The Simple Blogging Guide to Keywords and SEO

Most bloggers I know have a love/hate relationship with keywords. We love keywords when they send us lots of traffic from the search engines. We hate keywords when it comes to doing the research to discover them.

After all, we just want to hit the publish button, don’t we?

While search engine traffic is not the only source of traffic you should go after, giving the search engines what they want is still a good strategy. If you are brand new to SEO, then we recommend that you read SEO Moz’s Guide for Beginners.

I want to teach you a simplistic way to find great keywords that you can use in your blog posts. My wife has been blogging for just over a year at SoLoveThat.com, where she talks about upcycling and simple home DIY projects.

Being a fairly new blogger and not knowing much about SEO, I’ve taught her a simple way to target keywords that works well for her.

Step 1. Do quick research with keywords off the top of your head

While there is benefit to discovering keywords you’ve never thought of, a simple method is to just jot down what you’d put in the search engines to find the blog post you just wrote.

You can do this with the Google Keyword Tool, but I like to use the LongTail Pro tool (you’ll see why in a moment). Inside the tool, I had my wife brainstorm a few keywords she would use to find the post she just wrote. I also like to check the Google Title Competition as well.

beach ideas 1

2. Run a quick analysis and choose your best option

We are not trying to conquer the world here (we are keeping it simple, remember?). All I want you to do is pick the best keyword phrase from your quick brainstorm. While most bloggers will pick the keyword with the most traffic, I don’t really care about that. Sometimes the keywords with the most traffic are the hardest to rank for.

I like to focus on two factors: Google Title Competition and the Keyword Competitiveness (KC) score from SEO Moz. I wrote about this in detail on the post Successful Blogging in 3 Simple Steps.

From our brainstorm, are choices were:

Beach picture ideas
Beach photo ideas
Photo ideas for the beach
Beach pic ideas
Family photo ideas for beach

What makes a great keyword for me is when I see a keyword under 10,000 in the Google Title Competition and under 35 in the KC column on the LongTail Pro Keyword Tool.

beach pics 2

We chose “beach photo ideas” as our focus keyword.

3. Optimize for your keyword using the Yoast SEO Plugin

We love the Yoast SEO plugin. It adds some extra fields under your blog post and helps you easily optimize your  post for the search engines. My wife simply places her chosen keyword in the “focus keyword” field (see below) inside the wordpress and Yoast will tell her where else to add her keyword.

As you can see in the post below, she successfully added “beach photo ideas” in all the appropriate places.

beach pics 3

4. Monitor your search engine rankings using LongTail Pro

If you have the premium version of LongTail Pro you can also keep track of your rankings in Google and Bing. This is helpful to know if what you are doing is working. All you do is add you domain name and the keyword phrase and the tool will find your rankings across 3 search engines.

beach pic 4b

 

This simple system has worked well for me and for my wife with her own blog. As you can see from her google analytics account, she has received thousands of visits by using this simple process.

beach pic 4

 

The 3 Step Blogging Formula for 1st Page Rankings in Google [Webinar]

Want to learn more about this process so you can get more traffic? We are holding a webinar on Thursday, August 29th. I will walk you through this same process using many other examples. We will also leave time to answer some questions. You can register for the webinar here.

    Jonathan has been blogging since 2009 and is still in awe that the Creator of the Universe desires to have a relationship with him. His passions include spending time with his kids, reading, March Madness, surprise get-a-way trips with his wife, and watching funny YouTube videos.

    • Alejandro Garcia Gallardo

      Hey Jonathan,

      Very simple process. I recently wrote about Keywords and SEO.

      http://www.adsenseforbeginners.net/94/keywords-for-seo/

      I use something similar but i’m less concerned with competition and monitoring my rankings. I use a shotgun approach and “target em all”. You can thank Fraser for that 🙂

      -Alexg

      http://www.adsenseforbeginners.net

    • http://fingers2paper.wordpress.com/ Adrian Gordon

      What is your opinion on using the Google Keyword planner (instead of long tail pro/platinum). Is there really that much difference?

      • http://bloggingyourpassion.com/ Jonathan Milligan

        Great question. As far as getting keyword ideas not much difference. LongTail gives you more data than the keyword planner, such as title competition, etc. Also, gives you the opportunity to check the Moz keyword competitiveness, the top 10 pages ranking for that keyword, and the ability to check your rankings. Hope that helps!

        • http://thirdworldfreelancer.com/ Adrian Gordon

          I listen to your show (the Blogging your passion podcast) and I remember the episode that you did on it. After listening to your advice I tried it out but quickly realized that it was not much different from Google’s free tool. It seems that in order to truly benefit from it you would need to purchase the platinum version (which has a monthly fee).