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I talk about keyword research tips a lot. It might actually get on your nerves. We’re writers — what does keyword research have to do with the ~art~ of writing?

Everything.

Most of us who write blogs want people to actually, you know, read them. You know how you get people to your blogs?

Keywords.

Keywords are what help you rank in Google. They’re what help people find you and click on your page. So, keyword research is 100% part of your job as a writer.

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Whether you blog as a hobby or you’re trying to make a living as a freelance writer, you need to know how to conduct at least basic keyword research. Here are a few keyword research tips to get you started.

5 Keyword Research Tips to Help You Get More Traffic in 2019

1. Go for Long Tail Keywords Over Short Tail Keywords

“I want to rank on page one of Google for the word ‘fitness.'” — Client

Good one, Barbara.

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Barbara’s asking to rank for what we call a short tail keyword. Short tail keywords are generally one or two words. “Fitness” is an example. So are “shoes,” “lawyer,” and “bakery.”

The reason people want to rank for short tail keywords so badly is that they get massive traffic in Google. For example, here’s “fitness”:

short tail keyword research tips

Just an average 1,500,000 searches a month. No big deal. 😐

Understandably, everyone wants a piece of that pie. Why wouldn’t they? They see this kind of traffic and think it means they stand to gain 1,500,000 website hits if they use that keyword.

Wouldn’t we all love that?

There are a few problems here.

#1 Short Tail Keywords Are Typically Far Too Competitive

Because these words are so incredibly competitive, it would take significant (significant!) time and money to rank on page one of Google — if it ever happened at all… which it probably wouldn’t.

Sorry to burst your bubble.

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If you ever think it’s truly possible to rank for a massive keyword like “shoes,” do something for me: Google it. Then you’ll see who you’re up against on page one of the search results (Zappos, Macy’s, DSW…).

#2 Short Tail Keywords Won’t Bring You Targeted Traffic Anyway

Let’s say you’re Barbara, and you have a fitness training site. You create workout programs for people that they can do at home. Cool beans.

Now, let’s imagine someone searches “fitness” in Google. What are they looking for?

They could be looking for fitness training programs.

Or maybe they’re looking for gyms.

Could they be looking for personal trainers?

We have no clue what they’re looking for, because their search query (meaning “fitness”) was so. damn. broad.

What are the odds that this person was looking for exactly what Barbara offers? Slim to none.

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We don’t care about people looking for any old fitness-related topic. We want people looking for fitness training programs. That’s our target audience.

That brings us to long tail keywords.

How Long Tail Keywords Can Bring You Qualified Traffic

Long tail keywords are typically three or more words. For example, “fitness training programs” is a long tail keyword.

You’ll notice that because it’s longer, it’s also way more specific than “fitness.” As a result, it gets less search traffic in Google.

long tail keyword research tips

See that? A measly 2,400 searches per month, compared to 1,500,000 for “fitness.”

Barbara would see “fitness training programs” and think it was a total snooze fest. Everyone thinks bigger is better — but that’s not always the case, especially when it comes to keywords.

What’s so great about long tail keywords like “fitness training programs” is that they’re much more targeted. If someone is searching this in Google, then we know they’re interested in what Barbara is selling.

This means we’re going to convert more traffic into clicks.

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Imagine it like this (and this is purely for the sake of having an example): Using the keyword “fitness,” 5,000 people might see you in Google search results, but only two click people click on the link to go to your site.

2/5,000 is 0.04%.

Now imagine you used the keyword “fitness training programs.” Only 1,000 people saw you in search results, but 10 of them click to go on your website.

10/1,000 is 1%.

You see where I’m going with this. The long tail keyword doesn’t get you as much traffic as the short tail keyword, but because it’s more specific and targeted, it send more traffic to your website. Your conversion rate is higher.

This is why you should be prioritizing long tail keywords over short tail keywords. 👍🏻

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2. Look at the Related Keywords Google Suggests

Google’s a smart cookie. It knows what you’re thinking before you’ve even though of it. In fact, it delivers to you keyword selections related to the one you’re using.

Brilliant.

You’ll find these suggestions in two places.

First, start typing something into Google. For the sake of consistency, let’s keep rolling with my “fitness training programs” example.

