How to Do Keyword Research for Blog Posts In 2018: The Beginner’s Guide

I’m making a HUGE promise upfront: by the end of this tutorial on how to do keyword research for blog posts, you’ll have at least 50 keyword ideas that can increase your search traffic and website sales really quickly. 

Are you struggling to get more traffic to your websites? I know how it feels like. I’ve been there!

Did you know the BIGGEST reason why most blogs don’t get any traffic from search engines? Lack of keyword research.

There’s a huge debate going on whether or not to do keyword research for blog posts, but let’s cut all the noise and get this straight: if you’re a beginner, you better learn about how to do proper keyword research for SEO.

Hands down keyword research is the most important aspect of SEO. If you want to attract more visitors from search engines like Google to your site, you need to do keyword research.

That being said, most people don’t know how to do keyword research. If you’re also one among them, this simple step by step tutorial is for you where you’ll find out the best low competitive keywords for your next blog posts so you can start getting more search traffic.

How to Do Keyword Research for Your Next Blog Post: Step By Step

how to do keyword research for blog posts

Step 1: Pick your primary keyword

Before you write even a single word for your next blog post, it’s important for you come up with a primary keyword to optimize your content.

What are primary keywords?

Primary keywords are the main keywords that you want to rank for.

For ex: “SEO tools” is a primary keyword

So how do you find valuable primary keywords for your next blog posts?

It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, here are few ways to quickly find great primary keywords that help you increase your search traffic and sales.

#1. Create a list of questions that your audience are searching for

Do you know what all the questions your target audience have in their minds to find your website? If not yet, you should start finding them.

Try to come up with at least 5 to 10 questions that your target audience have in their minds.

If you’re running a fitness related website, here are few questions your target audience might be looking for;

  • How can I reduce my belly fat (primary keyword can be: “reduce belly fat”)
  • How to lose weight without a gym membership (primary keyword: “workout without gym)
  • How to build muscle without lifting weights (primary keyword: “build muscle”)

Are you getting me?

The sooner you build a list of all the potential questions that your audience are looking for, the quicker you can come up with a list of profitable primary keyword ideas to increase your search engine traffic.

Suggested Reading: Top 10 Best SEO Plugins for WordPress to Rank At Top of Google In 2018

#2. Use Quora for brainstorming keyword ideas

I love Quora. It’s the biggest Q & A platform where millions of users get the best answers to their questions.

Quora can be also useful for coming up with a ton of keyword ideas.

Just have a look at the following illustration.

You can see from the above example that, for the topic “keyword research”, Quora is showing us a ton of keyword ideas in the form of questions.

Just enter a keyword idea on Quora search, and it will give you a lot of keyword ideas to work on.

#3. Use your competitors websites

Competitor keyword research has 2 biggest benefits.

  1. You can figure out what keywords are sending them the most traffic
  2. You can eliminate all the guesswork and work only on those keywords which are proven to send you more search traffic and sales

So how do you find out what keywords your competitors are using?

Competitor analysis gets much easier when you get access to the RIGHT SEO tools such as SEMrush. It helps you easily find out the best performing keywords of your competitors.

If you’re wondering about how to use SEMrush for competitor keyword research, here’s a quickly and simple tutorial for you.

Step 1: Head over to SEMrush, sign up for a free trial and enter any one of your competitor website’s URL.

Step 2: Click on “Top Organic Keywords” to find a list of all the keywords for that a website getting traffic from Google search.

Step 3: SEMrush allows you to filter all the keywords by position, volume, keyword difficulty, CPC etc but I HIGHLY recommend you to sort the results by keyword difficulty from low to high (so you can find less competitive keywords which are easier to rank for).

Here’s how it looks like;

You can also sort your results by using filters like Traffic, cost, SERP results, volume, position etc.

Alternatively you can also use Google’s Keyword Planner for finding your competitor’s keywords but the only problem with Keyword Planner is that it doesn’t give accurate results. That’s why most people who are serious about SEO prefer paid tools like SEMrush.

