How To Use Keyword Research to Optimize Blog Posts

Many companies are working to tie in keyword research within the content creation process to ensure their content is being found on search engines when users are searching for them. This helps to create strategically written content that is designed around top searched keywords. Keyword research can be as simple or as complicated as you make it.  When it comes to keyword research for content, you can make it simple by thinking about it as a way to generate great topic ideas while also ensuring that the right audience will be able to easily find your content on search engines.  Here is what you need to know about keyword research and blog post optimization.
Keyword Ideas & Tools
When you perform keyword research, you will need to start with some basic keyword ideas.  You can get these by thinking about what keywords you would like people to find you with when they search.  You can also take a peek at your competitor’s websites and blogs to see what keywords they are targeting.  Assuming your competitor has done some SEO work, those keywords will be in their page and post titles.
Once you have a basic list of keywords (even five can be a good start), you can begin plugging them into keyword tools that will help you discover more keyword ideas.  Some great tools include the following.

Caption: Google Adwords Keyword Tool provides you with a ranking of keywords and estimated search traffic.

  • - When you go to and start typing in a keyword, it will suggest up to nine additional keywords that begin with your search query.  While not all of them may be relevant, it will give you an idea of what other people will see when they are typing in the beginning of your targeted keyword phrases.
  • Google Adwords Keyword Tool - This tool will go beyond just a suggestion by generating hundreds of keyword ideas based on the ones you start out with.  In the image above, by simply entering the phrase social media, this tool provides another 100 keyword ideas that include or relate to social media.  If you have a Google account and use AdWords, you can sign into your account and sometimes get even more keyword ideas.
  • WordTracker’s Keyword Questions - Instead of just giving you keyword phrases, this tool will give you questions that are often searched related to the keyword you enter.  Once you create a free account, you can do up to 20 searches a day and get up to 100 questions related to the keyword or phrase you enter.

How to Optimize Your Posts

Once you have some great keyword ideas, you will want to integrate those into your blog posts.  When it comes to creating content, you will want to make sure it is geared towards readers first, and then search engines.  This means you should look at your keyword ideas, think of a post title that revolves around that keyword idea, then forget about the keyword and write the content.  Once you’ve written the content for your audience, then you can optimize the content for your keyword phrase by doing the following.

  • Make sure the keyword or keyword phrase is in the title of the post and the SEO title tag for the post.  
  • Make sure the keyword or keyword phrase is in the meta description of the post.  While meta descriptions do not help your rankings for a particular keyword, they do stand out in search results.  You can see an example of this in the image above and how social media is bolded in the title and snippet / meta description beneath the link.
  • Make sure the keyword or keyword phrase is in the first and last paragraph of your post.
  • Make sure the keyword or keyword phrase is in at least one image ALT tag within the post.  
  • Make sure the keyword or keyword phrase is (if possible) in one heading within the post (H2, H3, or H4).

As you can see, keyword optimization isn’t that difficult - just make sure you use your keyword or keyword phrase where it counts!

WordPress Plugins to Simplify the Process
If you use WordPress, then optimizing your blog posts for keywords can be even simpler thanks to WordPress plugins.  Some plugins simply give you the right fields in your admin screen so you can enter the appropriate SEO titles and meta descriptions for your post, while others will go above and beyond to suggest ways you can keyword optimize your content.  Here are just a few of those plugins to try out.

  • Inbound Writer - This is a full service SEO plugin for WordPress that will help you understand what interests your readers, give you specific guidance on search optimization, and help you boost your content’s popularity.  They offer free and paid service plans.
  • Scribe SEO - This is another full service SEO plugin for WordPress.  It is a paid only plugin that helps ensure your posts are fully optimized with the best keywords for your goals.
  • All in One SEO Pack - If you don’t need suggestions but you do need the appropriate fields in your WordPress installation, then try out All in One SEO Pack.  They also offer free and paid versions of this plugin to suit your needs.

Thinking strategically about SEO optimization before your content is written can help you ensure that your website achieves organic search rankings for the keywords that are most important to your business. Try it out and see how it changes the amount of traffic generated for your next post!
Do you have any tips for marketers who want to become more knowledgeable about search engine optimization? What are you doing to ensure your posts are found by Google and Bing? Please leave a comment and join in the discussion.