In this detailed guide, we will discuss some of the best possible techniques on how to rank by keywords despite having low DA and PA. While some bloggers drive traffic to their website from specific sources such as social media, podcasts or email subscribers, the most successful bloggers diversify their marketing strategy and prefer to implement the most effective method for marketing their blog content.
It involves strategic keyword research as well as thoughtful content planning that results in attracting organic traffic from search engines. Remember- if your overall traffic-driving strategy includes attracting readers from search engines like Google, the strength of your keyword research strategy will make or break your success as a blogger.
How to rank by keywords?
Keywords are the exact words that people type into the search box when asking for information for their specific questions. The higher the number of searches related to a single query, the more important that keyword is, and obviously you want to create content with people’s searches in mind and apply a good SEO strategy to rank by keywords. There are a few practical methods for keyword research that you can use to better implement your keyword research strategy.
Keyword Research Definition
Keyword research is a process used by bloggers and content marketers to find out what relevant search terms are being typed into search engines by a large number of people. These commonly searched words and phrases give content creators clues to what people are searching for on the Internet – and thus help them create content related to topics that ultimately drive readers to their websites.
Keyword research is a process used by bloggers and content marketers to find out what relevant search terms are being typed into search engines by a large number of people. These commonly searched words and phrases give content creators clues to what people are searching for on the Internet – and thus help them create content related to those topics that ultimately drive readers to their websites. When using tools for keyword research like Ubersuggest or the free Twinword Ideas, you’ll find some important information like:
- How many people are searching for this keyword phrase every month?
- What related keywords are those people searching for?
What needs to be covered (and resolved) in a blog post on this keyword phrase?
- Who are the other websites competing to rank for those keyword phrases?
If you have started a blog and are now ready to create valuable content for your blog, then keyword research will be the next important step you want to take a look at. So that you can be sure that you are writing blog posts that will provide real value to people looking for those answers.
How Keyword Research Helps in SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization which, if employed properly, helps to make your blog more search engine friendly and thus make your content rank higher in Google search results. The higher your rank, the more likely searchers are to come closer to your website. Here are some blogging statistics related to SEO that further illustrate the importance of keyword research:
- Google is responsible for 92.04% of total organic traffic
- 95% of searchers never go beyond the first page of Google’s search results page
- Close to half of all clicks on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) go to the top 3 listings
- 51% of all website traffic comes from organic search, 10% from paid search, and 5% from social media
This is the foundation for building an SEO-friendly website.
Keyword research will not only show you what is trending in your niche, but it will also reveal what type of competition you are facing for the keyword phrases you want to rank for. So, how to use keyword research to create top-ranking content for your blog is really something that needs to be tackled with utmost importance.
Get Started with Establishing Your Core Keywords
To create a successful, keyword research-backed content plan for your blog, you need to find out what people are really searching for on the Internet. If you have already established your niche, the next step is to start searching for core keywords that can represent the broader purpose of your blog. Core keywords are baseline keywords that fit your business or niche. They are broad views that will serve as main content categories that you can later narrow down into more specific blog post views. For example, I talk a lot about starting, growing, and monetizing a blog.
Some of my main keywords include words like:- blog, blogging, bloggers, wordpress, how to start a blog, how to get traffic and monetize your blog etc. The list may be a bit long, but these are the main categories under which all my blog content falls. To narrow down your main keywords that will represent the overall goal of your blog, think about your niche and the parts of it you’re most interested in. List five to ten keyword phrases that best capture those topics. Now those are your core keywords.
Importance of Long-tail and Medium-tail keywords
Naturally, when you start doing keyword research to create valuable content for your blog posts, you are looking for words that have substantial search volume (Short-tail keywords usually have a higher volume).
If you’re only looking at keywords that are one or two words long, you’re probably not going to rank #1 in search engine results pages (SERPs). However, if your blog already has a high level of domain authority, you can take advantage but still, you will be competing with larger sites for short-tail keywords. This is why your keyword research strategy needs to go far beyond just looking for keywords with high search volume.
Let’s say your blog is about Affiliate Marketing. It’s unlikely that you’re going to rank #1 for blog posts focused solely on the keyword “affiliate marketing”. There may be too much competition because it’s not really specific enough. In fact, these days 50% of search queries are four words or more long. If you are not creating content for long-tail keyword phrases, you are missing out on opportunities.
This means that more than half of search queries are for more specific (long-tail) than just two or three words. People are increasingly turning to search engines like Google to answer complex questions, so it’s better to focus on long-tail keywords if you want to rank well in the SERPs. A long-tail or medium-tail keyword can focus on a specific product or technology within the ‘affiliate marketing’ field.