Step 2: Find LSI keywords for your primary keyword

Once you’re done with the first step of finding “primary keywords”, it’s now time to find LSI keywords for your primary keyword.

What are LSI keywords?

In simple terms, LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) are those keywords which are synonyms to your primary keywords.

LSI keywords are highly relevant to your primary keywords so you can bring more search traffic to your blog posts without keyword stuffing.

Examples for LSI keywords.

If your primary keyword is “picture”, LSI keywords can be;

  • Image
  • Photo
  • Snap
  • Portrait and so on..

Why should you find LSI keywords for your blog posts?

If you’re still wondering about how to do keyword research for blog posts in 2018, here are some of the benefits of using LSI keywords within your content.

  • Helps Google to easily understand what your content is all about
  • LSI keywords send you more search traffic because you’ll be using a wide range of similar keywords
  • Helps you easily optimize your blog posts without keyword stuffing

How to find LSI keywords for your primary keyword?

One of the easiest ways to find LSI keywords is through Google search. When you type a term in the search bar, you are automatically shown keywords related to the query you are typing.

Here’s how it looks like;

If your primary keyword is, let’s say “avengers infinity war” (have you watched it btw?) and Google is automatically showing us the LSI keywords that you can use within your blog posts to get better search rankings.

You can also use Google’s “Related Searches” feature to find LSI keywords for your primary keyword.

Here’s the example of how it looks like;

So there you go! Finding LSI keywords is easy and simple. Just make sure to find and use LSI keywords for every primary keyword that you want to rank for.

Suggested Reading: How to Get 1,000+ Visitors Per Day to Your Blog

Step 3: Check search volume and keyword difficulty

Not all keywords are the same. You need to filter your list of keyword ideas using the following 2 major metrics.

  1. Monthly search volume
  2. Keyword difficulty

Quick note: If you’re running a new website, I highly recommend you to pick only those keywords with super low competition (monthly searches between 10 to 20) so you can rank higher even without backlinks.

So how do you find keyword search volume?

You can use Keyword Planner from Google and there’s also a free tool which is the fastest way to find monthly search volume for any keyword within seconds.

Just enter a keyword of your choice and it will immediately show you the monthly searches. Here’s how it looks like;

You can find search volume for hundreds of keywords at once completely for free using this tool.

So what is the best keyword difficulty tool?

Now that you know how to find the keyword search volume, now you need to find the keyword difficulty so you can eliminate all the competitive keywords and target only easier to rank for keywords.

Although there are so many keyword difficulty checker tools out there, but I really like KWFinder (it gives you 5 searches a day if you register a free account which is enough for most people).

Here’s how the keyword difficulty score looks like (from KWFinder tool).

Important note: Finding keywords with keyword difficulty score under 40 takes time but you should always focus on finding such low keyword difficulty score keywords (if you want to rank easily without backlinks). So try to find keywords with a KD of 40 or even less.

Step 4: Commercial Vs informative keywords

There are basically two types of keyword intent that impact your blog’s traffic and sales.

  • Commercial intent keywords (money making keywords)
  • Informative keywords (traffic sending keywords)

If you’re doing keyword research, it’s important for you to know the “intent of your keywords” so you can easily target the right kind of keywords that increase your traffic and profits.

What are commercial keywords and what’s the benefit of using commercial keywords?

Commercial intent keywords are the holy grail of search engine marketing. These are the keywords that usually include “buying words” like;

  • Buy
  • Coupon
  • Discount
  • Offers
  • Shipping and so on

If someone is using commercial intent keywords, they are ready to make a purchase.

These are people who are ready to take out their wallets if they find the best deals or offers from you! If you want to increase your sales, you need to target commercial intent keywords.

What are informative keywords? What’s the benefit of using informative keywords?

