Do search engines rank highly on your list of ways to generate blog traffic?
I’m asking you this question because far too often, I see bloggers who are relying solely on social media for their traffic.
I get it. Generating traffic through social media is easy. And the results happen almost immediately.
But unfortunately, it’s not sustainable.
After sharing your blog post on social media, it only takes a few hours, or sometimes just minutes, for it to disappear from people’s feeds. So, unless you have the time to be constantly promoting your content on social media, you need to start focusing on other means of getting traffic to your blog.
Like, search engines!
And in order to generate traffic from search engines, you will need to learn how to find keywords for your blog posts.
If you are totally new to the world of SEO, then I highly recommend reading my SEO for Beginners post first. This guide will show you how to find keywords for your blog posts, rank in Google and generate targeted traffic.
Let’s dive in!
How to Find Keywords for Blog Posts
What are keywords?
Keywords define what your blog posts are about. Think of them like the topics or ideas behind your actual content. Your keywords are going to be the words and phrases that people search for online in order to find your blog posts.
It’s also important to note that there are two types of keywords:
- Head Keywords. These are short and broad terms like “blogging tips” or “budget travel”.
- Long Tail Keywords. More specific phrases like “blogging tips for new bloggers” or “best budget travel destinations in 2017”.
Ultimately, you should try your best to use long-tail keywords, but we’ll talk more about that in a minute.
What are the benefits of using keywords?
Keywords are going to bring you and your target audience together.
There are a ton of people out there who would probably love to read your blog. And if you want them to actually find your blog, you want to be using keywords. The right keywords.
By ranking on search engines, your goal is to drive traffic to your blog from the search engine result pages – which are also called SERPs, if you want to get really fancy.
The keywords you use in your content will determine just what kind of traffic you get. If you have a blog about birds, for example, you might decide to write a blog post about “types of cranes” – but if you’re not careful about your keywords, you might end up bringing in traffic from people who are interested in construction.
Your goal is toblog posts that rank highly on search engines and drive traffic to your site – you need to find out what type of content your audience wants and what kind of language they are using.
Why should you focus on long tail keywords?
It can be tempting to use head keywords in your blog posts. After all, there are so many people searching for these short keywords every month, that it makes sense to use them in your content, right?
Head keywords are highly competitive and almost impossible to rank for in search engines. Sure, you might want your travel blog to rank for the keyword “travel tips” – but it’s going to be tough trying to rank above BBC and Rick Steves.
These keywords also have waaay less competition – typically under 200 searches per month. This means it will be much easier for your blog to rank higher on SERPs. Search engine result pages, remember?
How do you find long tail keywords?
With a keyword research tool.
If you read any articles about keywords that were written before 2016, you will probably come across a tool called Google Keyword Planner. It was an awesome free keyword research tool. But unfortunately, it’s now only available to those who pay for Google Ad Words.
Womp womp womp.
So, needless to say, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find a keyword research tool that works well and doesn’t cost a fortune.
What is KWFinder?
Before I can tell you what KWFinder is, I have to talk to you about Mangools.
Mangools is a suite of keyword research & SEO tools.
It includes KWFinder, SERPChecker and SERPWatcher. And if you remember this fancy term from earlier, SERP stands for search engine result page.
Those last two tools are used to check the search engine results of your competitors and to track your own progress. I’ll talk more about them later on. But for now, we’ll focus on the star of the Mangools show, KWFinder.
KWFinder is this magic little tool that will help you find popular keywords with low competition. Essentially, it will help you rank higher – I’m talking first page, baby – in search engines like Google!
How much does KWFinder cost?
It’s free to sign up for KWFinder.
Just keep in mind that the free account only allows you to make 5 keyword lookups per 24 hours. I make anywhere from 10 to 25 keyword lookups per blog post. So clearly the free plan doesn’t cut it for me.
I use the “Basic” plan, which includes the entire suite of tools and 100 keyword lookups per day. That plan costs $29 a month and you can read more about it here.
To put that into perspective, the average price of a keyword research tool is around $65 per month. And some of those only include 10 keyword lookups per day.
*jaws hit the floor*
Search engine rankings don’t come cheap my friend!
But like I said, you can sign up for KWFinder fo’ free. So, at the very least try out the tool and see if it makes any difference in your keyword strategies!
