If you’re thinking of launching a new blog in 2012 then as you’ll no doubt be aware there’s a fair bit of competition out there! Whatever the topic you’re planning on blogging about you can be sure that there is someone already out there doing the same thing, who has already written a load of the posts that are still in your head. But fear not, there is always room for another stand out blog in any niche for a blogger who is willing to go the extra mile and produce genuinely compelling content.
For most bloggers the writing is actually the easy bit – its getting the traffic which causes the most headaches (and indeed heartache!). One of the best ways to get regular traffic to your blog is through a solid SEO strategy – by tailoring your content to the keywords which people are searching for on Google you can pull traffic direct to your site and hopefully convert those searchers into regular readers. Now SEO can be complex but at the most basic level its actually pretty simple – blog about what people are searching for, use the keywords they’re using and with a bit of luck, and a bit of time you should start seeing some traffic.
The problem with this system though is the competition – because more established blogs are favoured by Google over new, un-trusted sites if you are competing for keywords which your competitors are already using you’re going to struggle to outrank them. Instead you need to choose keywords which have little or no competition at first – you will get less traffic off them, but as your blog gets more established you can go after those more competitive terms. Here are some tips for finding these magic “long tail” keywords.
Google Keyword Tool
Google keyword tool is pretty much the defacto solution for researching keywords for free. Its not the best tool out there, but it is free so its good for beginners! Start by throwing some generic terms related to your subject into the tool, you can be pretty broad at this stage. The tool will throw back a list of suggested keywords which you can sort by competition (in this case from low to high). That will hopefully give you a few topics or themes you could blog about. Now head over to Google.com (or your local version) …
Google Auto Complete
Formerly Google suggest. This is a great tool for very quickly brainstorming blog post ideas and keywords. Start plugging in your keywords and Google will start showing a bunch of terms which people have been searching for similar to the term you’re searching. This often uncovers niche terms which aren’t included in the Google keyword tool yet because perhaps people have just started searching for them or because they have lower search volumes.
Create your content
With some ideas of topics and keywords in place you’ll need to now turn this list of phrases into a plan of attack. When your blog is new you’re best off writing in-depth posts which cover topics in lots of detail and include all of your keyword variations within the one post. For example the title of your post might be:
“How to make money online with SEO”
As that is the main keyword. Then within that post you would want to include a number of keyword variations like:
“How to make money online with search engines”
“How to make money online with seo marketing”
“How to make money online with search engine optimization”
Plan future content
Its always best to keep the focus of your blog narrow and niche to begin with and branch out later. This way you’ll find it easier to attract a small but loyal subscriber base – essential for getting your new blog off the ground. So don’t just write one post on a subject and then move onto something else entirely. To come back to the example we’ve used above you might want to make your next post either about “how to make money online” or about “SEO”. This way you can refer (and link) back to the earlier post and build up the amount of content your blog has on the subject. Becoming an authority on a subject is the best way to attract links from other bloggers and make your name in the niche you’re working in, and these links will help your content to rank higher.
In summary, this is obviously a high level view of how you can use keywords to drive traffic to your blog but hopefully it helps explain the types of keywords you should be going after and a strategy for targeting them in your writing.