A subscriber to my weekly Dogear newsletter wrote in this—”If I could ask you anything it’d be how to mix copywriting and SEO in a way that makes your audience wanna keep reading while pleasing the Google gods?” Oh, those SEO gods. 😉 One of the most common questions that I get is, “how do I mix SEO content writing with juicy, helpful content that’s voicey, fun, and even playful to read?”. Sometimes that SEO strategy can feel a little bit robotic when you’re using keywords that are said the way you *probably* wouldn’t normally say things.
Now, while it’s unrealistic to actually land in that #1 spot for every. single. keyword that you’re going for—you CAN realistically land on pages one, two, or three. If you’ve ever struggled before with writing content and blogs that bubbles up and does land on pages, one, two, or three of Google, or heck, you don’t even know what keywords to use, well, you are in the right place.
By the end of this post, you will know exactly how to figure out keywords for your blog & website AND write great SEO-driven content with a better blogging strategy.
Also, read until the end because I’m going to hold your feet to the fire and give you a little challenge that you can implement today that will help you get on track to a better SEO strategy. 😉
I have helped thousands of creators and creative entrepreneurs like you make more money with their words. Not knowing what to say, even in your SEO content writing and SEO copywriting, should not be the thing that’s holding you back from making sales. The last thing I want is for you to get frustrated going for some keyword that you’re never going to realistically write for.
Let’s go through these 3 tips plus one bonus tip to find those keywords and write SEO driven blog content.
No. 1| Flesh out your idea list with related SEO keywords.
The first thing you want to do when you have this blog topic in mind that you’re going to write about, or if you’re gonna create an auxiliary blog piece of content for a YouTube episode or a podcast that you have, is make this list and then flesh it out with related SEO keywords.
Okay, so in last week’s video on my YouTube channel, I got you started with creating a “word salad” of sorts of different types of keywords that you should be going for. In this first step, we are going to flesh that out just a little bit more.
Essentially, what other facets of those subjects should we be considering or phrasing with more of a long-tail SEO keyword—which is a *justtt* fancy way to say a keyword that’s more than one actual word. This process will work for figuring out your SEO keywords that you want your overall website to rank for, which is what I’ll talk about in next week’s video, but right now we are applying it to a blog post or a piece of pillar content specifically.
I think it’d be helpful if I show you a quick screenshot of what my blog content outline looks like, take a peak into my blog outline below. I talk a lot about pillar pieces of content, that hero content. When I say blog, this is in addition to a YouTube video that I’m turning out every single week. What you can see here is a basic outline, and this is where I start every single week. 👇👇
So I duplicate this inside the correct folder, inside our Google file structure. And there is a SEO keyword section that I’m trying to fill in. So to fill that in, I primarily love these three tools —Keywords Everywhere, Ubersuggest and Semrush.
(Google’s Keyword Planner isn’t too shabby either, but those other three tend to be my favorites.)
I know there are so many keyword tools out there, so just find what you love and use it. I’ve tried tons of different ones over the years and these are the ones that I just keep favorited because they were easiest.
All right, I’m going to turn the camera around and show you what this looks like to find keywords by using (my favorite!) Keywords Everywhere and Ubersuggest plug-ins. This will assit you with some creating ideas that you can use in blog posts and beyond.
Alright, the next tool is called SEM Rush. I do have the paid version of this and I would recommend if you do a lot of content creation, I think the paid version is worth it. If you need more assistance here, I have done more of an in-depth deep dive tutorial on this that you can watch that here.
Okay, so now your small word salad of initial keyword ideas you have turned into a gigantic word salad, which is fun. And hey, you’re just trying to write a blog that serves your people and helps rank. Well, friend, that is why we’re gonna narrow that list down and see how we can trim it based on volume and size of searches.
<< Related: How to Cultivate a Go-to Blog Writing Workflow >>
No. 2| Select the words with a volume you can rank for.
Next up, we’re selecting the words with a volume that you can rank for. You’ve probably heard someone say before, “That is a really competitive keyword”—but what do they actually mean??? Well, it’s a short way of saying how many people are searching for this every single month—think of it like a market share.
There could be so many thousands and tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people searching for that one thing, or it could be a smaller group, and that still matters. That’s still probably worth going for that market share— that’s still X amount of people you could lead into your content.
