Business blog part 3: Do keyword research
Based on the data you’ve collected by mapping the customer journey, like we explained in the previous blog, you’ll be able to look for specific subjects and keywords to write about. This process is called ‘keyword research’. This research is meant to find the ‘words’ that you should use as the ‘key’ to your blog to support the visibility in Google. You choose the right keywords by using some variables to rate your keywords, like search volume, competition and relevance. In this blog you’ll find out how this technique works, which steps you should take and what the goal of this research is.
Shortlist of subjects
By using the customer journey, like you can read in the previous blog, you’re looking for a list of subjects you can write about. You divide these subjects into different phases or categories. This way you get a clear view of all the possible subjects to write about and you’ll see the overlay of the focus groups.
Gerard uses the categories he created in the customer journey as a guide for his list of concrete subjects. He thinks about what these ‘dog owners’ want to read in their different states of mind. In this overview you see a small collection of all the subjects Gerard could write about:
There are many more options than the subjects above. Gerard just chose the first things that came to mind while thinking about these steps in the customer journey.
These subjects aren’t automatically the subjects you’ll write about on your business blog. The shortlist serves as the basics for the elaboration of your keyword research, but there is no one right way to map the subjects. If you don’t have any inspiration, just Google and look for other blogs that look alike. Try combining combinations of relevant blog subjects and see what comes up. This could be a great way to expand your shortlist.
The basics of keyword research
You now have collected a shortlist of subject, the next step is to check these keywords. This is where the actual keyword research starts. It’s important to check your subjects to find keywords that will help you to increase your search engine ranking. Also, by reviewing your focus groups search behaviour, you’ll be able to see what information they’re looking for and how to respond to this search for information.
First, you test the subjects on your shortlist by checking the search volume and competition rates. Search volume is the number of searches in a month for a specific keyword. Search volume gives an answer to the question; ‘How many times people search for this subject?’. Competition rates show how many other blogs and websites have written about this subject. If a lot of other blogs and websites write about your subject, the competition rates will be high. Competition rates give an answer to the question; ‘How many other people have written about this subject?’.
Beside search volume and competition rates it’s also important to look at the relevance of your keywords. It isn’t very useful to write about a subject that could get you some traffic, but it doesn’t lure your target audience. Relevance gives an answer to the question; ‘How relevant is the keyword while targeting my focus groups?’.
How to check your keywords?
Checking your keywords can be done many different ways. There are many tools on the internet where you can check for search volume and competition rates. The most famous one is the Google AdWords Keywordplanner. This tool was developed to use for Search Engine Advertising but could also help you to give some insights in the search behaviour of your focus groups while conducting keyword research. To easily check the competition rates you could also use the keyword research tool of webtexttool.
The relevance of a keyword gives the final ‘go’ or ‘no go’ and decides if you’ll write about this subject or not. Imagine, the competition for a certain keyword is very low but the search volume is also low. If this keyword is very relevant to your business blog, it still might be interesting to write about it.
Gerard decided to do keyword research by using his previously formulated focus group. This way he tries to map all the information he’s collected and to test it to the figures the keyword research shows. In the following table you see a small part of the keywords he’s tested:
Determine relevance for content train
The relevance of your keyword can be determined by your own frame of reference. How relevant is the keyword for you focus groups while you want them to find your product? The relevance can be reviewed in three levels: low, medium and high. For your convenience it’s easiest not to make more distinctions. Use relevance in combination with competition and search volume to colour your keywords. Red for useless keywords, orange for possibly interesting keywords and green for the best keywords to use! If you’ve made a good list of interesting keywords, you can continue to make a content train. Read more in the next part of the business blog series: Business blog series part 4: Content train for highest conversion.