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**This article has been updated as Long Tail Pro no longer works in the way described in this article. Read my latest keyword research article to learn how to find the best keywords for your posts.**
If there is one thing I know how to do well in blogging and website development, it is picking awesome keywords. My SEO driven, affiliate income proves this.
A year ago, I wrote a popular post on this site about picking the best keywords for your blog posts. A year is a long time in the SEO world and I have perfected my technique over time. To the point where I can now guess most of the time whether I have picked keywords that will get me to the first page of Google or not.
I also try to rank for potentially over 100 keywords per post instead of just one or two.
This article is an update of that older post. That post is definitely still worth reading, especially if you don’t want to purchase Long Tail Pro as I show you how to get around using this in that article. I do find Long Tail Pro essential if you are at all serious about keyword research, so do yourself a favour and sign up. I use it just about every day. You can see my brief overview of Long Tail Pro here.
In fact, I suggest you head over and read the first two sections about why you should care about keywords and the different approaches you can take to keyword research before you read any further here as I am not going to repeat these sections in this tutorial.
This article is going to focus on finding keywords where you already know the topic.
For example, as a travel blogger, I just went to Bangkok and I know I need keywords for an article about visiting that destination with kids.
You will learn...
- What you need to know before finding keywords for your article.
- How to find the main keyword for your article.
- How to find additional keywords for your article.
- How to use keywords in your articles for maximum effectiveness.
- How to rank faster in Google for your new articles.
1. What you need to know before finding keywords for your article
There’s only one thing you need to know before finding keywords and that’s your domain authority (DA). This is what we are going to use to try to determine if we can rank in the first page of Google results. If you don’t know it, find it out here.
If your DA is less than 30 then I strongly recommend that you work on building it up. You can read my article about how to do that here.
It’s also useful to know if Google favours you in any way in search results. For example, I find it much easier to rank in Australian searches than searches elsewhere. I also find it easier to rank for articles written about Australia or SE Asia.
It doesn’t matter if you know this right now. If you work on actively improving your use of keywords and track your results then you will learn over time if there are any biases for your site.
2. How to find the main keyword for your article
The best way to understand my process is to watch the following video:
Apologies for the sub standard video quality and the fact that I keep saying “basically”. Hopefully you still find it useful! 🙂
- Create a campaign in Long Tail Pro. Set the country to wherever you most want to rank in Google.
- Add your seed keywords – these are what the article is about. In my example, it is “things to do in Melbourne with kids”
- Look for the main keyword by examining the top ten search results and focusing on the title, URL, juice links and DA to work out which will be easiest to rank for.
It can seem difficult but it really isn’t.
I do want to mention what to do if your domain authority is low. You might find it hard to find anything at all that you can rank for.
In this case, just pick the keyword that looks the easiest to rank for.
When you get to guest posting and other ways to build links to your site, pointing the links to these articles instead of your home page can be a very effective way to still make the top ten.
3. How to find additional keywords for your article
This is also covered in the above video. Do steps 1 and 2 above and then export all the results.
Once you have these keywords in a spreadsheet, go through them and remove any that aren’t relevant or that don’t make sense.
That’s the list of keywords to try to add to your article.
4. How to use keywords in your articles for maximum effectiveness
This is a whole topic in itself!
What I would recommend for your main keyword is to:
- put it in the title of your article
- put it in the URL
- put it in a subheading
- use it once or twice in the text, the higher up in the article the better.
For other keywords, just use them at least once throughout the article. A couple of times each is ideal but I find it is better to add lots of keywords rather than using the same one over and over again. It is also less risky from the stand point of an over optimisation penalty from Google.
If I have a keyword that was a very close second to my main keyword, I would also try to use it in a subheading.
If you use a SEO plugin like Yoast, don’t worry about the green light. I don’t put my keywords in that anymore as it is set to demand a far higher percentage of the main keyword than is required to rank well.
5. How to rank faster in Google for your new articles
I generally find articles take 4-6 months to rank well in Google. Sometimes even longer.
If you can’t be that patient there is a short cut – gain some external links to the article. This should help your article rank faster and is also a good thing to do if your DA is low. Here’s some tips about how to do that here.
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I hope you now understand how to search for keywords for your articles and can find some kick butt keywords for your next piece!
It can sound complicated, especially when there is a 16 minute video about it, but it really is not. It is just about having a good process (which you now have!) and being methodical. Once you have done it a couple of times, it will become natural.
Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below or tell us your own keyword research tips!
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links to my favourite SEO product, Long Tail Pro. If you buy it after clicking on one of my links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you very much for supporting my site. It means a lot to me.