Informative keywords create awareness about the products or services you promote on your website. If you’re running a weight loss niche website, you can create content around “how to lose weight fast” which is an informative keyword.

Informative keywords usually contain;

  • Free
  • How to
  • Ways to (and so on…)

These are are the keywords that you should be targeting when you’re building a new blog or website because people like to search for information before they buy anything from you!

If you want to increase your search traffic and user engagement, you need to target informative keywords.

Here’s the difference between both commercial intent vs informative keywords.

Commercial intent keywords help you increase your sales whereas informational keywords are more popular so they help you increase your website’s search traffic.

Start using these keyword research tools

So what are the best keyword research tools for beginners? Okay, that can be another blog post idea. But here are some of the free tools you can use for doing keyword research easily.

  1. Keyword Planner: Keyword Planner is a free keyword research tool from Google which is widely used and a great tool if you’re just starting out. It’s enough for you to start learning more about finding great keywords but as you grow your website, you need to start using better tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs etc to get accurate search metrics about the keywords you want to rank for.
  2. Keywordtool.io: It is considered as the best alternatives to Keyword Planner and an incredible long tail keyword research tool which can provide thousands of keyword suggestions from real user queries.
  3. Serpstat: An all in one SEO tool useful especially for beginners where you can do everything from keyword research to competitor analysis with ease.

Final thoughts on how to do keyword research for blog posts in 2018

SEO is constantly changing. The SEO techniques that worked 2 years ago might not work today. But one thing is still constant and that is keyword research.

Most people don’t get any traffic or visitors to their websites because they don’t do keyword research at all. Or they do it all wrong by targeting highly competitive keywords.

So if you’re someone who’s struggling to increase your website traffic, start finding low competitive keywords to increase your traffic and sales. Did you like this tutorial on how to do keyword research for blog posts? Let me know if you’ve any questions in the comments.

Comments

  1. Great guide! I especially like the part about using Quora to generate keyword ideas and questions that you can provide an answer too.

    I find that a lot of people who start blogging don’t do any keyword research. Essentially they are “wasting” some of their time. Instead of writing content that has a good volume of search traffic they just pick any old random topic. Doing that just makes it that much harder to build an audience and rank well.

  2. Hi Paul,

    Quora is indeed a great platform especially for marketers who wants to know more about their target audience, great for market research too! I’m a regular writer on Quora, so I know how wonderful platform it is.

    Most people don’t get any search engine traffic because of 2 reasons: either they don’t do keyword research at all or they target highly competitive keywords. Both are wrong.

    Hopefully this tutorial can be helpful for beginners who want to find low competitive keywords to rank well.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Hey bro,
    SEO is constantly changing. Rankbrain is making it a completely different ball game. An article can now rank for 100s and 1000s of related keywords because Rankbrain understands the content. I have seen some of my posts rank for related keywords that don’t even exist in the article. What I do is optimize the articles for the keywords and see a huge boost.

    I read Neil’s linked article and completely agree with it. Here is how I understand it to go:
    Do your keyword research. Write the best content around the intent of that keyword. Don’t focus on the keyword. Write on the meaning of the keyword and you will get traffic from tons of related terms.

    Happy weekend bro

    • Hi Enstine,

      So glad you talked about RankBrain (which is one of the best algorithms designed to reward sites that give more importance to users, not crawlers). If you’re using the RIGHT keyword “intent” phrases and diversifying your content for a variety of highly relevant keywords instead of “one page one keyword” kind of stuff, then your content tends to rank well than others :)

      Yes, I agree with Neil’s analogy about why someone shouldn’t bother about keyword research only. It’s more about the intent and how you use various relevant keywords within your content.

      Thanks for the thoughtful discussion :) I just had to read and watch several thought provoking tutorials on RankBrain to respond to your comment ;-)

      • Excellent bro. You rock and thanks for making it awesome.
        SEO keeps changing and that makes it really challenging.

        Do have a beautiful weekend

        • And that’s the beauty of SEO.

