You’ve probably heard a lot about the importance of targeting keywords with your blog posts.
But why should you do that? And how exactly do you target keywords?
You’ll learn how in this post.
Why target keywords?
If your content ranks high on Google, you can get traffic consistently over time.
For example, we published this post on advanced Google search operators in 2018. To this date, we’re still getting tons of organic traffic:
But you can’t just publish any random post and expect search traffic to come your way. To get consistent organic traffic, you need to write about topics that people are searching for.
This is why you should be targeting keywords with your blog posts.
How to target keywords with blog posts
You now know why it’s important to target keywords. But how exactly do you “target” them?
1. Find keyword ideas
The process begins by figuring out what keywords you want to target. We’re not just looking for any random keywords—we’re looking for relevant keywords that people are searching for.
The easiest way to do this is to use a keyword tool. Keyword tools are databases of words and phrases with their SEO metrics. They show you a list of ideas based on the seed keyword idea you’ve entered.
You can use any keyword research tool. Many of them are free. However, most of the free keyword tools are limited in some way—they may have a small database, have poor or no filters, lack SEO metrics, and more.
That can make it difficult to make good decisions.
So we recommend that you use a “professional” keyword tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. Here’s how to use the tool to find keyword ideas:
- Enter one (or a few) relevant seed keywords, e.g., try plugging keywords like “coffee,” “latte,” “french press,” etc., if you have a coffee blog
- Go to the Matching terms report
- Switch the tab to Questions
You’ll see that there are over 300,000 potential keywords you could target. That’s too many—and most of them are probably too competitive. If you’re just starting out, it’s better to target keywords that are:
- High in Traffic Potential (TP) – TP is the estimated amount of search traffic you can potentially gain if you rank #1 for that topic. We calculate it by estimating the amount of search traffic the #1 page currently gets.
- Low in Keyword Difficulty (KD) – KD is how difficult it is to rank for the keyword in the top 10 organic search results.
Use the available filters to reduce the list down:
From here, you can look through the list and pick out those keywords that are relevant to your site.
Recommended reading: Keyword Research: The Beginner’s Guide by Ahrefs
2. Identify search intent
Google’s aim is to rank the most relevant content for any query. As such, it tries to understand why a searcher is Googling that keyword so it can serve the most relevant results.
That means, in order to rank high on Google, we need to identify and match search intent. Fortunately, we can do this by looking at the current top-ranking pages for your target query. Specifically, we want to identify the three Cs of search intent:
- Content type – The dominant type of content on the SERPs—in this case, blog posts.
- Content format – The dominant content format, such as guides, listicles, reviews, and more.
- Content angle – The dominant angle. Examples include the current year, for beginners, simple and easy, and more.
For example, let’s take a look at the top-ranking pages for the keyword “how to clean coffee maker”:
- Content type – They’re all blog posts.
- Content format – Most of them are how-to guides.
- Content angle – It seems like a few of them mentioned “with vinegar.” It could be a potential angle you might want to go for.
If you’re targeting this keyword, for example, it’s likely you’ll have to create a how-to guide on cleaning a coffee maker (perhaps with vinegar!).
Recommended reading: What Is Search Intent? A Complete Guide for Beginners