Part 1: Keyword Research and Competition

writing for the web

We’ve put together a great three-part guide to help you make the most out of your content and social media efforts.

Over the next three posts, we’ll show you how you can increase the engagement and shareability of your content through understanding the basics of keyword research, your competition and user psychology.

During the course of the series, we’ll cover:

  • Keyword and competition research
  • Powerful headlines and titles
  • User-centric style and user behavior 

 

Preparation

Before you write a single line, it's important to know whether what you’re planning on writing will benefit your target market and if there’s an existing (or growing) demand for your subject matter. 

Find this out by doing your keyword research.  This shows you what users are searching for on the search engines or on social media.

 
Do Your Keyword Research

A Moz.com study1 found that 80% of website traffic can come from organic searches. With those kinds of stats, it’s hard not to recommend starting the planning of your content with keyword research.

For keyword research, you can use tools such as:

  • Google Keyword Planner2  This is a free tool from Google that let’s you enter a search term and find out how many searches per month the term receives. You can use this for free by signing up to Google Webmaster Tools3

  • Market Samurai4  This takes the keyword planner to the next level by giving you further data on competition, other keyword ideas and their commercial value.
  • Google Trends5. This is a great tool that lets you see the popularity of search terms over time, so that you can get an overview of whether you’re covering a subject rising or falling in demand.
  • Hootsuite6. This is a social media marketing tool that lets you manage all of your social networking accounts in one place. You can monitor hash tag activity and follow searches too, which gives you an idea of how frequently your search term or topic is being used or searched for on social media.
  • You can also manually search for your search terms on your social network of choice in order to check the level of content and engagement around your chosen topic.

Keyword research is a great place to start in order to formulate your concepts and ideas into the beginning of something practical and will help form the foundations of your content.

 
Competition Analysis

The last thing to consider before putting pen to paper (or finger to key) is whether you’re content concept or idea is original. We can check the originality of our content by checking on any potential competition on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

If you aren’t using software like Market Samurai, the best way to get an idea of the level of competition around your topic is to simply search for it yourself using your newfound keywords.

Search for your title ideas on Google, Bing and Yahoo and check the results on the first page for a glimpse at your competition. Has anybody else written anything similar (or the same)? If so, ask yourself a few questions:

 

  • Is your concept better?
  • Can you beat it?

 

If the answer to any of those is no, ask:

  • Do you have something to add?
  • Have they missed something?

 

If you can answer yes to any of the above questions, you’ve got yourself a place to start.

 

The Importance of Keyword and Competition Research

Without keyword research, your website, blog or article will have a hard time finding traffic. If you know what people are searching for, you've got a solid foundation on which to build your content.   

And if you're not aware of your competition, you run the risk or regurgitating or even plagiarizing content. This will not only damage your reputation, but will also add to the deluge of sub-standard content online. 

 
Part 2: The Power of the Title

Next week, well start getting into writing the actual article and look at the single most important aspect of any piece of content: the title. 

 

1 http://moz.com/community/q/what-is-the-average-percentage-of-traffic-from-search-engines-that-a-website-receives

2 www.google.com/sktool/

3 https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/

4 http://www.marketsamurai.com/c/Kane1

5 www.google.com/trends

6 https://hootsuite.com/

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Posted by Tuesday, July 22, 2014 4:46:00 PM Categories: blogging content development SEO