How To Choose Keywords For An Article

How To Choose Keywords For An Article

How to choose keywords for an article.
ID: 30594691 © Syda_Productions | Depositphotos

I briefly discussed keywords in my previous article “What Is SEO in Blogging?” and now I want to go deeper into the intricacies of how to choose keywords for an article. Choosing the correct keyword or phrase for your article to focus on can make all the difference between your content being seen and read or disappearing into internet oblivion. If your posts are not seen, then you cannot build up an audience that you can later recommend products to. For your article to be seen it needs to rank on page one of the SERPs (search engine results pages), as there are not many people that will click through past page one of the search results.

There is a lot of competition of varying intensity for the keywords that will land your website on page one of the SERPs. The high competition keywords tend to be the more simple phrases of just one, two or three words because these are the ones that are most searched for, perhaps thousands or even millions of times per month. These simple keywords have largely been monopolized by big, established brands that are going to show up on page one anyway because they are already deep set as authorities in their respective fields.

What these established brands cannot be bothered with are those keywords attracting less than a thousand searches per month. These keywords tend to be longer phrases of five to ten words or more and are known in the world of SEO as “long tail’ keywords. This is where we work from home bloggers come in. By scouring the internet for the “low-hanging fruit”, that is appropriate, low competition keywords that are searched for 30 to 1,000 or more times per month, you can gradually build up an audience for your website. Around 50 to 100 quality, informative content articles written around such keywords will develop your authority in your chosen niche that the search engines will recognize and reward you with page one rankings.

As more of your articles rank on page one, so the number of visitors to your website increases, further reinforcing your authority and establishing your brand. As your authority and brand awareness increases you can start trying to rank for higher competition keywords that attract thousands of visitors per month. This leaves your website open to monetization through various of means, the easiest of which for the novice is affiliate marketing.

Finding Your Long Tail Keywords

That’s the theory then. So how do you find these low competition keywords that will still attract visitors to your articles? It is no good just trying to guess them, you need to thoroughly research keywords for competition, your likelihood of ranking your article on page one, the searches per month and the number of potential visitors to your website. For this we use any of a number of keyword research tools that are available online. Some are free to use, others, usually the more efficient ones, you have to pay for. To get on in this industry you will eventually need to invest in the paid tools, but if you are getting started on a tight budget, you can get by with a combination of free tools.

THE FREE KEYWORD RESEARCH TOOLS

First of all, you are going to need some keyword ideas for research. There are many of these, but my personal favorite is, please excuse my language, “The Keyword Shitter” but “Keyword.io” and “Übersuggest” are also to be recommended. All of these tools will generate hundreds of keyword suggestions from an input phrase of your choice.

In the screenshot below I have masqueraded as someone writing in the “marathon running” niche and entered the phrase “run a fast marathon” in the search box. Activating the tool, it quickly found 232 keyword suggestions, the first few of which are shown in the screenshot below.

A screenshot of the Keyword Shitter in action.
The Keyword Shitter in action.

Some of these keyword suggestions will be of no use. To fit your keyword into your content smoothly and seamlessly, it must make grammatical sense. It also either needs to answer a question, such as how, when, why or where, inform the reader of “the best” or have the word “review” to attract attention.  The first one down the above list to meet these criteria is “how to run a fast first marathon”. You could argue that the one before, “how long to run a fast marathon” does, but for me, it just doesn’t quite make enough sense.

So, taking “how to run a fast first marathon”, how do we know how many searches per month this keyword has and how much competition it has? The answer is further research using two more tools.

First, to determine the searches per month, you need the free to use “Google Keyword Planner Tool”. This tool is hidden inside Google Ads and you will need to open an account if you do not have one already. You will not be spending any money as you will not be publishing any Ads, you just have to have an account to use the keyword tool. If you already have a Google account you can just sign up with your usual Google login details. If not, you will have to sign up from scratch.

Once you have opened your Google Ads account, from the dashboard click on “tools” along the top menu, then “planning” and then “keyword planner”. In the “find new keywords” box, enter the keyword to be researched, press “return” and then click on the “get started” button. The resulting page will not only give information on your keyword but will also bring information on hundreds of similar keyword suggestions.

On researching “how to run a fast first marathon” I find that it only receives 0 -10 searches per month. This keyword has little or no input in the search engines. If we were to write an article based on this keyword nobody would see it as no-one is searching for it. We must choose an alternative keyword. This can be another one from our original list or one of the new ones we have just found with Google.

