Jamie is a freelance SEO content writer. She writes for a large publisher in 6 verticals, and does freelance work on the side.
How to Find the Best Keywords for SEO Writing
If you're writing content that most readers will find through a search engine, rather than a direct link to the site, having the right keywords is vital. If no one can find your article, then no one can read your article. So how do you find the best keywords to use for your SEO writing?
While true SEO experts use much more complicated methods to find keywords, there are still some things that a beginner can do. Even a beginner can have relatively good success finding the best keywords for their SEO writing. Just use the following steps:
- Identify what your article is really about. Keywords must always fit the content.
- Research to evaluate traffic and difficulty.
- Look for alternative (but still accurate) variations of the keyword.
- Evaluate your options and make a choice!
Keep reading and I'll cover each of the steps in greater detail. I'll even suggest some free options for keyword research. I'll explain just what you need to consider when evaluating your options. By the end, you'll be ready to find some keywords on your own!
1. Identify What Your Article Is About
If you've already written your article, there are only so many options for keywords. You can not (and should not) pick keywords just because they get a lot of traffic. If your article doesn't match the keyword, Google will discount it from the results.
But if you have a loose idea for an article, doing some research can help you pick the perfect topic. To begin your research, you need to identify a starting point. For this article, I'm going to select "best authors" as my starting point. I have not performed this research before, and have no idea yet what my results will be.
2. Research to Evaluate Traffic and Difficulty
There are two main areas that I advise beginners to research – the traffic and difficulty of their keywords. SEO professionals take a lot of additional factors into consideration during research. But for a beginner, it's necessary to streamline the research into something more manageable.
I use SEMRush mostly, but actually prefer Ubersuggest for beginners. KWFinder is another good one. I'm going to use Uersuggest as my model.
By going to ubersuggest.com, I can simply type in my targeted keyword – best authors. Searching this, I find that this keyword is not a good one. The traffic is 1,900 (which isn't awful) but the difficulty is 76 – this is extremely high. I have next to no chance of ranking high enough for anyone to actually find my article in a Google search.
But, have no fear! We aren't done yet! Onwards, to step 3.
3. Look for Variations of the Keyword
Step 3 is why I recommend Ubersuggest for beginners. I don't think any other site makes finding keyword variations as easy or cut and dry as Ubersuggest does. It's not my first choice for all SEO research, but you just can't argue with how darn simple this part is.
We've already determined that my original keyword of "best authors" is a poor choice. The difficulty of 76 is just too high. I'm competing to get my article seen against professionals like Penguin Random House publishers – that's tough to beat!
Scrolling down on Ubersuggest, it's easy to tell almost immediately that there are similar, better, alternatives. The first two listed are the original "best authors" and a similar "best authors of all time." This one is also very difficult to compete for.
But the third one is perfect! Traffic is 1,600 (not far off from my original keyword, which only gave 1,900) and the difficulty is a mere 6. We have a winner – our working keyword phrase is (tentatively) "best authors all time".
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4. Evaluate Your Keyword Options
Now it's time to make a final decision. I can continue to look at other alternatives, but I see that there's really no way to improve my keyword choice. The next closest option is significantly lower traffic, and 20 points harder in competition.
For me, I like to use Google now and check out what's currently ranking for my keyword phrase. Punching the keyword into Google, I can see that the top results don't even match the keyword exactly. The results I get are "best books of all time," not authors. If I make an article that suits the keyword better, ranking high on their list should be very manageable.
Now the final step in evaluating is just to make sure that the keyword phrase is usable. For example, if I had already written my article, and knew it was really about the "best sci-fi books of 2021," this keyword would be a poor fit. I've said it before and I'll say it again – don't jam in keywords that don't fit.
If you're a freelancer who writes independently, you may sometimes need to do your own keyword research to drive traffic to your work. There are websites that offer free research options such as SEMRush, KWFinder, or Ubersuggest (my personal favorite for beginners).
Identify a starting keyword that describes your content. Then research the word to determine if it has enough interest and traffic to be worthwhile. Look for a variation of the keyword that offers the best potential for traffic, while still ranking fairly low for difficulty. Finally, evaluate the selected keyword, deciding whether or not it will suit your content.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Jamie Dixon
Jamie Dixon (author) from Pennsylvania on October 21, 2021:
The value listed is only meaningful if you run a website that makes money off ads, with a program like AdSense.
It's one of the more complicated things that you would account for if you were doing professional research as an SEO specialist.
But for the purpose of this article, it isn't really part of "cracking the top 10" so people can see your work via Google.
Good question! I'll do a post on AdSense and advertising soon!
BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on October 21, 2021:
I just tried ubersuggest out.
Looks easy, but what if there is no money value listed?
Does that still help?
Great article by the way. Giving us options to choose from and look these up is quite heplful.