SEO Content Creation – Part 1: Keyword Research

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SEO Content Creation article main graphic

Table of Contents

The key to SEO content creation is writing (and formatting) relevant and good-quality content.

In fact, one of most common phrases in SEO circles is ‘Content is King.’

SEO content creation is basically a 3-step process:

  1.  Keyword research
  2. Making Your Content SEO-Friendly
  3. Backlinks & content promotion

In this guide I will walk you through each step and its rationale.

But first, I will explain why content is so crucial for SEO (feel free to skip this section if you don’t need convincing!)

Why you need to write content to improve your SEO

Many companies invest a lot in creating a great website. A functioning, well-designed website is important for a number of reasons.

However, if your website ranks low on Google, the only people who will see it are (some of) your existing customers and maybe a few random people who see you on social media.

Not a great way to maximise the effectiveness of your website, right?

SEO is made up of a number of overlapping components:

  •  Technical issues:
    technical errors will drive away traffic and Google’s algorithm will consequently lower your ranking.
  • UX (user experience):

    A well-designed and easy to navigate website will increase dwell-time and reduce bounce rate. Google will notice this and reward you with a higher SEO ranking as a result.

  • Content:This a) gives the user more information and b) shows Google that you keep your website up-to-date.

  • Other (social media, paid adds, etc.):
    This helps spread the word and creates a new source for traffic to find your website (i.e. a way other than the user finding you through Google).

 

These components complement each other in multiple ways, and ultimately all are essential if you want to rank your website.  

Components of SEO Content Creation graphic

Why is content king?

As above-mentioned points show, there is no better way to keep your users and Google up-to-date than to regularly provide and update information.

If you already have an adequate steady stream of customers that you don’t want to increase, then that is fine – SEO is currently not for you. (And I don’t mean this sarcastically, some companies really have hit the sweet spot between capacity and workload).

However, if you are in need of new customers, then SEO is the way to go – and content creation will make up most of the SEO work you (or your agency/freelancer) will do.

Why is this? Because Google needs to know that your website is a source of information related to your product/service.

Imagine, for a moment, that you are Google. You see three websites: Website AWebsite B, and Website C, all work in Industry X. All three websites are set up well, have great UX and provide all of the basic information expected from business websites.

However, only Website A and Website B consistently post blogs/articles about different aspects of their industry and business. This will automatically push them ahead of Website C in your (Google’s) rankings.

Afterall, you are Google, a search engine, and you want to provide the best possible service to your users.

You can’t be certain that the businesses that own Websites A and B are provide a better business or service than the business that owns Website C, but you can be sure that their websites provide more information for users.

Now, the next important point to understand is that Website A provides better quality information than Website B. This is the case despite both of their blogs/articles containing the same information and being written by people with the same level of expertise.

What could be making the difference?

SEO.

Website A has tailored their content to make it more SEO-friendly, whilst Website B hasn’t. ‘Tailored’ here means a range of things.
 
Let’s take a closer look.
Content is king graphic

1. Keyword research

When Website A and B began writing blogs, they both felt they knew what kind of blogs users would want. Afterall, they both know their industry very well, so who better than to anticipate their prospective users’ intentions than them?

Google, that’s who.

If you asked someone in any given industry to name the top ten issues their customers want more information on, there would likely be a lot of overlap in the list they came up with.

But, as far as Google is concerned, this still wouldn’t be as accurate as doing keyword research.

This doesn’t mean that Google truly knows your clients better than you do, but it does mean they know what information about your industry users are searching for – because they have the data that shows it.

Doing keyword research is the best way to:

  • Make use of the information Google has to offer
  • Anticipate what Google is looking for
  • Ensure you are investing your time writing about the correct subject (more about this later)

Again, imagine you are Google. You are being bombarded with search enquiries about, for example German Shepherds.

Website B, which is an expert of German Shepherds, has recently posted the following articles:

  • When to start training a German Shepherd?
  • When do German Shepherd Puppies lose their teeth?
  • How much should a 6-month year old German Shepherd weigh?

They came up with these subjects almost at random. They either happened to be what the article writer was thinking about at the time or what they came up with in a brainstorming session.

There is, of course, some value in these posts because these articles answer questions that some users are asking.

But as Google, you aren’t being asked these questions a lot. You are being asked:

  • How long do German Shepherds Live?
  • How much are German Shepherd Puppies?
  • How to train a German Shepherd?

In comparison to the first set of questions, these questions are being asked a lot by Google users. So, to please the largest amount of your (Google’s) users, you should rank Website A, because it is answering exactly these questions.

