What You Need to Know When Choosing Keywords for Your Blog

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By tom.baldridge

Selecting the right keywords and search phrases to target in your blog content is foundational for attracting organic traffic from search engines.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore proven tips and strategies for researching and identifying high-potential keywords that align with your blog niche and audience interests.

Follow these best practices for keyword targeting to maximize discovery and readers for your blog content.

Why Keyword Research Matters

Thorough keyword research provides advantages such as:

  • Discovers topics and phrases your audience is actively searching for
  • Uncovers new content ideas and opportunities
  • Informs topics and angles with highest traffic potential
  • Identifies terms that are easier to rank for due to lower competition
  • Allows you to expand reach by targeting multiple keyword clusters

Basing content around properly researched keywords leads to higher search visibility, lower cost-per-click, and greater organic readership.

Best Practices for Blog Keyword Research

Here is a step-by-step process for effective keyword discovery:

Brainstorm Primary Topics and Categories

Start by brainstorming a list of your primary blog topics, categories and pillars that you already write about or plan to cover related to your niche.

This provides a framework for keyword research.

Identify Keyword Themes

Next, within each blog category, identify types of keyword themes and intent you want to target such as:

  • Informational (guides, explainers, tips)
  • Product-related (reviews, comparisons)
  • Questions and answers
  • Trending topics and current events
  • Local variations for your city or region
  • Competitor brand and product names

Research different keyword types that align with blog content formats.

Leverage Keyword Research Tools

Use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs to discover keyword ideas grouped around your topical pillars.

Look at suggested search terms, questions, and related keywords. Look for consistent search volume patterns.

Analyze Competitors

Review what keyword phrases top blogs in your niche currently rank for. This uncovers gaps and opportunities.

Use tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs to analyze competitors’ organic keyword rankings.

Search Google Manually

Manually search Google around your topics looking for long-tail keyword phrases and questions in autocomplete suggestions. Mine the wisdom of the crowds.

Consider Seasonality

Factor in seasonality and how search behavior changes by month or date for your niche.

Identify evergreen vs. time-sensitive terms.

Organize Keywords

Organize discovered keywords into groups or spreadsheets around topics and categories you plan to cover.

Include volume, competition data, seasonality notes. Delete irrelevant terms.

Types of Keywords to Target in Blog Content

Within your organized keyword groupings, look to target:

Primary Head Term Keywords

The core search phrases like “content marketing strategy” that get high exact match volume. High priority.

Long-Tail Variations

Multi-word long-tail versions like “using influencers for content marketing strategy”. Help inform topic angles.

Topic Clusters

Related keywords around themes like “content marketing metrics” and “content promotion strategy”. Expand reach.


Feature questions searchers ask like “how to promote content on social media”. Demonstrates expertise.

Trending Keywords

Timely, trending phrases like “Clubhouse social media strategy”. Capitalize on spikes in interest.

Competitor Keywords

What competitor brands rank for? Go after gaps to steal share.

Location Keywords

Local variations like “social media training Seattle”.

How to Choose Which Keywords to Target

When selecting which keywords to focus on, look for:

  • High search volume – Minimum benchmarks depend on your niche, but look for sizable search interest. Volume indicates potential traffic.
  • Low competition – keywords with lower competition will be easier to rank for. Tools provide competition metrics.
  • Relevance – Ensure terms directly relate to your blog niche and expertise.
  • Commercial intent – Some keywords have higher commercial value if they indicate user intent to buy things.
  • Alignment with pillars – Choose keywords that fit the topics and categories you actively cover.
  • Length – Shorter 1-3 word phrases have higher volume but more competition. Long-tail is easier to rank for. Find a balance.

Prioritize keyword targets across these criteria. Have a mix of primary terms, long-tails, questions, trends, etc.

Tips for Optimizing Blog Content Around Keywords

Once you’ve researched and selected target keywords, incorporate them into blog content:

  • Feature primary keyword in title and early in content
  • Integrate keywords in a natural way – don’t over-optimize
  • Include related long-tail variations deeper in copy
  • Link out to authority sites also ranking for that term
  • Answer any related keyword questions directly
  • Format content type according to keyword intent

Write topics around keywords but stay focused on creating amazing content vs keyword stuffed articles.

Tracking Keyword Performance

With an ongoing content promotion process, continually track keyword performance:

  • Monitor keyword rankings in Google and placement vs. competitors.
  • Check search traffic and sessions from target keywords using Google Analytics.
  • Review search impression share for visibility into ranking progress.
  • Analyze click-through-rate from rankings to gauge relevance.
  • Measure conversions and goal completions from keyword segments.

Evaluate metrics weekly and monthly to determine highest-performing keywords to double down on.


Choosing the right keywords to target and focus your blog content around is a foundational process that informs content creation, amplification tactics, and overall organic growth.

Use this guide to continually research and incorporate keywords that maximize discovery by readers interested in your niche and align with the primary topics you actively cover.

Have any other tips for researching and selecting effective blog keywords and phrases? Share your approach in the comments below!

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