How to Conduct Keyword Research for your Blog

How to Conduct Keyword Research for your Blog

Biannual Blogathon BashThis post is a mini challenge for the Winter 2016 edition of the Biannual Blogathon Bash. While anyone can use this information for keyword research, only participants of the Blogathon are eligible for prizes. If you’d like to learn more or sign up, check out the Biannual Blogathon Bash website!

If you are hoping to get search engine traffic to your blog posts, keyword research is a must. SEO relies on the right keywords, and you aren’t doing yourself (or your blog) any favors just blogging with no specific keyword or phrase in mind.

Don’t worry, however, if you’ve never done keyword research…it’s actually fairly easy once you get the hang of it! And the more you do it when planning your posts, the more Google and other search engines will reward you for your efforts.

How to Conduct Keyword Research for your Blog

There are two ways you can do keyword research – manually, with Google’s Keyword Planner. Or, you can purchase/subscribe to a keyword tool that will show you everything Google’s tool does, and much more!

I’ll show you both ways of doing keyword research, so you can choose the best for you.

Keyword Research – The Free Way

With Google’s Keyword Planner, you will need a Google account, as you have to go into their Adwords section to use it. If you have a Gmail account, use those login details.

Google Keyword Planner

Once in, you are going to search for a keyword phrase you want to blog about. Here, I searched for blogging tips. There will be a large bar graph on your page, and just below that you’ll see a tab for “Ad groups” and a tab for “Keyword ideas”.

Click “Keyword Ideas” to see info for the phrase you searched for as well as related searches. You can click on “Avg. Monthly Searches” to sort the list from the most to the least searches.

Searching for Keywords

For some of the highest searched keywords, it is saying “Low” under competition. This isn’t for you to rank, this is about advertiser competition – how much they are competing in Adwords to rank for these keywords. You’ll also see suggested bids, which is also for Adwords.

With Google Keyword Planner, I would scroll down to the phrases that are searched 2,000 times or less each month. These keywords will typically be easier to rank for, but this tool doesn’t provide you with any way to see exactly how difficult the first page of search results will be to get on.

That info would come from a paid tool.

Make note of any and all keywords you’d like to use in your upcoming blog posts. Pick a main keyword, and sprinkle related phrases throughout the post to help rank better for your topic!

Keyword Research – The Paid Way

I have been using Long Tail Pro to research keywords for my blog since 2011. Now, I admit that I don’t use it for every post, like I should, because sometimes I get a little lazy. But since my Pinterest traffic overtook my Google traffic, I’ve been more focused on keyword research and SEO.

LTP is downloaded to your computer, so you aren’t distracted with the internet when you are conducting your research!

Long Tail Pro Keyword Research

To research keywords in LTP, I would first create a new project. I’ll call this one “Blogging”. Then I’ll click “Find Keywords” and add some seed keywords. This will give the tool some direction, as it will return related phrases back to me.

Keyword Research with Long Tail Pro

As you can see, from those two seed keywords, I got over 1100 results. I took out the ones with high advertiser competition, and that left me with 998. I again sorted by local (US) searches to see which ones were the best to go for.

The great thing about LTP is that it also shows you the top ten search results for a keyword. That way, I know whether or not to try for a phrase, based on the authority and links to pages that are already ranking.

Search Results Competition

For example, “how to make money” has sites with a lot of page links and domain authority. Plus, their site ages are really high. It would be difficult to rank for this keyword.

The term “how to start a blog and make money”, however, has less average page authority, site age, and links…and the exact term isn’t used in the titles of the resulting pages. This one would be much easier to go for.

Keyword Research Competition

You can save your searches, add more keywords for even more results, and favorite the keywords you want to blog about. This makes it easy to start and stop your keyword research as you need to.

Your Mini-Challenge

For this mini-challenge, you are going to do some keyword research for your own blog. Use Google’s Keyword Planner or Long Tail Pro — your choice!

  1. Search for keyword phrases you would like to blog about.
  2. Sort by the search volume, and find 5 keywords that you want to try ranking for.
  3. For each keyword, find 2 supplemental keyword phrases — to increase the SEO of your posts.

Comment below when you are done, and feel free to ask any questions as well!


  1. Hmmm…I’ve never had to give a credit card to access the keyword planner. I just sign in with my Gmail details to access it.

  2. The “Low, Medium, High” rankings are the amount of Adwords competition for a given keyword. Some niches have keyword phrases that are super hot, even with the lower searches.

  3. I can’t get around entering my credit card info either to use Google Adwords. Wish I could afford the LongTailPro. Wish we didn’t have to pay even to try it out. I’ll have to keep this in mind. One of those resources I’d love to have and likely need. Thank you for hosting this helpful challenge. Pinning for reference.

  4. Ok finally got the Keyword Tool working for me with Kathleen’s help during the chat tonight. So in your example above for the Keyword Tool, you said to shoot for keyword terms less than 2k searches, that means you would not have picked any of the keywords in the screenshot? Does the Low, Medium, High matter to bloggers? It seems not to.

    Well I finished the challenge and researched keywords for two of my blog’s topics (bullet journaling and rheumatoid arthritis) that I would like to blog more about. This will be very helpful too in coming up with post ideas in these areas. Thank you.

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