Writing a Blog: Everything You Need to Know About Keyword Research

Writing a blog, and ensuring it gets the traffic it deserves, requires careful keyword research and deployment. But what is this, why is it important, and how can you achieve it? Find out, here…

A desk with a laptop, notebook, glasses, lamp, phone, and picture frame on it

If you know anything about marketing, you’ll know that optimising your article or website for SEO is one of the key ways you can boost traffic to your site. One of the greatest methods to do this is through utilising keywords throughout your website and blog.

This may sound complicated and, if you’ve never heard about it before, could seem very strange. You wouldn’t be wrong there. Due to the way search engines have evolved over time, it can be tricky to navigate the world of keyword use.

So, to help you through, here are some tricks of the trade which I’ve learnt since becoming a copywriter. Specifically, I’m going to dive into how I go about keyword research efficiently and effectively…

Introduction to Keywords on Websites

Keywords are usually short phrases that people would naturally search for on Google, Bing, or the like. By littering your article, website, or blog with keywords throughout, you can better ensure your site comes up on search engine results, and attract new visitors.

This is one of the key elements of SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation. Without this foundation to your written copy, you’ll have almost no chance of ranking on search engines. Below are some commonly searched phrases, which could be a good template to start with:

  • How to…
  • Tips for…
  • Most common…

To discover more about why using keywords is so important for your blog or website, head on over to my article all about what I do for a living. Here, I not only discuss what I do as a career, but also the ins and outs of SEO, and why this is all so important for any website.

Choosing Blogpost Keywords When Writing a Blog

Now that you know the basics of why keywords are so important, let’s move on to some keyword research methodology. After all, by optimising the process with which you choose keywords, you’ll be able to do so with ease in no time.

Before beginning anything, you need to choose your main keyword, and your secondary keywords. The key to choosing your keywords is to get into the heads of your audience. The main thing is to think about trends within your business, and commonly asked questions that you think your clients want answering.

To learn some of the specific methods I use for choosing my primary and secondary keywords, don’t go anywhere…

Flat lay with a keyboard, pen, glasses and notebook on it

Choosing Your Main Keyword

Your main keyword is the word or phrase that goes in your title; the crux of your article or web page. Your title should be between 50 and 65 characters long, and your main keyword should be included, word for word, without being split up.

To choose a main keyword, I use Google Keywords or Ahrefs, and it’s mainly a trial-and-error job. With both of these mediums, I have a topic in mind and experiment with typing in certain related keywords to see how often they’re searched. If the keyword is searched a few thousand times each month, then this is a good one to choose.

Ahrefs is a little more comprehensive than anything else I’ve used, as it also provides you with a metric for Keyword Difficulty, out of 100. Through using this, you can better decide which keywords to use based on how often they’re searched each month, and how easy it’ll be to rank for them.

This strategy also works when choosing keywords for your social media and website too.

When first starting out your blog site, it’s important that your keywords have little competition, i.e. are searched less often. So, choosing keywords that get searched 100,000 times a month may not be a good starting point. By opting for lesser-searched words, your blogpost is much more likely to end up on the first page of the search engines.

For example, the word “accounting” will have A LOT of competition, but something like “good accountant qualities” will most likely have less competition, so it’s a much better place to begin.

Once you’ve made good ground on these lesser-used keywords, Google will decide your posts are valuable. Then, in a few years time, you can start having a go at beating the more competitive keywords.

Choosing Your Secondary Keywords

After this, you’ll also need to choose your secondary keywords, which should be implemented throughout your blogpost. For this, you’ll need a keyword generator, which you usually have to pay for.

For this, I use a Chrome Add-On called Keywords Everywhere, which is one of the best free keyword research tools out there. This is a great tool to discover which other keywords you should use, to link to the main keyword.

For example, say our main keyword is “layout of your blogpost”. When we type this into Google, our Chrome Add-On shows us that the following keywords are great to use throughout your blogpost:

  • blog post layout template
  • blog layout best practices
  • blogs
  • best blog posts
  • welcome blog post sample
  • first blog posts of famous bloggers
  • how to write a blog
  • blog format template

Alternatively, you could just use your initiative, and choose words or phrases which you think people would search for often. As you can see above, a lot of the recommended secondary keywords are just extended versions of the main keyword. Get into the audience’s shoes, and decide what you think they’ll like to know best.

You should try and implement these keywords throughout the article or web page, using a bold text to emphasise their whereabouts. The more you use these throughout, the better, as long as you don’t overdo it.

The most important thing with this is to ensure you add these keywords in as naturally as possible. You can get a good idea of how to do this by checking out my article all about blog writing format.

A mug, plant and notebook on a desk could be the beginnings of your blog

Can You Use Multiple Main Keywords?

