough, or just right. Please see the SEO checklist referenced earlier on this page for more details.
Competition is another big one worth considering. You could have the best information on the topic, plus a perfectly optimized page, but if the first page of Google is filled with Mashable, TechCrunch, Buzzfeed and other authority sites, you may be stuck on page 2 for the foreseeable future.
If that's the case, try for longer phrases, then use those new pages to funnel traffic to non-ranking page.
Continuing With Keywords & Writing
The two main things you need to do from here on out is figure out how to actually do the research. I used Jaaxy for many years, and still recommend it. I also use SEMrush but it's a bit more advanced as well as more expensive.
In the next lesson we're going to learn how to find products to promote and how to write product reviews. For guidance on how to outline and write an article for your website, please see the tutorial on writing a keyword targeted blog post.
If you are struggling with writing, there’s no easy way about it; you need to practice. Do not fear writing bad content. Practicing is the best way to get better! You can always go back and edit your old posts to improve them, or even redirect them to an updated version.
Keep reading about keywords for search engine optimization, for greater insight into how to use keywords, why some work and some don't, how to transform a bad idea into a good one, and how to analyze page 1 competition results.
Free Live Training Tutorials
I did some live training sessions dedicated to learning about how to pick good keywords and use them in your blog. If you are struggling with keyword research, please watch these videos and see if they can help clarify how I use keywords for my websites.
Keyword Research Session Pt. 1
Keyword Research Session Pt. 2: What Makes A Good Keyword?
More Keyword Videos
If keywords aren't clear yet, just start publishing and you'll get the hang of what works and what doesn't. Building your affiliate site is going to be a learning process, and you've got to be willing to jump in and make some mistakes.
Also, keywords are a big deal so I've got a bunch of extra keyword videos I've created over the years. Here are three more worth watching when you have time.
How To Generate Content Ideas For The Lifetime Of Your Website
Now what do you do?
The answer is pretty simple, but it's one of the hardest things for a beginner niche marketer: WRITE
One of the most common frustrations that a lot of newbies run into in the beginning is that they've followed the instructions but are not seeing results
So I tell them to get to work. Find a keyword, write an article, then do it again, and again, and again until something happens. If you can, you should be publishing something every day of the week.
Oh boy, now you might be rethinking your niche. “There's just not that much to say about my niche!!!”
Some of you will find out that you have chosen niche that's far too narrow to support the amount of content that needs to be produce to gain authority in Google. 1200 words every single day means you'll be pounding out 30,000 words of content per month. That's like writing short book every 30 days!
1. General Research
It may sound obvious, but go to Google and see what other people are writing about in your niche. See which posts get the most comments, then write your own blog post on the same topic, offering your unique opinion on it.
Browse forums and social media hubs to see which topics get the most discussion, and which ones have the most heated debates. It means people want to talk about it!
There's also a real world out there. Look in magazines and books. Watch TV shows and documentaries. In world where people debate online whether a dress is blue or gold, there's always something to talk about.
2. Product Research
Look at Amazon for some products you know about, and see what other people are searching for related to the terms. Check the question section and complaints section to see what people are saying.
Go to big-name websites in your niche and see what related products they offer. You may be surprised to find that your survivalist niche has a lot of crossover with the solar cooking niche.
Not everything has to be directly related to your niche. If you chose water guns as your website topic (a little too narrow in my opinion), there's no reason you can't also feature water balloons, water-related outdoor games, slip-n-slides, and above ground swimming pool supplies.
A site about gardening supplies would be fine to feature indoor herb growing information, or even stuff about Bonsai trees. You may start off writing about herb gardens, but then figure out that there's a lot of money to be made in the Bonzai tree niche.
3. Get New Ideas From Old Content
Go back to old articles on your website and read what you wrote. Not only will you find a ton of grammar mistakes, you'll find areas where you were not clear, or could expand on a topic. You can use these ideas to write new articles, then link from your old article to the new one.
Once you start getting traffic on your website, people will start leaving comments. Some will be questions, and other will just be assholes saying rude things. You can make use of both of these!
For one, if someone is taking the time to ask a question is means they really, really want to know the answer. Plus, there are probably a bunch of other people who have the same question. Turn that question into a blog post!
Even if someone is just being a jerk and hating on what you wrote, that's fine too. It means they are passionate about the topic, and have a different viewpoint. Leverage that. Try to clean the meaning from their jerky comment and turn it into an article.