Tuesday, 1 October 2013
Content is King | How to Write a Blog Post Including the Google Keyword Planner
I’ve written endless posts about a variety of subjects from restaurants and fashion to SEO and LinkedIn. Nearly every time I think I’m writing a post that all are going to want to read I’m wrong, and quite often it’s the simple ones about the places I’ve been, that dress I loved or a book on web usability I use as my web bible that get the most reads.
Two of the things that have become more and more obvious when thinking about how to write your next blog post are that
a) You’re much better off including an image than not, as posts with images are much more attractive on the whole, and
b) You need to make your post long enough. Short posts get fewer reads, less attention from Google and therefore less attention from everyone. That’s not to say that you should blah on about nothing in particular, but stick to your subject, make it interesting and keep the information coming.
Content is King, in two ways. You need to make sure that whatever you’re writing about is directed at your specific audience and takes account of their interests and needs. You either know your audience exceptionally well, or you’ll be using the Keyword Planner to find out what’s being searched for in your niche, a phrase or word where the competition isn’t going to throw you down to the 25th page of search and one which you can write about knowledgably.
Now that Google has killed off the Keyword Tool which we all knew and loved you will need to use the Keyword Planner to explore keyword volumes and competition. Take some time to get to know it. It’s free. It’s a mine of information and to not use it would be ridiculous. Why write about something you have an instinct about, which may be totally off key, when you can tweak that thought just a little and write about things that not only interest you, but you know others are looking for. It’s a kind of double whammy, but one that always works.
You will have to create an Adwords account to use the Keyword Planner which is annoying but you can still use it for free.
So here we go; How to Write a Blog Post in 6 Steps.
Step 1. Sign in and open up the Keyword Planner with an idea of what you want to write about. Of course everyone should be working off a schedule/plan, and if you’re writing blog posts for clients, as I do, this is a much better way to work. Otherwise choose a subject that’s close to you and put various ideas into the Planner.
Use the first option 'Search for New Keywords and Ad Group Ideas' to find highly searched, medium to low competition alternatives to your main keywords (and you'll be surprised at what's there and what you can get results from). This is the most useful tool. Make sure you click on 'Keyword Ideas' rather than 'Ad Group Ideas' if your keywords and alternatives are what you want.
Also don't forget to put in the location you want to include. You will have to go in and change this if you want to see separate searches for different countries and those for your locality but you can do all this from your main search results page.
Use the second option (new) 'Get Search Volume for a List of Keywords' to get exact matches for your specific list.
Unless you are going to use Adwords ignore the third and fourth options for the purposes of this research.
You’ll soon see what is being searched for (and what is not), where there is high competition and where the competition is medium or low. Click on the little drop down arrows beside the word ‘Competition’ until you get the low competition options at the top and try and write around one of those, using it in your title and in your post, several times.
Step 2. Write your Headline. Include your chosen keyword or phrase and try also to make it catchy and interesting. Interesting, by the way, is the key. You want to give your readers information they may need, or may find useful. But never be boring. That way will surely lead to no reads.
Step 3. Include an Image. Sometimes in a hurry I’ve written posts that don’t include an image and I find these are less read than those that do. Use an image that’s relevant to your post (obviously) and if you’re using more than one you can either stagger the layout so that they’re left and/or right of your text, or center them as I have here. Or just have one main image at the top. Either way include something that you think will draw more attention to your post.
Step 4. Write your Content. Write your content and include your keyword or phrase, probably no more than three times but depending on how long your post is. You don’t want to be accused of keyword stuffing by the powers that be, on the other hand you want to be found in search, so once you’ve found your precious word or phrase use it wisely and you will be found. Don’t let your content be too short. A couple of paragraphs does not a blog post make. Give yourself enough time to craft something special and make it work for you.
Step 5. Break down your content into readable chunks. No one is going to read a huge page of text so break down your content and make it more readable. I always find that posts with clear steps, or numbered hints particularly in a ‘how to’ post work much better than those that are just a series of paragraphs with no sense of the journey. I wouldn’t read them myself. It’s much easier to read something that is properly laid out. You can either plan this in advance (better) or break down your content after you’ve written the whole thing. Obviously a clear path will work better for you and your readers so try and do this first.
Step 6. Don’t stop there. Just writing and publishing your blog is not enough. You need to take steps to ensure that it’s read. Publish it to your social media pages, depending on the relevancy, to your audience on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The big danger of writing a blog is that no one will read it. There’s no point in publishing into thin air, any more than there is in creating a website and then not marketing it. Your blog can help you improve your website traffic, it can produce rich constantly – note that work – updated content for search which Google and other search engines will love, and it will give a voice to your knowledge.
And then of course, as a two edged sword, particularly if you’re a lone blogger, like me, you need to keep going. Ensure that your audience knows that you’ll be back to them very soon. Blog at least every other day. We all fall down on this at times, but the more you blog, interestingly and with relevancy, the more you’ll be read and listened to, the more clicks you’ll get to your website. Don’t give up. Make a start and keep on going. Dividends await…..
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