Hey there RDs: are you learning about blogging to help your business grow?
The superpower that is essential for your blogs to work hard to grow your business is keyword research.
To get started with keyword research, the first step is to understand what kind of keywords are best to target (and what a keyword actually is).
There are a few factors that influence if a keyword is a good match or not.
The three main considerations are volume, difficulty, and intent; I’ll explain exactly what these mean and recommend my favorite tool.
(And if you’re new around here – welcome! I’m Holly Larson, registered dietitian, nutrition copywriter, and copywriting mentor).
Let’s dive in right from the beginning: what is a keyword?
What is a keyword?
Welcome to SEO 101: What is a keyword?
A keyword is a word or phrase that people use to search for information online, usually on Google.
The keyword is exactly what folks type into their search engine. It can be a single word, like “calcium” or a phrase such as “best food source of calcium”.
Even though the second example contains five words, it is still called a keyword (singular), which is a tad confusing grammatically.
Why does this matter?
As entrepreneurs, we are working hard to grow our business. We don’t want to waste time writing content that no one is going to see. If our blogs don’t show up in the Google search results, they won’t help to grow our audience, build trust with them, and convert those readers into customers.
By starting our writing process with solid keyword research, we get to feel confident that our time and energy spent writing will be worth it; this is the foundation of SEO!
Keywords are an integral part of SEO and should be included in your blog posts, titles, headings, and content to ensure maximum visibility on search engines.
Pick your keyword research tool
There are several good options available; my favorite is SEMrush.
SEMrush is a higher-end tool with a great reputation and accurate data.
It wasn’t in my budget when I first started though; I began with Keysearch, a more affordable tool.
Once you’ve picked your tool, it is time to start sleuthing!
Start with the end in mind
The perfect keyword helps your business to grow by attracting your ideal clients to your website by providing high-quality content as people are looking for help online.
The purpose of your blog is to provide value to your readers. What problem can you solve?
One of the main factors that you’ll evaluate a keyword for is the search volume. This helps us to understand if the topic is worth writing about. You want to make sure that enough people are searching for that term, so you can get the most out of your blog post.
High enough is a tad arbitrary and what counts as “enough” for your business will depend on your monetization strategy for your business.
If you’re a traditional RD entrepreneur working to attract 1:1 nutrition counseling clients, you don’t need as many readers to convert into clients. A topic with 100 searches per month in the US might be just fine.
But, if your goal is to have paid ads on your website, to sell digital goods or courses, you may need higher traffic volume on your website in order to meet your revenue goals. If this is your business strategy, you might say that a topic isn’t worth covering unless there are 500 or more searches per month.
In general, the higher the better, but we have to balance this metric against the next consideration: the difficulty level of the keyword.
Keyword research tools will also give a score for each keyword in terms of how easy or difficult it is to be on page 1 of Google.
High volume doesn’t matter if your blog post ends up on the 9th page of the Google search results; no one is going to page through that many results to end up on your blog, even though it would be amazing!
(In fact, I like to joke that the best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of the Google search results because no one looks there.)
When you have a newer, less established website, you’ll want to aim for keywords that are “easy.” As your authority grows, you’ll be able to target more difficult keywords.
The third important factor to consider is user intent: what does the person mean when they are typing that keyword into Google?
Ask yourself why someone would be searching for a particular keyword.
Are they looking for information or are they ready to buy a product? Understanding user intent will help you determine if you are able to match what they’re looking for.
For example, if you find a keyword relating to the best protein powder brands to buy, and you don’t sell them or have links for a reader to buy them, then you really can’t help the person with their quest.
But if the person is looking for guidance on how to pick out a protein supplement and that is within your niche to explain, you can match their intent.
So to recap, you want to find keywords that have:
- Enough volume per month to be worth covering
- Easy enough difficulty that you have a reasonable chance of ranking on page 1 of the Google search results
- A user intent that you can match
One more bonus consideration? Does the keyword match your business? Let’s discuss.
Stick to your niche
When selecting keywords for your blog posts it’s important to stay within your niche.
This helps your potential customers find you and feel confident that you’re an expert. And, it helps Google to understand who you are and how you help more quickly.
If you find a keyword that is totally out of the realm of your ideal client; skip it. There is no point in attracting clients who aren’t a good match for your business goals.
Where to use your keyword
There are a few spots where you’ll want to make sure to use your keyword in order to “optimize” your blog post.
But: more is not better – this can count as “keyword stuffing.”
Once you pick your keyword for the post, make sure to use it only in context. It should be included in your title and headings, but not used too often in your body copy.
Check out this blog post with a few more details on how to use good strategy with where you use your keyword: Keyword Strategy: 8 Places to Use Your Keyword.
That’s a wrap!
Now that you know the basics of keyword research, you’re ready to start optimizing your blog posts with SEO-friendly keywords!
Keyword research is an art and a science. There are no guarantees with Google. Just keep following best practices, track your traffic over time, and see what is working best to grow your dream business!
If you’re looking for specific and concrete ways to develop your writing skills, check out my free guide! It is the specific advice I wish I’d had when I was first learning how to write in a way to grow my own business, and folks kept telling me to “just practice.” Practice what? Ugh!