The Best Blog SEO Strategy for 2019: How to Find the SEO Blog Topics You Need
We all start blogging, whether for our business or for ourselves, with grand ideas. We write, we share, we encourage, we teach, but for many the ability to come up with new and relevant content soon becomes more difficult. After a short time, we may find ourselves staring at a blank document, unsure of what to say, and even less sure of what people want to hear. Soon we fear being unable to think of a topic, and that stress can make it even more difficult. How many of us want to quit when things become difficult? Quitting is not an option. Not when it comes to your business and your overall success.
Consider influencers, people who make a living by affecting the purchase decisions of others, simply because they have a following in a particular nice. They are successful because they are content driven, they constantly have new, fresh, engaging content. Google (and other search engines) love fresh content. Simply put, blogging helps SEO. Creating an SEO strategy for your blog will help ensure that you are driving traffic to your business.
In order to identify what to talk about, we need to fully understand what it is that you need to create (or not create, as the case may be). Traditionally the methodology for most bloggers was to create a large quantity of mediocre 500-word blogs that could be posted frequently. Content, not quality, was key. The idea was that a broad spread of keywords would drive traffic to your blog. As time has progressed, readers have gotten smarter, as has Google. This requires a new focus on what we publish for our readers. Specifically, we need to consider the following:
- Create a Niche
- Keyword Research
- Satisfy Search Intent
- Quality Over Quantity
- Average length
By focusing on these 5 attributes we can ensure that the content that we create is not only relevant, but it serves our readers. It’s crucial that you don’t let SEO aspirations prevent you from providing value to your readers. A person will read your content if its written well, but they convert when you provide them with an answer to their query. When selecting your topic, you need to take all five of these attributes into consideration.
Developing SEO Blog Topics
In order to develop our SEO Blog Topics, we are going to use our attributes as a guideline. These attributes provide us with the characteristics that each of our blogs need in order to be effective, but it also creates a roadmap that we can use to come up with specific topics for our blog SEO strategy.
Create a Niche
Some people will tell you to start with keyword research. This can be an effective way, if you have reliable gut instinct. The problem with keyword research is that everyone is using the same keywords. By creating a niche first, you are then able to identify valuable keywords within your niche that you can pull into your blogs. Creating a niche is not difficult, and can create a wide range of topics for you to write about. Start by taking the general theme of your business. From there you’ll create a bubble diagram by placing your topic in the center, and then brainstorming relevant topics off of the center.
In our example above, we’ve chosen Photography as our central topic. The five subtopics that were identified are all possible niche topics that can be used to create topics.
Another way that we can identify niche topics within our central topic is to conduct a google search. Enter your main topic, and scroll to the bottom. There you will find searches related to your topic, as well as questions that other people have searched for.
Search for forums related to your topic. Within the forum you can see the different types of subtopics, and within each subtopic a list of questions. Each of those questions has the potential to become a niche.
A fourth way that you can search for niches that relate to your general topic is to visit Quora.com or Answerthepublic.com and search for your topic. A list of questions generated by users will pop up, and each one of these has the potential to become another niche for your site.
Once you’ve created a list of possible niches’ using the techniques discussed above, it’s time to do your keyword research.
Keyword research serves us well in two different parts. First, it gives us an opportunity to see how popular certain keywords are, and it also helps us narrow our focus. First, we need to understand how to select a keyword from our niche, and then we need to know where to go to conduct the research for that topic.
I like to think of the different types of keywords as a little worm sticking out of the ground. Picture this by breaking a worm up into three parts, the head, the body, and the tail. The head is the most noticeable part, as it’s the part sticking up out of the ground, but it’s very small. The body is slightly less noticeable, but covers a slightly larger area. The tail is the longest portion. It may be the least noticeable, but covers the longest area. See the diagram below.