To add even more value to your blogpost, you could even use more than one main keyword in your blogpost! For every main keyword used, however, you must ensure:

  • You include secondary keywords for both of your main keywords within your blogpost.
  • Each of your main keywords is used at least once in your subheadings.
  • Each of your main keywords is used at least once in your initial blog snippet, in bold at the top of the post.

My Tips for Dispensing Your Keywords Throughout Your Blog

So, how can you make sure as many of these keywords as possible feature in your blog? Here, I list an order of steps I usually take when writing a blog post:

  • Start off with a blog post template, including a heading with your primary keyword/s in it, a space for an intro, some advisory headings, and a conclusion.
  • Use Keywords Everywhere, the SEO keyword research tool I discussed above, to obtain secondary keywords for the post. To do this, type your primary keywords into Google, and copy and paste the “Related Keywords” in the intro of my blog.
  • I then use these keywords, and the “People Also Ask” section on Google, to advise my heading titles. This way, I can often dispense my keywords into the headings, and have a good structure for my blog laid out already.
  • Then, I copy and paste the rest of the secondary keywords into the headings, where I think they’ll fit best.

Through doing all of this, I not only end up with a great structure to inform my writing, but I also ensure I don’t forget any keywords along the way. Obviously, if the keywords really don’t fit naturally, I miss them out. But, as long as I ensure to include as many secondary keywords as possible, as well as my own variations too, this tends to do the trick.

A desk with a laptop, mug, plant, notebook and pen on it

Using Images to Help Optimise Your Blog

Your blog can also be optimised through the images you use throughout your post. You can do this through the use of keywords – pretty cool right? But how, exactly, is this possible?

Optimising Images for SEO

Dealing with images within your blogpost or social media post is not as simple as copy and paste. In fact, if you do this correctly then, when people type your key search terms into Google, your images can appear as the Google Image examples on the results page! Here’s a step-by-step guide for what to do with your images to achieve this:

Step-by-Step Image Use

  1. Save all the images you want to use in your computer. I usually choose landscape images, as these take up less space on the page when you’re scrolling through an article.
    • Give them a relevant name, and organise them how you wish.
  2. Using an image resizer site, resize your images so they’re no larger than 55kb, and overwrite the original images with these ones.
  3. Insert the relevant images, from your computer, into the blog post.
    • Depending on the length of the text, I usually put between 3 and 4 in there – one after the intro, one before the conclusion, and anywhere you see fit in between.
  4. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to add alt-txt to the image. This will depend on the interface you’re using, but should require either an image title and a description, or just a description alone.
    • For Google Docs, your alt-txt should be as follows:
      • A title – this should be catchy.
      • A description – must include the image title in there somewhere, and describe it in a fun and interesting way.
    • For WordPress, we would just include the description part of this, as we don’t have the option to include a title.
    • Your alt-text must be as natural as possible. The most effective way to do this is by implementing your blogpost’s main keyword within the description. Here is a great example of good alt-txt…

An Alt-Txt Example

Say our blogpost main keyword is “Blogging”, then our alt-txt could be as follows:

Title: A Desk With a Computer On

Description: This desk with a computer on it is the first step to start your blogging adventure

As you can see, I’ve included the title keyword in the description, word for word. What’s more, the description isn’t just a description of your image, it’s a natural sentence that includes your keyword in.

Once published, when you hover over this image, our title shows up, which describes the image. The description element of the image, however, is just for Google’s use, which will help your blog post stand out on Google search terms.

Flat lay of a sunny white table, with coffee, spoon, glasses, and watch on it

Think You’re Ready to Start Your Keyword Research?

So, this is everything I know, so far, about using keywords to optimise your blog post or website. Through using these techniques, I can’t guarantee that your blog posts will definitely rank in search engines. As I’m sure you know, there’s a lot more to it than just keywords.

That said, this is one of the greatest foundations of writing anything online in order to boost traffic to your website. In doing so, hopefully you’ll be able to gain more visitors and, if you’re a business, some sales too! In time, if you keep at it, you should see results.

Have you got anything to add to my keyword research advice? I’d love to hear your comments down below about how you go about your keyword research. Or, if you’ve learnt something new today, let me know! Thanks for reading.