You will undoubtedly find it easier to rank for long-tail keyword phrases like:- ‘How to become an Amazon Affiliate’ or ‘Skills to be an Amazon Affiliate’. Taking this approach of targeting these long-tail keywords will not only help your content rank faster – but it will also bring you more targeted, high-intent readers.
“Long-tail keywords have less competition and bring in specific visitors who are genuinely interested in the topic you’re blogging about.” Of course, long-tail and medium-tail keywords don’t have as much search volume as you would get from a one- or two-word keyword phrase. But, you’re more likely to convert these long-tail visitors into email customers or paying customers—because you’re giving them what they want.
High Volume, Low Competition and High Click Rate Keywords
Everyone prefers to do keyword research to find keyword phrases like- (1) a high volume search and (2) low competition in the niche. In addition to these two factors though, you also want to target keywords with high click-through rates. If you are able to find a keyword phrase with a high search volume that has a relatively small number of people creating content about the topic, it proves that you have found the sweet spot for a great opportunity in your niche. What is a high search volume and how narrow is your keyword phrase relative to what you are writing now?
There are single-word keywords that get millions of searches every month. Obviously, this is a very high volume keyword and probably too broad to be included in your blog content creation strategy. However, if you are evaluating a keyword phrase with a long tail, the high volume can be as low as 1,000 to 10,000 searches per month. The amount of long-tail keywords is smaller, but the searches are far more intentional. A person searching for these phrases has a clear idea of what they’re looking for, so there’s a better chance they’ll click through to what you offer to them.
How to better analyze your competition?
Another important factor to consider when doing keyword research is how to better analyze your competition. See the layout design and quality of content from other blogs in your niche and gain insights into what makes them attractive and valuable in the eyes of their readers. Use these ideas to improve your own approach to layout design and content creation strategies. You can use your competition to do keyword research and get started by implementing the following strategies.
1. Analyze Google’s Top Ten Research Results
To find out what’s currently trending and being favoured by Google, all you need to do is type in your target keyword phrase and analyze the top ten search results. These are going to be your main competition for the keywords you are trying to rank for. In fact, you need to research the keyword rankings of competitors to see what type of content is ranking well in search engines.
It can also give you invaluable insight into which content format you should focus on. For example, top-ranking results could be health, fitness, explainer videos or even product pages for businesses that are selling a product that focuses on the need at the core of this keyword phrase. It can be difficult to compete with the top-ranking positions created by large businesses.
While it is not impossible to rank for highly competitive terms, it takes a lot of time and effort to develop strategic strategies such as guest blogging, tweaking your blog SEO and other blog development initiatives over time. Therefore, you need to keep this in mind as you do your keyword research and prioritize which ones to pursue.
As you do more keyword research, you’ll develop a better idea of how hard it will be for your content to beat the current top search results—and always try to uncover ways you can do a better job of answering the search intent of a reader who lands on your post.
2. Analyze how much competition is there for your keywords
If your keywords are very popular and easy to write about, there is probably a lot of content already available on search engines. But you can approach this scenario in two important ways:
Approach #1: Find Keyword Intervals
The first important thing you can do here is to start keyword research with the goal of identifying opportunities your competitors have overlooked. These long-tail keyword phrases will likely include:
- Technical information, deep knowledge, new skills or some processes that are not normally known to everyone.
- Topics that represent new information in a particular niche. If there’s a keyword phrase that is of great interest and your competition isn’t writing about it yet, just grab the opportunity to jump in and start ranking for that search term ASAP.
Approach #2: Commit to the Best Value
The other option is to take those highly-competitive keywords and work hard to do everything possible to outperform your competitors. See what other competing articles are offering their readers and try to provide 2x more content to your readers. Google shows a preference for websites that offer the absolute best value to their visitors and that’s exactly what searchers are looking for.
Thus employ these proven strategies which can increase your search ranking and make your blog more reputed.
- Guest Blogging
- Perfecting SEO of Your Blog
- Implementing Specific traffic-driving Strategies
- Using Blogger Outreach to Build Partnerships and Grow Your Audience
Ultimately, the best SEO strategy will prove to be the one that delivers the best value on the keywords you are covering.
3. Inspect Backlinks to Analyze the Strength of Your Competition
Another way to get to know your competition in detail is through the backlinks they submit. Backlinks are created when an external website links to your content. The more high quality backlinks your article acquires, the better your content will rank in organic search results. Plus, the more backlinks a blog post has from high-authority websites, the more search engines like Google will see your article as reputable and authoritative.
