Writing a good blog post is easy but learning how to write a blog post that attracts an audience is something you’ll need to learn and practice. If you’re one of the millions of bloggers out in the blogosphere, pouring your heart and soul into your posts each week, only to find that your site traffic isn’t increasing, let’s face it that can be soul destroying. It’s sad but true, you can write the most amazing content but if people can’t find that content then nobody will ever read it.
Writing a great post is not just about your creative writing skills but also the structure, readability and keywords you use to attract an audience.
I’m not an expert when it comes to teaching someone how to write a blog post, there are certainly people with greater expertise, but I feel I have solid experience to help the absolute beginner blogger. I’ll also point you towards the experts later in the post if you wish to take this post a step further. Currently the Cannonball Fever blog receives almost 40% of it’s traffic from search engines or organic traffic as it’s called. This shows me that it’s a worthwhile investment to spend some time before each post to structure my articles around keywords.
Part one of my series on How To Write a Blog Post will be on conducting keyword analysis in order to better structure your posts. Improving your understanding of post and content structure around keywords will help you find an audience who is searching for your content while ranking your content higher in search engine results. This really is a massive and highly complex topic and my post will only scratch the surface and get you started.
Search Engine Optimization
You may have heard the term Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short. SEO is the process of improving the visibility of a website, or a web page, in the results of a search engine. When it comes to writing blog posts our aim is to have our site and content rank highly in the search results displayed for the keywords we target. The higher our pages rank in the results the more traffic we will receive. It would be a perfect world if we could always have our posts displayed on the first page of the search results but unfortunately you’ll need to work much harder for that scenario to occur.
Instead our aim as beginner bloggers is to write many articles with each of them attracting additional visitors each month. We’re not trying to attract millions of viewers from a single post but instead attract smaller audiences that add up to a much larger audience over time. By structuring our content around the search terms, or Keywords as Google terms them, means that our posts have a better chance of being viewed by the people who are searching for those terms.
Let’s take a look at how we find our keywords using Google Adwords
Finding Keywords Using Google Keyword Tool
1. Create an account and log into Google Adwords https://adwords.google.com
2. Once you’re logged in you want to select Tools and Analysis (1) and then select Keyword Planner (2)
3. You’ll now be presented with the following screen Keyword Planner screen.
4. In section 1 type the words you are researching for a potential blog post. These words will be used to identify keywords that we can target in our post. In our screenshot we are using the keywords “Write blog post” to find keywords we could use for writing the current blog post.
Note that this actual post that you’re reading now uses the keyword “how to write a blog” which unfortunately contains the letter “a”. The problem with that is that Google deems the letter ‘a’ and many others as Stop Words. Stop Words are words that search engine results can filter out to improve performance. It’s recommend you don’t use these stop words however in my research there are still varied opinions in regards to the effect if you do use them. I may update this post in future if required to note the potential requirement of choosing keywords which do not contain Stop Words.
In part 2 I’ll also highlight a tool which will bring things such as Stop Words to your attention.
5. In Section 2 select the location that you would like to target, language and other options. For example you may just want to target a local area or people who speak English. For now I’ve removed any locations and will leave it as All Locations as I’m not targeting any particular country. If you are a restaurant or something that is location dependent you might want to use this feature.
6. In section 3 you have some additional options to limit your search results such as displaying results that have greater than a specified number of search results each month. I’d prefer not to go into depth on the other options because I want to keep this post basic and at the beginner level. If you want to filter search results below a monthly average then it may help you highlight better keywords.
7. Select the ‘Get ideas’ button to present you with your results and to get an idea for which keywords you might be able to structure your post upon.
8. In Section 1 you’ll be presented with a number of ad group ideas. For example mine is blog posts and if you look to the right in section 2 you’ll find a summary of the keyword terms that are contained in the ad word group. If you click on the “blog posts” ad group you’ll be able to view all the keyword results for that group.
9. Section 2, as mentioned above, shows a brief summary of the keywords that are within each of the ad groups. These keywords are the words we’ll be using to structure our blog posts so that people find our content.
10. In section 3 you see the number of monthly search results for that particular ad group. This is the combined number of average keyword searches for the month for that particular ad group . We are more interested in the monthly average search results for the actual keywords instead of the ad groups.
11. Find an ad group that you’re interested in and click into it to see the keywords within that group.
12. In our example we’ve selected the “What is a Blog” ad group. We can see that the keyword for “How to write blogs” has an average monthly search of 1000 hits and the competition is low. Basically this means that each month Google receives, on average, 1000 searches for “How to write blogs”. When we write our blog post we can structure our content around those keywords by placing that keyword numerous times throughout our content. The higher density of keywords in our post will, hopefully, translate into high post rankings in future search results.
Note that there are additional complexities that we’ll cover more in future posts. In terms of placing those keywords into your blog post you should consider the following
- Blog Title
- Blog Link
- Within the opening paragraph
- Within the alt tag of images
- Within H2 header tags
- Within the content (as many times without over doing it and only where it makes sense)
13. In the second box it shows the monthly average search result and the competition for the keywords. The sponsored bid is something I haven’t played with but the Google definition explains it as “our suggested bid is calculated by taking into account the costs-per-click (CPCs) that advertisers are paying for this keyword for the location and Search Network settings you’ve selected” Basically that means that you can pay for adverts that are associated with certain keywords. When a person clicks on that advert the advertiser will pay an amount for each click the advert receives. It’s complex and as a beginner you shouldn’t focus on it too much yet.
For starters you should look for keywords that have a decent amount of average monthly searches (> 2000) and the competition is low. Just because the competition is Medium or High doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it but you may find it harder to rank higher in the results for now. This doesn’t mean that you’ll get 2000 hits a month you’ll only receive a portion of that amount depending on numerous things such as which page, in the search results, your post is displayed.
Again please note that identifying keywords could have a complete book written on it, and some people have, so I’m just providing with you the bare minimal to get you started and not overwhelm you.
14. You can use the back button above the first red box to head back to the ad group results and continue to search additional ad groups for better keywords.
That’s pretty much it! Obviously there is so much more to it but as a total beginner this is where you should start. Familiarize yourself with the tool, and keywords in general, and start structuring your post around those keywords. In part 2 we’ll look at WordPress add-ons that you can use to assist you when it comes to structuring posts around keywords.
Value vs. SEO
When I started writing on this blog I use to loathe people that wrote articles purely for search engines because I felt their content provided overly generic advice and didn’t add value. Sure the advice motivated visitors and made them feel good but it didn’t add any real value to the visitors in terms of some hands on training to take away. I felt the articles had been written purely for the benefit of sourcing more traffic to their site instead of providing something usable that the views could take away. Over time I’ve had to change my ways and now understand that structuring my posts around keywords is highly important, at least when it comes to sourcing your initial audience.
It is absolutely possible to structure your content around keywords and still provide amazing content! Remember that and don’t get hungry for traffic and end up decreasing the value you offer to your visitors.
So that’s it, now you have to start the learning curve until your comfortable with the process. As mentioned this really is a beginners guide to keyword analysis and I still consider myself to be a novice. If the information is incorrect or you didn’t understand a certain section then let me know in the comments below and hopefully we can update this article so everybody can benefit. If you feel like you’ve got a solid grasp from this article and you want to find out more then I’ll be listing a number of high quality articles below in regards to Search Engine optimization that I’ve been learning from lately.