How to do keyword research?

How did Website A know that these were the best questions to answer? Perhaps it was their intuition. More likely it was because they did their keyword research.

The first step they took was to use some free keyword tools.

Free keyword tools are useful because a) they are free and b) they can give you a rough outline of what keywords you should be targeting.

Let’s make a random example.

You are a brand that sells designer shoes. This is a competitive industry; you need to produce a lot of good quality content to get your website on the first page of Google and win a share of all that online traffic.

Step 1: Use Google

Go to Google and type in: “Designer shoes” – but don’t press ‘search’/enter. Just type the phrase “designer shoes” in the search bar and see what comes up:

Screenshot of Google search bar

This is our first bit of keyword research. We now have 9 phrases using the phrase ‘designer shoes’ (not including ‘designer shoes’ itself).

From these, you can choose which ones are relevant to your business and take a note.

Next, let’s try another resource.

Step 2: Keywords Everywhere (free extension tool)

Keywords Everywhere has a free extension tool that can be added to Google Chrome or Firefox.

All you need is a Google account. Sign in, then search ‘Keywords everywhere tool.” It should come up as the first result. Click on it and install it.

Now, open Chrome (or Firefox, depending on what you downloaded it for) and search:

Screenshot of Google search bar with Keywords add-on

On the right hand side you will see a long list of ‘Related Keywords’, and below that, a list of ‘People Also Search For.’ Read through these for more ideas on what keywords to use. 

Step 3: Try other free tools

If you still feel you need more ideas, try other free tools, such as:

KW Finder (free version)
Uber Suggest
Google Search Console

Important note: Free tools are an approximate guide!

Though useful, free tools lack the detailed data and general sophistication of paid tools. In short: you get what you pay for.

As I will show now, paid tools help you ensure that you are investing your time writing about the correct subject. This is because they also give detailed metrics and keyword difficulty scores that will let you know if a term is worth writing about.

Some keywords aren’t worth writing about because either too few people are searching for them or too many other websites are writing about them.

In the former case, a free keyword tool may suggest a word that you spend your precious time writing about without realising only a handful of people search this and it will bring an insignificant amount of traffic to your website.

In the latter case, you may be taking on a giant, well-established website that your own one can’t compete with right now.

In either case, knowing detailed metrics about keywords is essential. Therefore, free tools are merely for the first step of an SEO journey or a brainstorming session.

Paid Tools: Ahrefs

There are a few major paid SEO tools out there, each with its own unique strengths.

In theory, you could use more than one if you wanted to. However, practice most people stick to a single one because of the large overlaps between their functions.

Here is a list of the major players in this field:

SEMRush

MOZ

Uber Suggest (*Paid version) 

GrowthBar

To see an overview of their relative strengths, check out this great infographic by PageTraffic.

Let’s take just one of these tools (Ahrefs) and look at what results we get for keyword research on there:

Picture of Ahrefs dashboard

The first screen we get is very insightful. It gives an overview of the term.

Let’s not look at every aspect of the dashboard here, but just look at what we need to know for now.

Here we can see that its ‘keyword difficulty’ is rated 43, which is in the ‘Hard’ category. What does this mean? It means that there is a lot of competition for this word and it will be difficult to rank for it.

Now, let’s click on the ‘Having same terms’ section, which will take us through to a list of results:

Picture of Ahrefs keyword research suggestions

As you can see, this list you can see the related terms keyword difficulty (KD), the volume of searches it gets nationally (in your chosen location) and globally, the number of clicks it gets, and more.

Now, when you are starting out, the best tactic is to aim for keywords with a low difficulty score.

For example, in the list we see here, it would be ideal to choose ‘Babies designer shoes’ (if that was something you sold!), ‘best designer shoes’ and/or ‘wide width designer shoes.’ As your keywords (really, ‘key phrases’).

(Of course, in reality you would scroll through the entire list, which is much longer than the screenshot you see above, and find what terms are mort relevant to your brand.)

If we chose the above three keywords, the next step would be to write content that used them. You would need to think about this, and brainstorm some ideas. For the first term, that would include ideas such as:

  • 7 Best Babies Designer Shoes
  • How To Choose the Best Babies Designer Shoes for Your Child
  • Babies Designer Shoes That Are Popular This Season

Etc.

Read Part Two:

SEO Content Creation – Part 2: Making Your Content SEO-Friendly Once you have your keywords, you need to write your content. The difference between writing good content and writing good content that is also SEO-friendly is simple to overcome – I’ll show you how!
 
 

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