The number of backlinks to a particular article is a good way to determine how successful the content is. Why? Because people usually don’t link to poor quality content. If you want to know how many backlinks a competitor article is getting, you can paste their URL into the backlink checker. There are a lot of backlink checker tools out there, but some of the ones I recommend include- Ubersuggest, Ahrefs, Moz, and SemRush. They all offer free trials so you can test things out without buying a subscription.
You can also use the Backlink Checker tool to identify guest blogging opportunities. If your top competitor has a link or two from a really reputable blog in your niche, your site can benefit greatly from getting backlinks from that site as well. You can also use these tools to view your own backlink profile to see how well your site is performing in terms of domain authority. This is a good way to keep track of the popularity of your blog.
Keyword research by relevant trends
Keywords are not fixed all the time. They change according to demand and go through phases of popularity over time. A particular topic can last for many years and loses its popularity only when people around the world lose interest and they proceed to search for a new set of related keyword phrases according to the relevant trend. However, trends and phase keywords create opportunities for bloggers over time.
One reason for the great variability with keywords that fit a certain time of year is the change in seasons. For example, you can’t expect posts related to the winter holiday or Black Friday to gain the same popularity during the summer. Most people wouldn’t be interested in talking about Christmas on a hot summer day, so they probably aren’t looking for words related to it.
Another important consideration is where the searches are coming from. This is especially helpful if you have a local audience or are hoping to target a certain region of the world with your specific content. Google Trends is a convenient way to track this information and the good news is that it’s 100% free. So if you are blogging on a tight budget, this is a great way to understand market demand during your keyword research process.
Thus, Google Trends helps you find out when and where a particular keyword phrase is trending. Here’s an example… I used Google Trends to do a hypothetical search. I chose the term “Christmas carols” simply because I wanted to know when was the peak of the trend and which part of our country is most interested in Christmas carols and to what extent?
As you can clearly see, the peak of the search term was highest between December 19 and 25, which proves that people are interested in it only during Christmas. It is also clear that the people of Goa are showing more interest in Christmas carols than other parts of India. Google Trends also gives you awesome information like how popular your keywords are by region.
This can be broken down into cities, metros, and even suburbs, which tend to have particularly high (or low) search volume, to help inform which geographic areas your long-tail keyword research should be focused on. You can do the same keyword research for other countries of your choice, or do a default search, which gives you results for the entire world.
Another highly appreciated insight provided by Google Trends is Related Topics and Related Questions. It’s a convenient way to clearly identify the exact questions people are typing into Google, how they are broken down into related topics, and which queries are more popular right now.
Understanding your readers’ search intent
Usually, in the search box, people do not always search for the same thing or for the same reason. Your questions and requirements probably cover a wide range of topics. Sometimes you are looking for basic information about a particular thing. Next time you are ready to delve deeper into the same topic. There are four main reasons people use a search engine like Google and knowing what reason you want to satisfy your readers will help you conduct better keyword research and ultimately help you attract only the visitors you’re hoping to bring in.
1. Informational Intent
The most frequent and highest level of search that people make online is informational. This is a good category for most bloggers to try and satisfy with content as we excel at providing information, advice and instructions to help people looking for a little guidance within our niche. Informative searches include tutorials, tips, advice, solutions and other categories that help the searcher educate himself on a particular topic.
Here are some of the most popular guides that target informational purposes:
- How to Start a WordPress Blog
- How to decide the name and niche of your blog?
- How to Create the Best Design for Your Blog
- How to Promote Your Blog
- How to Make Money Blogging
Each of these articles seeks to educate and inform my blog readers – so that they can make a fully informed decision on how to proceed in their blogging journey.
2. Navigational intent
This type of search is done by people who already know what they’re looking for and use Google to help them reach their specific webpage because they can’t remember the actual URL of the website, or maybe That’s easier to type on Google and get more accurate results.
Examples of navigational searches include:
Search engines are designed in such a way that they can quickly identify what a searcher is looking for in order to reach a specific website. So, with navigational searches like this, there’s usually little opportunity for you to rank for the keyword phrase because the user has already decided to go elsewhere.
3. Transactional Intent
In this type of search intent, people are trying to buy something. Chances are high they’ve already researched what they’re looking for, and are now ready to buy.
Transactional searches can include words or phrases such as:
- Best Hosting Plans
- Best Keyword Research Tools
- Black Friday Sale
- MacBook Pro Cell
- Latest Version of the iPhone
If you have a specific product or service to sell, transactional keywords can be some of the highest-value words to conduct thoughtful keyword research. If you put in enough time and effort and invest in a lot of search engine optimization to increase your ranking, you will definitely do better in generating a decent revenue.
