For new bloggers, with no or little knowledge about SEO, getting their blog at the top of the Google ranking can be immensely overwhelming. However, new bloggers can take some respite over the fact that Google is very forthcoming about rewarding bloggers who are really passionate about their blogs. In short, Google is not biased against anyone. If anything, despite intense competition, Google offers a level playing field to everyone including newly launched blogs. At the heart of it, the world’s popular search engine is non-discriminatory by nature.
Now coming to the SEO part then fortunately SEO is very simple, which should again bring a smile on the faces of new bloggers. But this is just a half-truth while the complete truth is that SEO is bit vast and succeeding in it takes lot of patience. But if patience is your loyal companion then probably nothing can stop you from monetizing your blog and earning decent amount of money every month.
This article will focus on three important fundamentals that cover the very basic level of SEO. But since this article is quite expansive, I have divided this article in two parts. Hands down knowledge on these three important tenets should be good enough for new bloggers to get a good head start.
The three important fundamentals that define the very basic SEO are keywords, content and backlinks.
This section will cover three sub-topics
- How to find keywords
- How to place the keywords
- The importance of long tail keywords for newly launched blogs..
Keywords are everything and anything that people type in the Google search bar. Bloggers have to essentially chase and target these keywords in their blogs to stand any chance of visibility in the Google rankings.
This brings to our first sub-topic how to find keywords
How to find keywords
From free tools like Google Keyword Planner to scores of expensive paid tools, there are several ways to find right keywords for your blog. But given that most new bloggers operate on a low budget they love to grab anything that is free and Google Keyword Planner is indeed absolutely free (no strings attached whatsoever).
Google Keyword Planner has two sections ‘Discover New Keywords’ and Get Search Volume and Forecast.’ For those who have just started blogging, this free service by Google can prove more than handy.
However, there is one thing that is equally free and is more readily available than Google Keyword Planner. This free thing is called common sense. Admittedly, a good common sense is like an intuitional power that tells us everything about things we’re really curious & passionate about. Therefore if you’re really passionate about the industry that you’re blog caters to then conventionally you must know all the latest trends, likes and dislikes of your target customers, fundamental tenants so and so forth.
These so-called likes & dislikes and latest trends invariably become your keywords. For instance, in the case of online makeup & grooming blog, most keywords will be obviously revolving around the latest makeup trends, topics and makeup solutions.
Conventional Keyword ideas for online makeup blogs
A new hairstyle that has become a rage.
A rising makeup artist who has caught the fancy of the media.
Simple and home-based tips for make-up and grooming.
A cosmetic brand that you think provides best solution for any skin type.
Before going ahead I would like to repeat it again that if you know the pulse of your industry and target audience then you’re 50% job is done in finding best possible keywords for your blog.
Apart from common sense, using ‘Google auto suggest’ is also a great way of searching for keyword ideas. Google auto suggest is nothing but search suggestions you see when searching Google. These keywords feature in Google auto suggest only because people search for them on frequent basis and therefore they should ideally feature in your keyword list.
Look at the below example
Just by typing makeup bolly Google auto suggest has thrown me quite a useful keyword ideas (Bollywood is an official name for Indian film industry). You can get scores of ideas like this by playing with different keywords.
Another great way of searching for keyword ideas is to scroll down and check the bottom of the Google search page. Whenever you type a keyword and press search, Google by virtue of default function provides related searches to those keywords at the bottom of the page. These related searches are again frequently searched by people and hence are in-demand keywords.
I have illustrated the example at the below screen shot. I searched for Bollywood makeup tutorial and got eight related searches to the keyword at bottom of the page.
How to place keywords (placement of keywords)
Now that you know some handy tricks to search for keyword ideas, the next step is to know about the placement of keywords. Where do you really place those keywords? Well, there are some places where keywords have to be placed compulsorily; like in the title and the URL link.
These two places are absolutely uncompromised as far as your keyword placement is concerned. The chances of your blog post featuring in Google ranking is nearly impossible if the targeted keyword is not placed in the title and URL link.
Moving beyond title and URL link, your keyword has to conventionally feature, at least once, in the first paragraph of the article. By using targeted keyword in quick succession in the title, URL link and first paragraph, you’ve given enough signals to Google that your article is trying to target certain set of readers with the help of this keyword. Now it is different matter that Google is unlikely to feature your article on the first page of ranking unless your site is backed by quality backlinks (more on that a bit later).
Now I would like to talk about ‘density of keywords,’ which means how many times the keyword should ideally appear in your entire article. Actually there isn’t any exact statistical answer to this question but most SEO experts agree that roughly keyword should not appear more than 5-6 times (including in the title) for a 300 word article. Keyword density is always subjective to the length of your article and therefore keyword should ideally appear 10-11 times (including the title) for a 600 word article.