If I start typing this in Google, here’s what happens:

google keyword research tips

You see how it auto-populates with search terms that start out the same? These are phrases people are actually searching.

If you guessed this means that you might want to incorporate some of these into your blog when it makes sense, you are correct, my friend.

The second place you can find related searches is at the bottom of the first page of Google search results. When I type in “fitness training programs,” hit enter, and scroll to the bottom of the page, I see this:

google related search results

It’s just so beautiful.

Google takes so much of the guesswork out of this for you. Will all of the keyword suggestions make sense? Of course not. But you’ll certainly get some new ideas from them.

BTW, those numbers to the right? That’s from one of my Google Chrome extensions: Keywords Everywhere. This brings us to our next tip.

3. Use Keywords Every to Determine the Monthly Search Volume and Competition

You’ve probably heard me talk about Keywords Everywhere before, and it’s so good that I’m going to talk about it again.

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This is one of my all-time favorite keyword research tips. Keywords Everywhere is a Google Chrome extension (they have it for Firefox too) that tells you the average monthly search volume, cost per click (CPC), and competition of a keyword.

This is my go-to tool — the first place I check when I start doing keyword research before writing a blog.

Knowing how many monthly searches a word gets is obviously helpful. The CPC doesn’t apply to us directly since it has to do with paid advertising (those ads you see at the top of Google search results), but it’s still cool to see how much people are willing to pay for that word.

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The competition is also a reflection of paid Google ads. It indicates how many people are advertising that word. Competition ranges from zero to one — zero meaning not many people are paying money for that word, and one meaning a lot of people are.

Even though we’re not dealing with paid ads, I’m sure you can see why it’s beneficial to know how competitive a keyword is.

I’m obsessed with this extension, and it’s seriously the perfect tool if you’re new to blogging and/or keyword research because it’s incredibly user-friendly.

You can learn more about my love affair with Keywords Everywhere in this video.

4. Use Google Wildcards for Even More Keyword Suggestions

Want to learn a little trick that’s going to blow your mind?

In a previous tip, you saw that Google gives you suggestions based on the end of whatever phrase you’re searching. So for instance, if you type “fitness training prog,” Google gives you suggestions that complete that — like “fitness training program template.”

What if you want Google to complete a word that’s in the middle of your search phrase?

It can do that too!

It’s called Google wildcards, and all you do is replace the word with an asterisk, like so:

google wildcards keyword research tips

See how Google comes up with suggestions to replace the asterisk?

This is one more way you can come up with new keyword ideas (and blog topics!).

5. Research LSI Keywords

Latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords are words that are often found together when talking about a single topic.

For instance, if we’re talking about the keyword “gardening,” a few LSI keywords might be “planting,” “landscaping,” and “vegetable garden.”

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The reason we care about these words is that they serve as even more clues for Google, telling the search engine what the topic of your blog is.

To be very clear, there isn’t any proof (at this point) that LSI keywords have a direct impact on your SEO and rankings. However, it does force you to consider related words people might be searching, which could potentially lead them to your work.

As always, you shouldn’t cram these words into your blog. Only use them if it sounds natural.

And on that note, I want to leave you with one final piece of advice. Above all else, Google values the quality of your work — not the quantity of your keywords. More than anything, you want the reader to have a positive experience. I promise you aren’t going to “trick” Google by cramming your keyword into your blog 500 times.

Quality over quantity.

So there you have it — five keyword research tips that have made a huge difference in my blogging, and I’m confident they’ll do the same for you.

Get More Help Learning How to Do Keyword Research

Getting people to visit your blog is hard — I know. I used to spend hours writing what I felt were incredible pieces of content, only to hit publish and wait for the page views to start rolling in… and they never did.

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Now that I know how to use keywords to my advantage, I want to teach you how to do the same. If you enjoyed these keyword research tips, you’re going to want to grab this freebie.

I created a guide that will take you through my step-by-step process for finding keywords.

You can get the guide by filling in your name and email address below. The guide will automatically be delivered to your inbox. Magic!

(And yes, it’s 100% free.)

This process has helped me take clients’ blogs from zero to 1,000+ hits in just a few months. It really works. Check it out.

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