When launching a blog that is designed to drive traffic to your website, it is critical to kick it off with a solid 20 or so posts that are designed around relevant keywords.
Content is key, and is one of the biggest factors in marketing automation success. This article by Webmecanik lists not having enough content as one of the five mistakes to avoid in setting up your marketing automation program.
Selecting the right keywords can often be the difference between website content that is either too obscure or so over-saturated with competition that driving traffic through organic search is too tall an order. The goal is to strike a balance by finding keywords that people are actually searching, but where the competition is not oppressive.
Determine your website’s topic niche
This is a topic all on its own, and is very dependant on your website traffic goals. As I see it – and admittedly this might be boiling it down a little too simply – there are two basic categories for blogs that are designed to get traffic:
- Product/Service focussed – This includes any kind of ecommerce, as well as any website that is designed to directly market a business’s products or services.
- Topic focussed – This would include any website that is more content-based, where the main reason people are coming to the site is to learn, be entertained, or acquire some kind of information. Under this category is any kind of advertising revenue website, and also affiliate based marketing. Even though with affiliate marketing you’re involved to a degree in selling a product, the user presumably is not necessarily coming to the website to purchase a product; they are there for your information.
So, broadly speaking, understanding which bucket your blog falls under will then inform the niche topic that you select.
If your site is more product or service focussed, you will likely want to stay within topics of your industry. If you are trying to drive traffic based on content or topics that your users are interested in, there is obviously a much wider range.
Either way, you should search for a topic that you are relatively informed about, or at least highly curious to learn more about. This will help fuel your drive to create those key first 20 posts that will establish the basis for your future website traffic.
Also, I use the word “niche” here because in most cases you do want to get specific rather than general. A blog about strategies for shopping for life insurance is much more interesting and targeted to users than a blog about just “insurance,” for example.
Use the Google Ads keyword planner to identify keywords
Once you have a niche selected, it is time to get specific with keywords.
Google Ads has a fantastic tool to help develop keywords for blog topics. And don’t worry about costs. While running ads does cost money, simply using their keyword planner tool does not. You will, however, need to create a Google Ads account and provide them with a credit card. (So Google will have your card on file, but as long as you do not set a budget for your campaign, no ads will run, which means you won’t be charged.)
Once your account is setup, using the tool is quite simple and intuitive. From the Google Ads menu, go to the Tools section, and then select Keyword Planner.
I usually start by entering the niche topic of my blog in the first search option “Find keywords”
This will serve up a list of keywords related to your niche, as well as info about how often each keyword is searched and whether or not there is a high amount of competition on Google Ads.
This is a great start for planning your keywords, and even though the data is about Google Ads, this can generally, broadly speaking, be reflective of how much competition there is on the web in general.
Let’s take an example. Here is the search I did for my website about low glycemic dieting. I started by entering the basic topic of my niche, which is “low glycemic index diet.”
To start off, the results indicate the average search volume for the related terms is very high. Anything around 1 million or more is pretty huge and likely to present excessive competition. However, I’m encourage when I realize that this is just an average, and that there are actually over 600 potential keywords listed, many with a much more manageable search volume in the low thousands.
This is promising. The next thing I look at is the competition level. And obviously, here we want low. The fewer people trying to get traffic from these keywords, the greater opportunity to rank high in search results.
So with this search, I tried to identify 20 or so keywords that the Google Ads keyword planner thinks have a decent (but not overwhelming) monthly search volume, usually in the low thousands, combined with low competition.
For example, looking at the results above, I think “low gi diet” looks like a great keyword to target. It has a monthly search volume in the low thousands, with low competition. On the other hand, I’ll stay away from “low glycemic bread” because it not only has a low search volume (less than 1,000), but the competition is high. Not a good combination.
There is a very convenient download feature in the planner, which lets you export this data to a spreadsheet. Here is an example of a spreadsheet that I exported and used to create the first posts for the low glycemic index blog. With this file, it’s very convenient to sort by search volume and competition, and then highlight good keywords to target.
Implement the keywords in post titles, body text and meta data
OK, so going through the list of your moderate search volume, low competition keywords, try to find 20 or so that can be used as the basis for blog posts.
Once you have your 20 keywords, it’s time to implement them. This is probably the most time/resource intensive part of the process. Once up and running, you’ll have some excellent, strategically targeted content to serve as the basis for launching your blog. But getting there will be some effort, as one does not simply pull 20 quality blog posts out of the sunshine in just a couple minutes.
But here is basically what you’ll want to do for each of these 20 hand-picked keywords:
- Write a blog post with the keyword in the title
- In each blog post, sprinkle the keyword throughout the body of the article (probably want to mention it at least 3 more times)
- Include the keyword as your target keyword in your page meta data (This is very easy to do with the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress)
- Include your keyword in the meta description of your page data (again, see above re: the Yoast plugin)
- Confirm that the keyword is in the url of your page
Rinse and repeat the above steps for each of the keywords you have selected. Once you’re done with this, you have a very SEO-friendly foundation on which to build your blog.
Also, while this process using Google Ads keyword planner is a great approach to use in the launching of your blog, it also helps a great deal to continually re-run this report to see if trends in volume and/or competition are changing. This will provide insight on any new blog entries to create after your site is launched.
Interested in more ideas on how to come up with your first blog posts? Check out this awesome article by Spokal!