4. Commercial Intent
Business search is done by people who want a product or service but haven’t chosen a solution yet. They may be caught between many options and are probably exploring the pros and cons – or they may be just searching for some local to pick up products nearby.
People in this search category can type in words like:
- Best Web Hosting Plans
- Cheap Web Hosting Plans
- Pizza Place Near Me
- Tools for Bloggers
- Best WordPress Plugins
There is some cross-over between these four categories, but they are a good starting point to help you identify the keyword phrases for which you want your blog content to be ranked. If you haven’t monetized your blog yet, I’d recommend focusing only on information-purpose searches. If you are already using your blog to earn money, then you should go after at least some high purchase intent like- transactions and business searches.
Even if you are focusing on an affiliate marketing revenue model where you are not selling products directly to consumers, these keyword phrases can be important to your business model. That way, you can educate and send them in the direction of a beneficial product or service that you find worthy.
What keywords do your blog already rank for?
If your blog is already well established and indexed by the major search engines, you can use your Google Analytics dashboard to help you understand which keyword phrases are driving readers to your website. Don’t worry because this is another free keyword research source.
Find it right here in your Google Analytics > Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords:
Another great free tool for doing keyword research on your current traffic is Google Search Console.
To access this report, navigate to Search Results > Open Report and you’ll see the queries that are getting both clicks and impressions on your blog:
When you prepare this report, you’ll find a ton of useful keyword research information in addition to just the words you’re ranking for today.
You’ll know what your average position is for each keyword, how many impressions your article is getting, and even how high your click rate is.
Best Tools for Keyword Research (Free and Premium)
Well, till now we have discussed a lot about how to implement a keyword research strategy to target popular keywords for our blog SEO, now is the right time to know in detail about different tools for keyword research. Have the time and learn which tools will best fit our needs.
Note: As free keyword research tools gain popularity, they often become paid tools. Right now, some of the tools for keyword research described below are either free or offer a limited free trial so you can take full advantage of using them for free within the trial period. I would also recommend you do a Google search about free tools for keyword research to see their latest and up-to-date versions. Ok?
Now, let’s focus on some of the top free tools for keyword research available in the market today so that you can enjoy your blogging journey without any hassles, even if your budget is low.
1. Twinword Ideas
As far as free tools for keyword research are concerned, Twinword Idea is by far the best option for me at the moment. They also offer paid plans, but their free option has been one of the most comprehensive tools in this category. Their features include: relevant keywords, popular topics, keyword scores, suggested blog titles, search volume and competition data. If you check the keyword “blogging” through their free platform, here’s what you’ll see on the results page:
Please zoom in on the screenshot above to get a closer look at what’s written inside.
2. Keywords Everywhere (no longer free now)
Another popular and solid keyword research tool is Keyword Everywhere which was free for a long time and recently switched to a paid subscription, claiming that they have done a lot of it over the years. All the important features and value-added. Their equipment offers features like:-
- Monthly Search Volume
- Cost per click you have to pay for the ad for that period
- Adwords Contest
- Competition Data
- People also search for data
- Downloadable Keyword Metrics
Keywords Everywhere is a browser plugin for Chrome and Firefox and so it lets you find related keywords and phrases that people are searching using them.
3. Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is a free keyword research tool that gives you the latest information directly from Google’s own search data, but you’ll need to create a Google Ads account first to access this free tool. They provide features such as:
- Keyword Ideas
- Broaden Your Search
- Search Volume
- Find the Forecast
- Historical Metrics
- Search domains or pages (to find keywords)
An example of my Keyword Planner’s search result derived from the word “blogging” when run through their system is shown in the screenshot below.
Apart from the above examples, there are two more popular names in free tools for keyword research – Word Tracker (7 days free trial) and UberSuggest (three keywords per day) which are gaining popularity day by day.
Now, let’s move on to look at some premium-based tools for keyword research. Note that these paid tools offer much more than just simple keyword data, which you can access using the free tools above. But if you are not far enough in your blogging journey, then this might be a bit beyond what you need today as these paid tools will help you absolutely rock your blog SEO efforts.
If you’re ready to increase your organic search traffic, here’s a list of the best-paid keyword research tools available to help you achieve your SEO goals.
