In SEO, everything revolves around keywords and key phrases. Of course, there are over 200 ranking factors, which is again confirmed by BackLinko.com. The keywords are some of the most accessible tools we have though, so you may want to keep your attention on that for a while.
In order to do proper research, start by getting yourself a keyword tool, software, extension, or even a subscription to one of the big providers. They are definitely worth your money and if you understand how to use them and what to look for, they WILL help you rank.
I personally use Keywords Everywhere, which is a very basic browser extension, but it does a great job for me, as I prefer a more relaxed and human-oriented approach.
Anyway, because I'll keep talking about the keyword strategy in another article, let's go ahead and see what I found out to be the best practices in terms of keywords.
1. Research Your Competition
I'm talking about blogs and businesses from the same niche as you. There's some sort of competition in every field, and it should be part of your marketing strategy in the first place.
If you didn't get to start doing it until now, it may be the time to see what other people manage to rank in the same market. To make things very clear, in general, you'd be looking at many aspects regarding your competition, not just the keywords they use, but if you're just beginning and doing this by yourself, you need to start from somewhere.
2. Don't Overachieve
The tendency for any new blogger is to try and rank for the keywords with the highest search volumes. Where does that take us? Well, it's usually a disappointment. Some specialists believe that your domain age will greatly influence the ranking data, and you may be able to rank high volume keys, but in fact, it's more important to have updated and quality content, confirmed by Matt Cutts HERE.
What I'm saying, is that you should try and rank keywords with a volume of about 200-300 at first, and go from there. Check your stats, check where you stand in the searches, and adjust your strategy.
3. Check Google's Suggestions
In general, when we search for a page, we will see suggestions as we type, and we will also see the 'People also asked' box at the end of the page. If you are not sure about the keyword you are trying to rank, then go ahead and check those too.
People are different, and as I always say, the human factor has a GREAT impact on these things. You need to try and make everything accurate for the people, and the results will come along.
4. Check the SERP
You will often see the SERP when you search for something. Whether we're talking about featured offers, featured snippets or different questions answered, you need to check those out too, as they will give you an idea upon what people are looking for.
Some very close terms may provide completely different results, and if you pay close attention, it will help you see where you stand on the topic.
5. Use Long-Tail Keywords
I call these, key phrases because it makes more sense to me, but that's not a rule. These long-form keywords are often ignored because most specialists consider that they don't rank.
In fact, they do. Of course, not as high, but you don't need that in the beginning. You need to find a solution for your blog, and if that works for you, then go ahead and pick one. They can be easily implemented into a headline and will definitely help you rank.
6. Place Your Keywords Right
By this, I mean that you have to place them at least in your headline(H1 tag). Everything you write needs to be structured correctly and appealing to the people. I understand you want the search engine to boost your content, but before that happens, you need to make sure that your blogs are valuable for the audience.
If you are confident you did a great job and your content is good, then you should take a break and stop thinking about the things you can not control.
To end this article, I am going to say once again, that your content and keyword strategies need to be in place, running, and in a constant updating process. Whenever you find some more information on a topic, go ahead, and update your articles.
Ultimately, you shouldn't feel overwhelmed by the very strict(and sometimes absurd) guidelines. You should keep focusing on your message, on your mission and on a good overall image of your blog.
If you're new to the wonderful world of blogging, make sure to check out this article and see the basic concepts you need to know, and also remember to give me a follow on Instagram to stay posted with the latest blogs, updates and of course, motivation to keep going!