Excerpt from a Google Keyword Planner search, unrefined.
An unrefined excerpt from a Google Keyword Planner search.

Below is a screenshot where I have clicked twice on the “Avg. monthly searches” heading which arranges that column from low to high. I have then scrolled past the 0 – 10 section to the 10 – 100. There are some likely looking keywords in this list, such as “how do i train to run a marathon”, “how do you prepare for a marathon” and “how to train for a marathon from nothing”.

Excerpt from a Google Keyword Planner search after sorting the avg. searches per month column into ascending order.
Excerpt from Google Keyword Planner, avg. searches per month in ascending order.

Unfortunately, the competition rating given by the Google Keyword Planner pertains to keyword bidding for Google Ads and not organic search results. To assess this competition you need another free tool called “Moz Bar”. The Moz Bar is a Google Chrome extension available from the Google Chrome Web Store.

The Moz Bar, when activated, sits just under the URL strip of the Chrome browser. When you search a keyword the results each appear with another black strip underneath. These black strips contain two ratings expressed in percentages. To the left is the page authority, to the right is the domain authority.

Ideally, you are looking for the results to have low page authority, the lower the better but certainly averaging out at under 30. Also within the results check to see if the complete keyword appears in the title, URL and meta tag (the description under the title and URL) of each entry. Competition is low if the page authority is under thirty and there are no or very few appearances of the keyword. If page authority is around 35 and there are several appearances of the keyword, then a low domain authority may mean the keyword is still usable.

“how to train for a marathon from nothing’ has the makings of a good keyword, despite the first page authority being 49, the rest are under 30 and the whole keyword is not used in any of the results.

A sreenshot of a Google Chrome search with the Moz Bar activated.
The Moz Bar in action.

THE PAID FOR KEYWORD RESEARCH TOOLS

As you can probably derive from what I have written about free keyword research, it is a long-winded way around to finding your keywords to write about. If you are like me, you can put up with it for a little while as you are starting out, but you will come to realize that you are spending too much of your available time researching keywords and you will seriously consider the paid options.

The two leading paid keyword research tools are Jaaxy and Long Tail Pro. I will just give you an outline of the capabilities of each tool here as I have just written a review of the Jaaxy tool and I will be writing one for Long Tail Pro soon. Both tools will perform all of your keyword research from suggestions to search volume and competition all in one place, which considerably speeds things up. Having said that, once I have found a keyword that meets all of the criteria, before I use it I will double-check it with the Google Keyword Planner and the Moz Bar, just to be safe.

A look inside Jaaxy.

A look inside Jaaxy.

From the above screenshot, it can be seen that the keyword “how to train for a marathon from nothing’ is searched for less than ten times per month, making it unsuitable with that low a search volume. So further research for an alternative would be required. I have just written an in-depth review of the Jaaxy Keyword Research Tool and I will be writing one for Long Tail Pro very soon.

To read my in-depth Jaaxy Keyword Tool Review, click here.

Or, for my equally in-depth Long Tail Pro Review, click here.

Both Jaaxy and Long Tail Pro have short, free trial periods so that you can assess whether you think it is worth upgrading to a paid membership. Each has tiered membership levels of which the first tier after the free trial starter level is perfectly adequate for the early stages of your blog development.

For the same monthly subscription as signing up for Jaaxy Pro you can join Wealthy Affiliate, a platform that includes web hosting, comprehensive affiliate marketing training, access to hundreds of affiliate marketing programs and Jaaxy Lite, similar to Pro but with one or two minor restrictions. Would you like to find out more?

To read my review of Wealthy Affiliate, click here!

You Can’t Skimp On Keywords!

Keywords are the beating heart of your blog. Without researching the right keywords to base your articles on, your blog will remain unseen and all of those hours you will have spent writing will have gone to waste. So it is vital for your work-from-home business that you either spend a lot of time and no money or some time and some money on your keyword research. Occasionally, I will find a gem of a keyword and write an article to suit, but it is generally better and more time-efficient to plan the articles you are going to write in advance and research your keywords to suit in batches. The more you do this, the more proficient with keyword research you will become.

I hope that you have found this article useful. If you have any comments or questions relative to this subject or this website, please use the comments box below or contact HWA. Your contact details will be held securely at this website and never shared or sold to any third parties.

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