Quit Writing Blogs For Your Readers
An ode to proper keyword research as it relates to your blog strategy.
Stop it! You’re doing it all wrong! You need to quit writing blogs for your readers.
Actually, don’t quit doing that. Blogs obviously need to be catered to your readers in topic, content and value.
I guess what I should say is — quit arbitrarily selecting blogs topics to write about. “Blogging just to blog” will get you nowhere. Instead, your blog strategy should be keyword-targeted and data-driven.
Yes, providing value to your readers is key. Answer their questions, solve their problems, alleviate their pain points. However, I consider this the secondary goal of your blog strategy. The first goal should be for complete and proper optimization to rank on Google’s first page.
For every single topic.
You could be the most informative author in the world, but if you aren’t being found, it won’t matter. With this in mind, a blog strategy is only as strong as it’s associated keyword strategy. Every blog topic (and thus, every blog title) should be driven and motivated by thorough keyword research.
When inputing keywords into your research tool (HubSpot, for example), there are a few data points to keep in mind:
- Search volume
- Difficulty score
- Current rank
Items 1 and 2 help you land on appropriate keyword targets; Item 3 helps you keep track of performance. It’s a given: short-tailed keywords will have higher search volume, but if the difficulty scores are maxed out, no traction will be made.
For difficulty score, it’s important not to picture this as a “Yes / No” meter for an optimized blog post to rank on Google. Instead, it’s a gauge of the page authority. The sweet spot will be long-tailed keywords with moderate search volume with low-difficulty score.
Even still, arbitrary keyword research won’t do us any good. We could find strong search volume numbers with opportune difficulty scores and STILL not get found by the people who matter most.
Keyword targets aren’t measured only by data-points. Tie your research process into your buyer personas — the readers, the prospects, the customers who matter most. What keeps these personas up at night? What’s the biggest struggle in their day-to-day? What aspects of their work/life/play/weekend/hobbies are they trying to improve upon?
That is your content.
Conduct your keyword research through the lens of these personas. What is pain-point number one for them? And how would they search for a solution?
Struggle: Dormant lead generation through my social media channels
Keyword: how to increase the number of leads through social media
Blog Title: 6 tips on how to increase the number of leads through social media
Struggle: Low engagement on my email newsletters
Keyword: guide to email newsletter best practices
Blog Title: Your All-Inclusive Guide to Email Newsletter Best Practices
In its simplest form, keyword research should be framed around our personas’ problems; keyword targets should be selected based on opportune search volume and difficulty score.
However, how do you identify these “opportune” keyword targets. What’s the most effective strategy to maximize your research efforts? Mainly, it’s important to not be afraid of quantity of quality. The more keywords you research, 1) the more informed you’ll be on data trends and 2) the bigger the dataset for you to analyze.
Consider this: the long-tailed vs. short-tailed keyword differentiation should be ingrained at this point. However, in the first example above, how do we know that “leads” are what our personas are looking for? In your research efforts, leverage synonyms and variation to our main persona challenges.
Scenario A: Our persona needs help driving leads via social media
— Keyword 1: “how to increase the number of leads through social media”
— Keyword 2: “how to increase the number of conversions through social media”
— Keyword 3: “how to increase the number of contacts through social media”
— Keyword 4: “how to increase the number of prospects through social media”
— Keyword 5: “how to increase the number of customers through social media”
From a content publishing standpoint, our blog post will be almost identical whether we use “leads” or “conversions” or “prospects”. However, what if each one of those keywords has equal difficulty scores, but “leads” has 10 monthly searches whereas “conversions” has 1,000 monthly searches.
If we wanted to, we could also test variations on “social media”. What about “social channels” vs. “social posts”? What about just “Facebook”, “Twitter”, or “LinkedIn”. Land on the topics your personas are searching for, but don’t assume the verbiage they use. Lean on data instead.
Once your keyword targets are acquired, the rest is just a matter of finding the time to write: identify keyword → write blog → optimize blog → publish blog → promote blog.
So don’t necessarily quit writing blogs that cater to your readers. More specifically, you need to quit writing blogs “just to have a blog”. Be keyword driven and keyword informed to actually get your blogs in the eyes of your readers.