Before I rap up this sub-section, I would like to highlight that don’t fall prey to the old tactics of overstuffing the keywords in your article. Those good old days of conning Google with such cheap tactics are all but over. Google will most certainly penalize your website if it finds several articles have repeatedly committed this offence. Lastly, all the keywords appearing in your articles should make editorial sense and their placement must be purely contextual. In other words, none of your keywords should be forcefully inserted. Over the years Google’s algorithm has become highly sophisticated, thanks to technologies like artificial intelligence and natural language processing (NLP).
Importance of long tail keyword
Apart from primary and secondary keywords, keywords are also categorized into short tail and long tail keywords. But here we’ll be talking only about long tail keywords, which is actually a fancy name for long keywords. Any keyword whose length goes beyond three words is conventionally termed as long tail keyword.
For example, ‘Uber’ and ‘Uber ride’ are short tail keywords while ‘special Uber rides for handicapped people’ is a perfect example of long tail keyword. But mind you length alone does not define long tail keywords, since they are also more definitive and conclusive in nature. This essentially means they usually seek to find a conclusive answer to a question or definitive solution to a particular problem; something that is not always true about short tail keywords.
For instance, in the example of Uber ride it is striving to solve the problem of handicapped people.
Now coming to the important point, why is long tail keyword so important for newly launched blogs? Well, this is because there is so much less competition for long tail keywords. They are like low hanging fruits and newly launched blogs (plagued by minimal traffic and almost no backlinks) should be very forthcoming about garbing these low hanging fruits.
Long tail keywords are low hanging fruits but they act like a tonic that helps new blogs to survive and lays a foundation for its consistent visibility in the Google rankings. Once this foundation is firmly established your blog can then realistically start targeting highly competitive keywords or short keywords
Here are some statistics to highlight the competition for short and long keywords
In Google keyword planner, the monthly average search volume for the word ‘make up’ is 10k- 1 Mn and comes under the category of medium competition. On other hand, the monthly average search volume for long tail keyword ‘make up tips for oily skin’ is as low as 100-1k.
Now it is no brainer that for a blog that was only launched barely a month ago, getting any visibility on Google ranking for a highly competitive keyword like ‘makeup’ is almost impossible. But the same blog stands more than a decent chance to rank for low competitive keyword ‘make up tips for oily skin.’
To shed more light on the competition aspect, check out the below chart.
In the above chart, we can clearly see that competition for short keywords ‘Tomato’ and ‘Digital Marketing’ is simply too high, with average monthly search volume hovering around 1 Mn. Barely two or three month old blogs don’t have much chance to rank themselves for these keywords. On other hand,
Advantages of using long tail keywords for new blogs
- Low competition
- High conversion rate – Remember I told you that long tail keywords usually seek to find answers and solutions to particular problems. If you’re blog posts are consistently managing to offer flawless answers and solutions then it will earn good number of loyal readers steadily and thereby bring that much needed organic traffic for your website. And this is what high conversion rate is all about.
- Survival tonic: With onslaught of competition from high ranking blogs in your niche, long tail keywords with low competition act like a survival tonic for newly launched blogs. Remember that to thrive and grow, you’ve to first survive the competition.
How to find long tail keywords
Use the earlier discussed tactics of Google auto suggest and related searches to the keywords (at the bottom of the page) to find ideas for long tail keywords as well. Remember to play with different keywords while searching in Google auto suggest. Here i would also like to reiterate again that your in-depth knowledge about your industry & field is equally important for finding ideas for any type of keywords, be it short keyword or long tail keywords.
Subscription to paid backlink analysis tools like Aherfs, Semrush and Majestic can also prove to be goldmine for finding ideas for long tail keywords. But mind you they are damn expensive and they charge hefty monthly subscription fees for availing their services.
Fortunately, there are some free tools that can play the ‘rescue act’ for new bloggers. Say hi to one such free tool ‘Answer The Public (answerthepublic.com), it is a website that tells you what people are asking and talking about in the online word with regard to your industry. Over the years, this online platform has become immensely popular among the SEO professionals for keyword ideas….
Just type any keyword pertaining to your niche, press search and then click on ‘download CSV’ to download the excel sheet. The excel sheet will throw up tonnes of keywords that it may almost take an hour for you to select and make a final list of favorite keywords you wish to target.
For instance, searching for the keyword ‘makeup’ got me some interesting keyword ideas like ‘which makeup brands are vegan’ and ‘how makeup affects your mental health.’ Both keywords, according to Google Keyword Planner, fall under low competition and seems pretty unique choices in their ability to attract organic traffic for any new blog dealing with makeup and related keywords.
You can also use popular public forums Quora to know about what your target consumers are talking about. Type any keyword pertaining to your niche in Quora and you’ll find tonnes of questions that your target customers are seeking to find an answer for.