Keyword Targeting: A Quick & Easy Guide to Writing for Search Engines

If you are a business owner in a competitive industry, it’s likely you know a few key phrases that are driving traffic for your competitors. You may not know how to do extensive keyword research, but you’ve seen enough Google Ads and organic search results to know which phrases are driving more traffic. You want to capitalize on that so you set up a blog and get ready to publish weekly articles targeting those keyphrases. But how can you possibly use keyword targeting when you’ve never had any SEO training? It’s true that SEOs are highly skilled at keyword targeting and on-page SEO, but if you know how to write at all, you too can write an optimized blog.

5 Easy Ways to Write Intuitively with Keyphrases

SEO copywriting is more intuitive than you think. Sure there are algorithms and Google releases those “scary” updates periodically. But if you are writing for humans first, Google will follow. Let’s start with some basics. As a writer, you should catch on quickly. (If you are not a writer, this blog is not for you. You’ll want to start with something even more basic like this copywriting blog.) Let’s explore …

1) Choose One Focus Topic for Your Piece

Just like any school paper or story, you will want to center your article or web page around one main topic. This topic (or keyphrase) ideally should be one that is searched for by a lot of people each month with little competition. With keyword targeting, you will get better results if you go after key phrases that are not being targeted by too many people. The less content being shared on that topic, the better chances your content will be able to rise to the top of search engine results. SEOs like me have many tools that can be used for this research and have spent countless hours learning all the tips and tricks of the trade. But, with a little digging and critical thinking, you can determine which phrases in your industry are popular by using Google Search, Google AutoSuggest, and Google Ad Results.

Google Search: Type in your search query and see what similar phrases pop up the most.

Google AutoSuggest: Start to type in your search query and see what auto-populates in the search bar. Google will suggest various searches based on what others are typing into that box.

Google Ads: Notice which similar phrases are being targeted in the Google Ads at the top and bottom of your search results. People are paying good money to target those key phrases, so that will tell you that they hold value.

Once you have your main key phrase to focus your article around, you can start to write the piece.

2) Break into Subtopics

The first thing you should do when you start any blog is to break your topic down into mini-topics. These will become the subheadings of your article. (You may even find that your blog can be broken down into several blogs. That’s great! Now you have a series.) When you think of subtopics, run them through Google just like your main key phrase and make sure you have a good version of the topic. These become secondary keyphrases for your article, adding more SEO value and giving your blog a chance to be found for multiple key phrases. Hint: All secondary key phrases should tie back to the main topic! This breakdown should be an intuitive part of the blog writing process. How many outlines have you written before starting an academic paper? I thought so!

3) Use Synonyms and Long-tail Keyphrases

One mistake that SEO novices make is to use only one variation of your main keyphrase throughout the blog or web page. If done too much, this can actually raise a flag with Google because it looks spammy. Instead of littering your copy with the same phrase over and over (which BTW, will BORE your audience!) do what any great writer would do … use synonyms! Synonyms are another intuitive (almost second nature really) tool that writers use to keep their piece interesting. It’s also a way to add more SEO juice to your article! Closely related to the synonym and not to be forgotten are long-tail key phrases. Long-tail key phrases are exactly what they sound like. If you find a key phrase that holds a lot of SEO value, you can capitalize on it even more by using a long-tail version. Many highly searched key phrases are super competitive. If you hone in on what your target audience is really looking for, long-tail key phrases allow you to target them more effectively while lowering the number of sites competing for that space. For example: If I wanted to write about content marketing which has a search volume of 18,100 and medium competition, it would probably be more effective to target digital content marketing which has a search volume of 480 and low competition. (If you notice, I am still using the phrase ‘content marketing’ but I’m also taking advantage of the search potential of the long-tail version ‘digital content marketing’.) Using long-tail key phrases might sound intimidating at first, but once you get used to the idea, the strategy gets easier and makes a lot of sense! In fact, if you are already a writer, it’s very likely that you already use long-tail key phrases and just don’t know it.

4) Think Semantics

Which words are semantically related to your main and secondary key phrases? If you need a crash course on semantically related words, think of the word bus. What words are related? What I come up with is drive, road, seats, horn, driver, kids … and the list goes on. What words do people also use when talking about your key phrase. Including those words makes a lot of sense too and this also something you probably already do as a writer!

5) Write First, SEO Later

Another HUGE rookie mistake that writers make when optimizing their content is to think too much about the SEO part first. There is a very popular saying in content marketing and probably one of the greatest SEO tips you will ever hear. Write for humans first and search engines will love you! I’ll let you in on a little secret … Google only changes their algorithms to prevent content from ranking that is not relevant or engaging to humans. They want people to use their search engine to find relevant and accurate results to their queries. That’s why you should write your very relevant content in an engaging way before you ever begin the SEO process. Once you’ve finished, perform your SEO checks during the editing process. You will wind up with much better content that’s easy to read and more likely to be shared.

Learn More About Keyword Targeting

A single blog post is nowhere near enough space to share what you need to know about keyword targeting. To learn more about how to use your blog to effectively reach your audience, Contact us and ask to speak with an SEO Content Writer. We would love to share more information about how you can grow your business with SEO.

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Traci has spent a better part of the last decade developing a diverse digital marketing portfolio. As Content & SEO Team Manager at ITVibes, she enjoys working with businesses from various industries to develop data-driven content marketing strategies that yield high results. Traci is passionate about the inbound marketing process as a way to connect businesses with the exact people that are looking for their products and services at the exact moment they are searching. Traci is known for her highly-collaborative methods that help her realize the vision each client has to successfully create engaging content to captivate carefully targeted audiences across multiple platforms. She loves the ever-evolving nature of the digital marketing industry and strives to learn and apply new trends and methods as relevant to her client’s business goals. With a Bachelor’s degree in Management, Traci uses charismatic and creative leadership techniques to drive her team to reach for new heights each day. When Traci is not working, you will find her enjoying the daily adventures of life with a big family!