When we select keywords from the head category, we are choosing singular keyword phrases. The problem with these is that they are very popular, and have very high levels of competition. An example of this, keeping with our photography theme, would be “Lenses”. Conduct a google search for Lenses and see what kind of results are up there, and who the companies are that are listed on the first page of the results. Through keyword research we can find more specific keywords that have less competition that we may be able to rank for. Oftentimes it’s as simple as looking for a 2-3 word phrase that can be used. These are the body category of keyword phrases. Some of these may also be referred to as a longtail keyword (3 words or more). The body is a good place to be, because these phrases are general enough that they are still commonly searched for, but they aren’t so general that they have higher levels of competition.
An example of a Body keyword phrase may be: “Photography Lenses”. Finally, we have the tail, these are genuine longtail keyword phrases. These are for very specific searches, and will consist of 3-4 words. A longtail keyword phrase may be something like “Best Telephoto Photography Lenses.” An ideal balance will be using keywords that come from both the body and the tail categories, but trying to rank for head category keywords will be an uphill battle.
We also need to acknowledge the effect that longtail keywords have on conversion. There is a reason why most longtail keyword phrases have a higher rate of conversion. It’s because when people are being very specific, it’s because they are ready to take action. If you look at keywords from the head category, those people are much less confident about their decision making. They are still trying to decide what action to take, let alone whether or not they should actually take it. When we focus on the tail and body, we enjoy lower levels of competition, and much higher average rates of conversion.
Just because we’ve developed a good longtail keyword phrase to use, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t still investigate whether or not people actually search for those keywords. There are a few tools out there that can help simplify this process. Each one can benefit you in a slightly different way. Our recommendation is to try each one, and see what works best for you and your business.
- Google Keyword Planner: Here you can research your keywords as well as take care of your advertising needs.
- KWFinder: A keyword research tool that not only has an awesome interface, Obut also has local search features to show you how keywords are performing in your area.
- Keyword Tool: One of our favorites as this tool is extremely reliable, and also builds lucrative long tail keywords! Pairs well with Google Keyword Planner.
Satisfy Search Intent
When developing your niche, you likely came across a lot of information. There were a lot of questions that consumers had about your product or service. The thing that is going to set your business, and your blog, apart is to solve their problems. Yes, you have your niche, and you know what you want to use as your keywords. However, as you develop your blog SEO strategy, it will be necessary to ensure that you are providing real solutions to your target audience. The key is to create content that will answer your target audiences’ questions. To do so, we need to look at how we choose to format our blog.
For a consumer there is a big difference between “How to Select the Best Telephoto Photography Lenses” (did you catch that longtail keyword from earlier?) and “The Top Ten Best Telephoto Photography Lenses.” Both of these blogs cover the same niche, and have the same longtail keywords in use, but their intent is extremely different. Ensuring that you are writing the blog that your customers want is vital.
Traditionally, we see three different types of content on blogs: The “How To”, “The List”, and the “Visual.”
The “How To” blogs are mostly self-explanatory. The intent and purpose of a “How To” blog is to provide information on how to accomplish something. They will typically consist of outlining multiple steps that you can take in order to accomplish whatever the task is. (This article, for instance, is a good example of a “How To” blog.)
The “List” blogs are going to be centered on things that have something in common. These blogs may focus on things like “the best of”, or even provide checklists of things that the reader needs to accomplish. In our example above, the “List” is “The Top Ten Best Telephoto Photography Lenses.”
Finally, the “Visual.” Visual blogging is much different than either of our other two types of blogs. These blogs are largely visual, via photography, gif’s, infographics, memes and more. Whereas a typical blog may have a few graphics to support the text, in a visual blog the text is there to support the visual product. Sometimes these types of visual blogs can fall under one of the other categories by creating gallery images with supporting text. For example: The 5 Best Telephoto Images of 2019.
Identifying your consumers intent will go a long way towards building your blog SEO strategy and developing the topics that you want to write about.
