Four reasons why you should do keyword research before writing blog posts

Planning to write a new blog post? Discover four reasons why you need to make sure you do keyword research first.

A decade or two ago, when content marketing was first going mainstream, it was far easier to gain traction simply by publishing articles. Social networks encouraged you to share links, and they actually resulted in clicks. You could also rank on search engines and drive a ton of traffic simply by sharing your thoughts. 

As content marketing has matured, social networks and search engines have evolved. Their creators have modified the designs and algorithms to keep people on their platforms for as long as possible, so that the platforms can earn as much money as possible with ads. 

Nowadays, you only get a trickle of the traffic that brands once saw from organic social media marketing. Traffic from search engines has also gone down, but it’s not as bad as what you see on social networks. Still, only 49% percent of searches result in clicks, as Google wants to be the definitive destination for serving up the answers to people’s queries. This is the primary reason why you should do keyword research. 

Four reasons why you should do keyword research before writing blog posts

But there are many more specific reasons that you should consider. Read on for four of the most important. 

1) It helps you see which results aren’t generating clicks

As mentioned, over half of Google searches don’t result in any clickthroughs to third-party publishers. Today, Google shows all the information people need on the platform itself. 

For example, in the past when you searched “how big is a kilometer” Google showed a link to a website where you can find the answer at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). But now when you search that keyword, Google displays the answer right at the top. Many people see this answer and then leave or look for something else. They’re not going to click on any of the results. 

This is why before you begin writing a blog post or creating a landing page that could rank for the keyword, you need to look beyond search volume and consider another parameter, which we might call “click potential.” Using the best keyword research tools, you can see the number of people who click on a result after searching for a given term. This will ensure you only work on keywords that will drive traffic, instead of wasting time on those that will only bring in a trickle. 

2) It helps you find high-value keywords

Search volume and click potential will show you how much traffic you are likely to see if you rank well for a given keyword, but that traffic might be of low business value to you. Just because someone clicks through to your content pages doesn’t mean they’ll convert to sales. 

This is why you should also assess the value of the traffic. Many search tools these days will also show you the cost per click (CPC) bid rates of keywords. This is a simple metric you can use to determine if it is worth pursuing a given keyword. If your closest competitors are bidding high amounts on this keyword, then the people who search for it are definitely your potential customers. 

Another thing you might want to consider is the intent of the search. If you find that the top-ranking pages in the Google search results for a given keyword are promoting products, then these are buyer intent keywords. Ranking your landing pages for buyer intent keywords should be your top priority, as they will shorten your sales cycle, whereas these are likely not the best keywords to use for blog posts, which might rank better for educational, “how to” type keywords. 

3) It helps you figure out keywords you can potentially rank for

The biggest issue with high-volume keywords is the competition. Most of your competitors have already located them and have built a beachhead by writing great content and building a ton of links. 

If you want to outdo them, you too will need to build a high volume of links. This can take months and sometimes even years. If you do keyword research, you will be able to see how many links the top-ranking sites have, and you can figure out if you too could potentially rank for it. If you can’t rank, it will be better to pursue easier keywords. 

If you get keyword research right, you will sometimes find gems that are surprisingly easy to rank for and have super high levels of traffic. Many third-party keyword tools let you search for these keywords based on the number of links you need to rank, although often, link quality trumps quality. With the right approach, it can be a lot easier to find these keywords than it sounds. 

4) You can find secondary keywords

You will chiefly focus your writing on a primary keyword that you can potentially rank for. This will drive the bulk of your organic search referral traffic. 

But along with this keyword, you should also include a few secondary keywords. These will help drive some additional traffic. The secondary keywords won’t individually drive a high volume of traffic, but together, the difference can be significant. 

Therefore, make sure you use a thorough keyword research strategy to find these keywords and then place them in the key areas in your content. 

Now find your keywords!

If you are just blogging to pass the time, you can pick topics whimsically and write blog posts on whatever makes you happy. But if you want to build a profitable business that generates traffic that converts to sales, you need to take keyword research very seriously. It is one of the most affordable ways to drive organic traffic.