We have at least two audiences when we write on the web: people and search engines. My clients tell me it feels hard to write well for both, and in my experience, it’s because they’ve skipped the first step in the process: Keyword research. (Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
If I were to optimize my web copy for what I believe to be my main keyword phrase, I’d certainly be helping Google know when to serve up my post in search results. But my post still might never show up if the keyword phrase I’ve used and optimized for is not one that anyone uses to search!
That’s why keyword research is so important – I want to use keyword phrases that people are actually using when searching online! Then, not only does Google know when to serve up my post, but now I match how people are looking for what I have! The likelihood that I’ll get found, get known and get clients has just increased dramatically.
Keyword research can be a laborious task, and if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it can feel like playing darts in the dark. Essentially, what you want are keyword phrases that are related to your topic that have lots of search activity, but not a lot of competition. By competition, I mean other websites also optimized for that same keyword phrase.
The Google AdWords Keyword Tool is one of many available tools to use to find keyword phrases related to your topic that people are actually using when searching online.
Then the next task is to sort and sift through those phrases, checking the traffic they receive (a.k.a. how often they are used as search terms) and how many other websites come up when that term is searched (a.k.a the competition.)
The net result of all this research is a list of keyword phrases you can use when you write blog posts or other web copy. When you optimize your post or other web copy using these phrases, your chances of appearing closer to (or even on) the first page of the search results are much greater when people search for what you have to offer because you’ve optimized your content for phrases people actually use when searching.
Not surprisingly, the clients who’ve used my keyword research service have a much less difficult time writing for both people and the search engine. Using a few handy tools that leverage technology to do some of the heavy lifting, coupled with a few years of experience and a healthy dose of intuition, I am pretty good at finding worthwhile, productive keywords these days. Even better, it’s my favorite part of the whole SEO process, so if you could use some help with keyword research, don’t hesitate to contact me!
About our Guest Author:
Suzanne Bird-Harris builds and supports WordPress websites and blogs. She knows how important (and sometimes difficult) it is to grow a business in the face of the rest of your life. She’s done it, and is here to apply her skills and experience to your plans and dreams so that you can use the web to make money doing your thing – in this lifetime! Visit her at http://WebsitesInWP.com.
P.S. from Patsi: I use Suzanne’s keyword research services and will attest to the value of having a real expert for some of the more technical content marketing tasks. This is not something I want to spend my time on and learn to do, but I understand how important it is. You can learn to do it yourself, or be smart: hire someone like Suzanne!