How to Find Long Tail Keywords Using KWFinder
Now that you have an idea of the importance behind keywords and how KWFinder can help you find them, I’m going to give you a little tutorial on how to use this awesome tool.
So, when you open up KWFinder, this is what you will see:
You can start by looking up some keyword suggestions.
Let’s pretend I’m writing a post about blogging tips. Which let’s be honest, I probably will right after this.
On KWFinder, I can conduct one of two searches:
- Suggestions Search: This will give you a list of long tail keyword suggestions that are related to your search term.
- Autocomplete Search: This will give you a list of the most popular searches that start with your search term.
For this example, I’m going to do a suggestions search. I type “blogging tips” into the search bar and this is the results page:
The left side shows you the keyword suggestions and the right side shows you the SERP results and the monthly search volume of each specific keyword. Since you’re just getting started with keywords, most of your focus should be spent analyzing the data on the left side.
So, let’s take a closer look at that:
Here, we can see a list of the actual keyword suggestions. And, there are also 5 different sorting categories for each keyword:
- Trend. The search volume trend of each keyword over the last 12 months.
- Search. The average monthly searches of each keyword over the last 12 months.
- CPC. The average cost per click.
- PPC. The level of competition in pay per click advertising.
- DIFF. The actual keyword SEO difficulty.
Most of all, you want to focus on #2 and #5. You want to know the average monthly searches and the ranking difficulty of each keyword.
Ideally, you want to see an average monthly search volume of at least 50 and you want your keyword difficulty to be under 40. On KWFinder, keywords are ranked on a scale of 0 to 100 and anything under 40 is considered *somewhat* easy to rank for.
I like to click on DIFF and actually sort the keywords by their difficulty. That way, I can easily see which ones are easy to rank for. Finally, you’ll be left with something like this:
These are the long tail keywords related to my “blogging tips” search that have low competition.
So, I’m probably going to discount using “writing a blog for dummies” because it has a pretty low monthly search volume. But, “blogging for dummies” and “how to be a better blogger” are two fantastic options!
How to Use SERPChecker & SERPWatcher
Now, we’re getting onto some slightly more serious turf. And, I realize that the majority of you reading this article are probably just interested in using KWFinder, so I’ll keep this section brief.
SERPChecker can be accessed on the right side of the KWFinder search results. It allows you to easily see who else is ranking for your keywords and determine how you can out-rank them. You can read a full tutorial here.
Once you write a blog post using the keywords found in KWFinder, you can track your ranking progress using SERPWatcher. It provides you with highly detailed statistics. You can read a full tutorial here.
How to Use Keywords in Your Blog Posts
I talk more in-depth on this topic in my Beginner SEO Guide. Basically, your main keyword should be included in a few different places:
- Blog Post Title
- Permalink or URL
- Subheading – one is enough
- Blog Post Text – ideally every 250 words or so
If you also want to rank for a secondary keyword, using it once or twice in your blog post should be enough. Ideally, use it in one of the other subheadings as well. After the blog post title itself, headings are the most important place to use your keywords! They basically tell search engines what your post is about.
It’s important to remember not to go overboard with your keywords, because there is such a thing as over-optimization! So, be careful using a plugin like Yoast. Oftentimes, it will encourage you to use your keyword more times than necessary. Personally, I use Yoast to monitor my readability – not my keywords.
How Long Does it Take to Rank for Keywords?
On average, it can take anywhere from 4 to 6 months to get your blog post to start ranking highly in Google. It totally depends on the age of your site, your DA (what’s that?) score and the keywords you’re using.
If patience isn’t your strong suit (me either dude) then you can try to speed the process along by gaining some external links to your blog post. To learn more about increasing your DA score and link building, I highly recommend reading this post.
Final Thoughts on Keywords
Keywords can seem complicated. But in reality, it’s all about having a good strategy (which after reading this article, you have!) and being organized.
Once you go through the process of finding and ranking for keywords a couple times, it will become second nature to you!
The benefits will pay off big time.
Being able to rank highly in search engines will bring more targeted traffic to your blog. And it will mean that you get to spend less time on social media actively promoting your content.
KWFinder is an essential keyword research tool. Trust me when I say that I wouldn’t have gone through the effort of writing this entire post if I didn’t think this tool could totally change your blogging strategy. You can sign up for free and give it a shot.
Let’s talk keywords and search engines in the comments! What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to SEO? I want to know!