          It keeps changing for the BETTER :)

          The more I dig into SEO, the more I realise the importance of providing “better experience to the users”.

  4. NICE information shared..quora part is very useful n can be done to learn..thankyou

  5. After reading your blog post, its clear in my mind how important Keyword research is for making your blog rank in search engines.
    Thanks for sharing the article

  6. This makes it sound like veeeery serious research job. My keywords are not really standard ones and I do have a little trouble figuring out final list of them.

  7. Keyword research is the most important thing in SEO and that is very well described in this article so read it and enjoy. Thanks for a nice article.

  8. Keyword research is not important for blog traffic. One should promote blog on social media as one can get huge traffic from there.

  9. Good article. Keyword research is very important as google being a machine recognize keyword and tag easily rather than anything else. Quora is very good platform to do the task.

    Thanks for sharing.

  10. I did a mistake.
    I should have read this fantastic article before consuming Backlinko’s Keyword Research Guide. This has really helped me organize basic ideas on the most montonic and dreaded part of blogging. I hope it’s a good start:)
    One thing I was really hoping to see was the quantitative definition on medium and low difficulty keywords based on avg searches(an idea would have been nice).
    Always a treat reading your article.
    I have filled out your survey:)

    • Hey Ayash,

      Glad you’ve realised earlier the mistake of not doing keyword research. Finding low competitive keywords as I said in the article is the most important key to increase your search traffic no matter what industry you are in.

      Just in case if you’ve any more questions, don’t hesitate ask!

      • There’s my question:
        How many average searches for a specific keyword or phrase would be termed as low competition?

        And here’s another:
        LSI are just a bunch keywords and phrases revolving around a particular keyword. They build a concept around a particular term. With some filtering, GKP could be a handy tool to come up with LSIs. Don’t you agree?

        • It depends on your niche i.e the industry you are in.

          Most people say you should choose keywords with a monthly search volume less than 500. But it’s still a lot of competition especially when you’re running a new website (Google doesn’t rank new sites so easily). So picking keywords with anything below 100 or 50 monthly searches can definitely get you first page results. The good thing is that, you can also try to rank for similar keywords (known as LSI keywords) than bring in additional traffic to the same post.

          Don’t rely too much upon GKP for keyword research. Instead, pick tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs (but if you don’t have that budget, start using LSI Graph, Keywordtool.io for finding great LSI keywords).

          Let me know if you still have any more questions :)

          • Whoa! This is meaty information. I was looking for those numbers.Thanks.
            No more questions.I’ll let you rest easy, Rahul :)

  11. please forget about keyword planner, it shows what people are searching on net and your competitors have already grabbed it long time back..for a intellectual hike, try LSI …it will help you create unique content thus rank higher and easier within less period of time.

  12. Chucks Daily Deal says:

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your site. You have some really great posts and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off. I’d absolutely love to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an email if interested. Thank you!

  13. Informative keywords will not effect sales as people come on website for information from these keywords. If they come they will take information and go away. They will not click on buy now button. However commercial keywords will help us get conversions like buy shirt online keyword will surely get more sales.

  14. Make a list of important, relevant topics based on what you know about your business. To kick off this process, think about the topics you want to rank for in terms of generic buckets. You’ll come up with about 5-10 topic buckets you think are important to your business, and then you’ll use those topic buckets to help come up with some specific keywords later in the process.

  15. u can use google trend also to mix you blog keyword with them….. it will help for sure

  16. Irena Johnson says:

    Amazing article! Thank you! But to find question bases queries or generate keywords ideas there are more convenient ways.
    Usually, I combine 3 tools:
    1) https://answerthepublic.com
    2) https://keywordtool.io (question filter)
    3) https://k-meta.com/suggestions?alt=qstn (question filter)

    All of them collect tons of questions people search on Google. Besides, last two provide CPC, search volume, and other data.

    Hope you find these tools useful!

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