Quality Over Quantity
In the blogging world we tend to believe that quantity is better than quality, unfortunately that’s definitely the old school way of looking at it. Thankfully, we’ve all come a lot farther since 2011 and we have tools and information at our fingertips to make us better. True, while it seems that more unique indexed pages would give us more opportunities to show up in a Google search, it doesn’t matter if those pages aren’t providing value to consumers. Google sees how your topic performs over time, and low rankings or pages with zero views can affect your SEO negatively, when we want blogging to help your SEO over time. In order to ensure that you are providing your consumers with quality content, we have to look at one very specific idea: Why are you blogging?
Why are you blogging? It seems like you would have already answered this question before reaching this point, but if not, that’s okay. Your answer should be precise. It should have a goal in mind. You are important, and so is your time. You do not have time for distractions, especially for something as vital as your business. If your answer is “to attract attention to my business” you are going about this all wrong. Set a precise goal (i.e. 350 new visitors monthly). Now, identify what it’s going to take to get to that point. Creating quality content that consumers want to read, over and over is a crucial part to building a following. If you are good, they will subscribe. If you are great, they will share with their friends.
By being able to quantify what your expectations are for your blog, you can create a realistic schedule for your blog posts, including where and how to share them. When we have a clear focus in mind, it helps us narrow our choices, and make the decision that is best for our business, and provide informative content to our consumers.
1900 words. You may be asking if it’s really necessary that your blog postings are that long. The answer is, maybe. See, a search engines algorithm is constantly changing, so very rarely is an exact number (like 1900) going to answer that question specifically. Here’s what we do know, 500 words used to be the recommended number for search engines.
However, in 2018 we saw 4 million blog posts published every day. With the increase in frequency of 500-word blogs, we’ve seen search engines give priority to pages that are providing longer content, as it’s deemed more valuable. With that said, not everyone wants to read 1900 words. So here we need to take into account our keyword research.
Consider your competition, specifically those pages that are on the first page of the search engine results. Those pages are considered to be an authority on the topic, hence their ranking. In order to compete with those pages, you need to know the average length of most blogs (at least on the first page) in your search engine results. Then, you just need to write more quality content than your competitors.
Remember, that while longer blogs tend to rank higher, it has little to do with the length of the post, and it has everything to do with the quality of content that you are providing consumers.
Bringing it all Together
We’ve covered a lot, so now it’s time to break it down and bring it all together. You need topics that are going to optimize SEO for your blog. What steps do you take?
- Develop your niche. You may have multiple. That’s ok. Write them down.
- Look at the niche that you’ve created, highlight keywords that stand out to you. Now, do the keyword research that is necessary to turn these into longtail keywords.
- Look back at your research when you were developing your niche. What were the consumers intent? What content were they looking for? Determine the type of blog that you need to write. Will it be “How To” or “The List?” Either way, use that information along with your keyword and niche to develop potential titles for your blogs.
- Compare your working titles against one another. Which of those titles provides you with quality content that will provide value to your target audience while still helping you achieve your goals? Those are the ones to circle.
- Once you have your narrowed down list, now is the time to complete your research. Review what you know about your keywords, and determine how long your competitors’ blogs typically run for those keywords. Your goal is to write an blog at least equal in quality, but longer in length to satisfy the search engines.
Your blog SEO strategy is essential to making your blog a success. When you blog, you provide fresh and current content that tells Google, as well as your audience, that you are an authority on your business, because you are tapped into what is going on in your industry.
A blog also keeps your audience on your site, and the amount of time users are on a website is something that Google notices. Also, Google loves links, whether you are linking internally to your own site, or giving other people a reason to link back to yours, blogging gives you the ability to do that. So, while creating topics that are going to impart value on your target customers may seem like it's something that is going to take a lot of effort, it is a gift that will continue to give.
Remember, as a blog is built, each individual blog post gives your target customer one more opportunity to find you, and it gives you one more opportunity to convert them. Take the time to find the SEO topics you need - and your business will thank you.