In my view, Ahrefs is the most powerful comprehensive SEO tool for bloggers as it is far ahead of the competition in the paid tools for keyword research. They provide some great features like:
- Backlink Checker
- SERP Checker
- YouTube Keyword Tool
- Amazon Keyword Tool
- Bing Keyword Tool
- Keyword Generator
- Link Checker
- Keyword Rank Checker
- Broken Link Checker
- Keyword Difficulty
Here’s an example of a result for the search term ‘blogging’, which you can see in the screenshot below to see how Ahrefs displays keyword research results in its Keyword Explorer dashboard:
Moz is another popular, very powerful and well established SEO keyword research tool that offers a wide range of features and is as popular as Ahrefs. No doubt, they offer more than what you pay for membership.
- Site Audit
- Rank Tracking
- Backlink Analysis
- Keyword Research
- Build Keyword Lists
- Intuitive Keyword Suggestion
- Keyword Metrics
- Custom Reports
- Monthly Search Volume
- SERP Features
- Biological CTR
- Difficulty Score
They offer four different plans depending on your keyword research needs. Needless to say that the longer the subscription, the less you have to pay.
SEMRush is an equally popular and all in one paid keyword research tool that can be checked out once to evaluate your SEO needs if you haven’t done it yet. They offer a wide range of features to grab the attention of bloggers at an affordable subscription price. Features include:
- Analytics Reports
- Competitive Best Keywords
- Discover New Organic Competitors
- Track Domain Status
- Ad Budget and Competitor Analysis for Keywords
- Monitor Ad Copy and Landing Pages
- Localized Advertising Campaigns
- Competitors’ GDN Strategies
- Analyze Competitors’ Display Ads
- View Display Ads from Various Devices
- Audience Insights
- Deep-Link Analysis
- Check Backlink Type
- Keywords for SEO and PPC Campaigns
- Phrase Match and Related Keywords
- Long-Tail Keywords
- Keyword Difficulty
- Find Low Competition Keywords
- Multinational and Multilingual Information
- Information about another company’s website traffic and online performance
SEMRush also comes in four different pricing plans to meet your SEO needs.
7. Ubersuggest (Bonus)
Ubersuggest is one of the most popular tools for keyword research that allows you to implement up to three searches per day without having to sign up for a subscription. They offer every feature that a novice or an advanced user would expect at a fairly affordable subscription price. Facility includes:
- Trend analysis
- keyword tracking
- Competitive analysis
- SEO Management
- Website analytics
- Link management
- Keyword Rank Tracking
- Keyword research tools
- Full site audit
As I mentioned earlier you can apply for up to three searches per day without any subscription, they also offer a free one week trial. I like their keyword suggestion and site audit feature the most as it indicates some of the key points that you need to work on so that your site can rank well on Google. They offer monthly or yearly plans depending on your SEO needs.
Final Thoughts on Using Keyword Research to Know Your Readers’ Intentions
You can always rank by keywords and drive more traffic to your blog by creating exceptional content that your audience is searching for. Doing smart keyword research will tell you a lot about the audience, but you need to work hard and develop a strong understanding of who your target audience really is.
Not only that, who are you trying to attract to your blog content, and what are they interested in? If you have chosen a blog niche that you are personally interested in, you probably have a basic understanding of what your audience is looking for. If you have solid control over your target audience, your keyword research will be geared toward things that will grab their attention.
Now, let’s talk about using that keyword research to craft transformational blog content. In my ultimate guide on how is a blog written, I outlined an extremely important concept in getting your ideas in writing. When it comes to creating content, you need to find something that you (1) are personally interested in and (2) your audience wants to read about.
Keyword research provides you with a smart foundation to understand the content you need for your blog. Now it is up to you to find the right keywords to attract your ideal audience and then create the best possible content to match the search objective of that keyword phrase.
Once you know what your audience is looking for, just consider the following steps to put your skills and experience to work
- Try to Go Beyond Superficial Information
- Find new ways to talk about common topics
- Find interesting ways to tackle your audience’s biggest problems
- Find creative topics that people want to read about but other blogs are not delivering
- Put your imagination into writing using clever words.
Remember that your keyword research is only one step. Once you know what keywords to write about, create content that actually helps people meet their queries.
Note: If you are new to blogging and haven’t created your own blog yet, don’t miss to check out my exclusive guide on ‘How to earn from a blog‘ which will walk you through the step-by-step process of starting a WordPress blog through Bluehost to making money from it.
How exactly do you implement your keyword strategy and what tools do you use for keyword research? Please don’t forget to mention in the comment box because your feedback matters which helps to improve the quality of the content and make this blog really valuable in a more practical way. Thank you for staying till the end of this article.