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Charlotte Louise says:

    Once again this is so useful and I will definitely be taking these tips on board! I’ve learnt a lot from this post. Some really great tips!x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanna Journals says:

      Thanks, again, for reading! I’m glad it’s of use x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Debby Winter says:

    You truly have a lot of interesting information on SEO on your blog. Do you get a lot of traffic from the major search engines? I started my blog about 2 months ago and just now start to see some traffic from Google, Bing and Yahoo (mostly Google though). Hope you mind my question. Stay Home. Be Safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanna Journals says:

      Hi Debby, no worries at all! Thanks, again, for taking your time to read this. I really appreciate it. Well, I actually recently rebranded my blog, so the URL changed and everything. Little did I know at the time that this would send all the hard work I’d done before down the drain, as my previous organic search clicks stopped. But, after implementing everything new I’ve learned in my rebrand, and all my blog posts now, I’ve definitely seen my rankings for a number of keywords growing. It’s very exciting. Yahoo is definitely easier to rank higher on, I’ve found, but I’ve managed to get a few organic clicks from Google, and the number gradually increases each month. I think, if you keep implementing what you’re doing, and any tips you may have learnt here, you’re sure to see a growth. That said, I don’t think it’ll be immediate, and I think you’re likely to see all your hard work in action this time next year, I have no doubt! Good luck, and stay safe too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Debby Winter says:

        It’s interesting how a lot of people are not aware that they will loose their current rankings in the major search engines once they upgrade from a free domain name at wordpress.com to a self-hosted plan with a premium domain name. While wordpress does forward traffic with 301’s many people see a considerable drop in the amount of traffic, they receive. I even heard this from people who spent a lot of time on SEO and you think they would know better. I always recommend to keep the free domain name and to start a new blog on a self hosted account once you’re ready for it. This way you will eventually have two targeted sources of organic traffic that you can easily turn into passive income streams by installing adsense or by promoting affiliate programs. Just my two cents, take care of yourself! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Joanna Journals says:

        Unfortunately, I fell into that trap! But I’m pleased I did it, as I feel that my new site name and URL represents me much better now. Luckily for me, my site is only around 2 years old, so it wasn’t a huge amount of time wasted. I think, if I keep implementing everything I am at the moment, fingers crossed the results show soon! Definitely wise words from you there; a good plan to focus on two streams of income, for sure. Thanks for such a detailed response. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Joanna, I came here from Debbie Winter’s blog.

    This is a great post, but I have a few questions for you. Hope you don’t mind me asking you.

    I’ve only ever taken a slight interest in using keywords, although get entirely how they work and how they can boost traffic to a blog. One of my posts still gets a lot of traffic from search engines even though the post will be four years old in August. I must have used some good keywords in that post. However, I looked up ‘Keywords Everywhere’ for Chrome, and it’s now a ‘pay for’ tool. Do you have any other recommendations for a free keyword tool?

    Also, with regards to adding Alt-Txt to images, I always use them but also insert the hashtag symbol at the beginning of each word. I also use hashtags in some of the titles of my blog posts. Is this a good thing to do, and does it improve your chances of getting more traffic?

    Best wishes,
    Hugh

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanna Journals says:

      Hi Hugh. Thanks so much for reading, and I’m pleased you’ve found this useful!

      It’s a shame to hear that Keywords Everywhere has now become a paid tool. I have had experiences where it says I’ve run out of credits, so it might be that the tool is free to a certain extent? It might be worth looking into it some more to see if you can use it free for a certain number of search queries. An alternative I’ve heard of is Keyword Surfer. I’ve not used it myself, but I do think it could be a similar tool.

      In terms of hashtags, I’ve actually never heard them being used in alt-txt. I’m not sure I would recommend them as useful though, as alt-txt is used by Google to place images in the right area when users search particular queries related to the post you’ve written. It should be as natural as possible for them to recognise the image. I’ve had some notable successes with google images from just using the method described in this blog. However, if the hashtags are working for you, by all means keep it up. If you have Google Search Console connected to your site (if you haven’t, definitely look into it), you can see where searches are coming from based on images and videos specifically, through using filters. This way, you can see if any of your images from your posts are ranking, and this might give you an insight into how well your alt-txt is performing with the hashtags. It would be interesting to hear your findings, if you do end up doing this.

      Thanks again for reading, and I hope my reply helps you!

      Best,
      Joanna

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Joanna, thanks so much for getting back to me.

        I had another look at Keywords Everywhere, and the site now says it’s a ‘pay-as-you-use tool. $10 buys you 100.000 credits and each keyword you try costs one credit, so I guess it’s still good value. However, I will check out Keyword surfer too.

        Thanks for the info on using hashtags. Going forward, I’m going to try not using hashtags on alt-txt. However, have you any thoughts on using them in the titles of blog posts? For example, #bloggingtips. I know adding tags to a blog post is very important, and ensuring you’re using the right ones, so I wondered if using hashtags in blog post titles acted the same way as tags do?

        Thanks so much for also coming over to my blog and following it. I look forward to welcoming you to my blogging community.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Joanna Journals says:

        Hi Hugh! Hmmm interesting to hear about Keywords Everywhere – I guess I was one of the lucky ones who got in before they started charging!

        I think the hashtags are definitely something I’ll look into. I quickly did a bit of research and it seems the benefits are definitely there. Thanks for this note!

        No worries – I think your site has some very useful posts I’d like to read over when I get the chance. Good to meet you 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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