How do you find the right keyword phrases and effectively optimize your posts for them?
I personally use the steps below which have worked well for me.
But keep in mind that not all your blog posts will bring you tons of traffic at first, but if you use the steps I’ve outlined, you’ll be giving each of your blog posts the best opportunity to improve your blog’s ranking over time, and step 5 will be part of your ongoing strategy.
Step 1: Find your focused keyword phrase
Don’t just sit down and write about whatever pops into your head. To get the attention of your audience you need to write about the things they need answers to or need information on. Then find best keyword phrase that describes what your post is about.
Start with a keyword phrase that your target readers are looking for. For instance, long tail keywords will help you find a specific focus when writing.
The keywords ‘running shoes’ isn’t focused, but the keywords ‘long distance running shoes’ is a long tail phrase that is a lot more focused. Once you have a long tail focused keyword phrase, use it in your post title and within the post itself.
Additionally, thekeyword phrase should be something that has a decent number of people using it to search for your subject matter and has a relatively low number of competing websites. Finding a highly searched keyword phrase with a low number of web pages optimized for that phrase has a formula, it’s called the Keyword Effectiveness Index or KEI.
For any given keyword phrase you can figure out the KEI yourself if you dare:
KEI = (P^2/C). P squared is the popularity of the keyword and you divide that by ‘C’ (competitiveness).
But I don’t do that, too much work, I use Wordtracker. It’s just easier and more accurate that way, and since using good, focused keyword phrases is at the heart of better ranking and more traffic, I highly recommend using a professional tool as opposed to a free tool simply for beating out the competition, here’s why:
Step 2: Create your post outline
Once you know what you want to write about, outline your post. I’m not great at outlines so I use Jonathon Ledger’s ‘Write that Report‘. I write for 3 blogs so this guide helps me write, whatever it is, better and faster. Totally worth the $7 I spent.
While writing your outline make sure your title contains your keyword phrase and that your post itself delivers on the promise of that title.
You should use your keyword phrase in the body of your post but I’d recommend using it only once or twice, then use similar words. For example, if your main keyword phrase is blue shoulder bag, use the word ‘blue purse’ on occasion.
You may also include your keyword phrase in at least one of your header tags (H1,H2), but doing this too many times can appear as spam. Keep this to a minimum.
Step 3: Compose high quality blog posts
There’s lots of advice for creating awesome blog content but basically, when I read a post I like it to be interesting, useful and unique, don’t you?
It’s going to be hard to find a completely original topic every time you write but you can make it unique by adding your own personal thoughts, your experiences, insights and advice. Then say it in your own words like you’re talking to a real person.
After you create your outline, you’ll be able to write your post quickly. At this point, don’t even think about your keyword phrase, just make sure you’re sticking to your topic. Stay focused on writing for people first and the search engines second.
Once you’re blog post is completed, go back and make sure that you have used your keyword phrase 2 to 3 times in your post, depending on the post length, and don’t forget to include words that are similar to your keyword phrase.
Spam alert: If you find that you’ve used your keyword phrase too much simply vary the phrase by using other similar words.
Step 4: Add images
Try to add at least one image to your blog post and make it something relevant to the content.
Use your keyword phrase in the alt image tag and image description. If you use WordPress, you’ll be able to see where to add your keywords when you click on the button to edit the image in WordPress.
Google can read text, but it cannot read images, yet, so by adding a description and an alt image tag, you’ll be giving the search engine something to read related to the content of your blog post.
Step 5: Add links
For every blog post you write, keep a list of the key phrase. Then when writing new posts, create text links to older relevant posts using these key phrases.
The more links you can give a post by linking to it, the more link juice it will get, even though the links are internal. The search engines love this natural linking structure, but you’re also pointing your readers to information they will benefit from.
One suggestion that has surfaced with the new Panda update is to vary your linking text. So for example, if you’re linking to a post that is optimized for the keyword phrase of ‘ black patent leather heels ‘, try varying the text links to that post using other similar phrases like ‘shiny black leather pumps’ or ‘black leather shoes’.
But don’t limit your link building to just internal links, that looks suspicious to Google and could result in lower rankings. Link to external sites that add value. In many cases those external sites may link back to you, now you’re building link juice
So there you have it…
To get people to read your blog posts, start with the keyword phrases that your target readers are looking for, get your outline written and optimize it for your keyword phrase, write content that is useful, use and optimize images and don’t forget your links. These are all things that will help your ranking, and the higher you can rank, the more traffic you’ll get.