Are you burying your head in the sand because you’re intimidated by SEO?
Search engine optimization sounds scary but the truth is, you don’t have to be a search engineer (yes, they exist) to optimize your content.
Unless of course, you blog for your mother and a group of friends.
Then you don’t have to bother with all this keyword and search optimization stuff and get on with writing another personal post…
but if you’re in business, and are desperate to get more eyeballs on your content and attract more customers, then keep reading ’cause I’m going to show you how to research and use the right keywords in order to optimize your content.
Put your content strategist hat on
If you’re anything like me, you enjoy stringing words together but let’s face it, there’s no point in creating content if you don’t know why you are doing it and who you are doing it for.
So make sure you are clear on both.
WHY you are creating content
WHO you are creating it for.
Here are the 3 most common reasons why we create content:
- To increase traffic to our website/blog
- To increase engagement (comments/shares/likes)
- To increase conversions (sales)
The WHO part is especially important because your online success depends on you knowing a lot about your target client or customer.
If you haven’t had a chance to work on your personas stop reading this post and get that done.
You can find out how here>>
Thinking like a content strategist will help you come up with content that will add real value because it solves a problem and connects with your reader.
It will also help you optimize your content with confidence.
Optimize your content with KEYWORDS
Take a minute or two to imagine your ideal client sitting at her computer.
Let’s say you’re a nutritionist /health coach and Pam is your ideal client.
Pam is a busy mom of toddlers struggling to find the time to prepare healthy and nutritious meals for her family.
She does a quick search on Google.
Maybe she types:
healthy meals for toddlers
or maybe she types>>
quick meals for busy moms
maybe she just types>>
The point is this:
You don’t really know.
At this point you may be scratching your gorgeous head of hair and wondering:
Yolanda, why does this matter and why should I care?
You want to be found by Pam. And others like Pam.
Which is where keyword research comes in.
If your content does not include the keywords Pam is using in her search you are invisible.
Like a white cat in a blizzard…
(Let me know if you spot the cat)
Where were we? oh yeah…
The next thing I’m going to ask you to do is to create a spreadsheet that is going to help you with two things:
- Content creation
Under TARGET PERSONA define your persona and list all her challenges and struggles (all those you are aware of).
Next, create a list of TOPIC ideas that will answer Pam’s questions or address her needs.
Then pick a FOCUS KEYWORD or keyword phrase. This is your main or preferred keyword for your content piece. For example, healthy lunch for toddlers.
If you use Adwords because you’re an advertiser then Google’s Keyword Planner is a fantastic tool.
Here’s what you do to access Keyword Planner:
✔️Login to your Adwords account.
✔️Go to Keyword Planner (click on the 3 dots in the right corner) and enter your preferred keyword.
✔️Google will then reveal average monthly search numbers. (Search volume matters because you want to target keywords that internet users actually search for. This info is really important if you’re creating ads and want to stay away from the high volume search words because they’re more expensive.)
It’s ok if you don’t use Adwords. (I’ve got you covered).
list other potential keyword phrases in your spreadsheet that complement your main keyword.
If you’re on WordPress then I highly recommend you download the SEO plugin by YOAST. It’s FREE and it will help you choose your focus keyword.
I’m going to show you how to find keywords using some awesome free tools but before that I want you to seriously consider talking to your favourite clients.
Interview your favourite clients/customers
Yup, I want you to schedule a time to interview your Pam (aka your ideal client) and to make this a priority.
Ideally, you should interview more than one client, especially if you have a number of personas.
Here’s why you need to do this:
Only your ideal client can tell you what words they use to search for your products or services.
Be open and direct with your fave client. Let her know how much you appreciate her and enjoy working with her but would she mind if you could pick her brain for a few minutes?
Awesome! Does Tuesday at 11am sound good?
(I may have got a little carried away here…but you get the gist.)
Personally, I like being in the same room with my client and a laptop ’cause then you get to see them do a search.
Make sure you record every. single. word your client says she uses in her Google (or another search engine) search.
If you don’t have any clients yet, then reach out to friends and ask them to share with you how they would search for your product or service.
You will want to pay special attention to long-tail keywords.
These contain more words and usually indicate someone who is close to making a purchase.
Let me explain:
If you’re interested in knowing more about islands in the Caribbean, your search would probably look like this:
Islands in the Caribbean.
If you’re considering buying an island in the Caribbean you might search:
Islands for sale in the Caribbean.
and if you know you’re ready to buy own private island your search could be precise:
Islands for sale in the Caribbean for under $1 million.
Ok now let’s talk tools…
FREE KEYWORD RESEARCH TOOLS
My favourite keyword research tool is SEMrush but it’s not free (there is a free trial period after which you pay). If you can afford it then I highly recommend it (PRO package starts at $99.95 monthly) but if you’re just starting out, use these free online tools instead.
Google’s search bar
Type your keyword into Google’s search bar and let the autocomplete function show you the most searched keyword phrases. Here’s the thing about Google autocomplete: it was created to make sure your search experience is easier and faster so you get to see popular search terms right off the bat.
The free version can generate up to 750+ keywords from Google autocomplete and you can select search engine, country and language. An added bonus is that you can search negative keywords (these keywords tell Google what search queries are not relevant to your business. This is useful if you are running PPC advertising campaigns).
ATP is designed to help online marketers come up with new content by revealing what people are searching for.
To see how it works watch this short video:
I love this tool because it helps you come up with tons of content ideas while being a really easy and super fast keyword research tool.
After you have completed your keyword analysis you are ready to insert your keywords into your content.
Two things tho’:
- You don’t want to go crazy and stuff your content with keywords because Google doesn’t like “keyword stuffing” and,
- you want to put your keywords in all the right places.
If your content does not appeal to humans, it won’t appeal to the web crawling bots so make sure you write for humans.
Here’s where you should include your main or focus keyword:
- In your blog title
- In the first paragraph
- In secondary headings
- In your images ALT tags
- In your blog URL.
The Wrap Up
If you don’t want to be that white cat in a blizzard you have to research and use relevant keywords in your content. SEO done right will get your blog and business the attention you deserve.
Now over to you…
Any questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you.
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