I’m going to take you behind the scenes again and show you three tools to be aware of search volume. Or even to just pay attention to it as you go through and organize the keywords based on the volume so you can kind of tell where you want to shoot your arrow and have a target range.
You can do your thing here—I know some people are real spread-sheety—I actually am, but I don’t have a big spreadsheet of all of this pulled together. I know what I want to rank for with my website. So when I’m working on a specific blog, I just am kind of doing this volume ranking while I’m trying to find the right SEO keywords, and I know the range that I’m trying to stay between. These are the words that I’m pulling over and putting in this blog and content outline.
A good rule of thumb is to really pay attention to those long-tail SEO keywords, those phrases, and try to go after those. They may not have the biggest search volume in the world—that’s a good thing. You don’t want to play the game with some of those websites and brands. If there’s enough people phrasing it a certain way, see if you can, again, like I said, gobble up that part of the market.
Let me give you an example using a student of mine. Her name is Leah and she’s a calligrapher, if hundreds and hundreds of hundreds of thousands of people are searching for the phrase wedding calligrapher but considerably fewer are searching for that phrase within her area. Well, then what do you think we want to try to rank for with her website?
<< Related: 6 Ways to Instantly NAIL Your Keyword Research >>
No. 3|Actually WRITE the content & ignore keywords.
Okay, So we’ve done this SEO keyword research, the research portion is done. Now we are actually going to write.
So two things here. If you watched last week’s video where I was talking about the Google algorithm updates that are coming down the pipeline, then what’s so exciting is that content is still King. And if you write content that is just, chef’s kiss, so good, it’s gonna have a great chance of doing well. So realllllly try to serve your people and offer up good quality content.
I always say—I want my blogs, my emails, everything to be worth the time at least that it took to click over and get into the content and read up on it.
Now I’ve covered by blog post, our workflow, and formula right here. But, essentially, when I’m moving into that writing portion of the phase, I am not thinking at all about SEO keywords. I’m writing in my voice, my style, how I like to teach, how I like to talk to people.
I am not worrying one iota about anything having to do with the keyword in this step.
Here is that challenge for you—I want you to screenshot this formula that I have. This is the research portion that I do before I make a YouTube video/write a blog/lives/anything >>>
Before I go into creating the content I want to make sure I have everything in front of me and all these different little tools that I could use to enhance this content. And again, like I said, make it worth that click.
I showed this to some Copywriting for Creative™ students on a call last week and they thought it was so helpful. No matter what type of content you create, I think that this research outline will be helpful. Truly once I have that, moving into the blog writing portion kind of writes itself. And again, like I said, it is my voice, my style, my personality coming out as I write.
<< Related: 5 Editorial Calendar Strategies to Repurpose Your Content >>
No. 4| Go Back & Add in SEO
Now I’m going go back in and going to soup it up for SEO. My number one ride or die go-to tool here is Yoast. I typically pick one primary keyword, one secondary keyword out of that list that I’m really trying to rank for, to use in the title, in the meta description, and so on and so forth.
The rest of those words I am going to try to weave into the content. I’m gonna go back up into the content of the blog that I’ve drafted and see where I can plug in different words. One thing I may try to start doing in 2021 is having at least around 7-ish additional keywords in this blog.
Neil Patel one time said: “The number of keywords, there’s not a magic keyword, just as many are actually relevant to the post.”
BONUS TIP: The last piece of the puzzle is tracking
The last piece of the puzzle would be to track it—for that I love SEMRush. It is a paid tool, but to me it’s worth it.
Again, I’ve been blogging multiple times a week since 2016 at this point. I don’t wanna have a big spreadsheet or trying to be keeping up with where different keywords are falling or where my content is ranking. So I just lean on this tool to do it for me and sends me a weekly email with where I’m ranking for what.
If you love this concept of writing quality content and copy that is ready for SEO but it is not overly gimmicky or schmoozy or robotic, and instead infused with voice and personality, then I would invite you to check out my brand voice guide. This is a freebie 10 page printable guide that you can download today. It’s full of prompts to help you zero in on your brand’s voice, tone, terminology, and tempo so you can begin to have a working doc in your business that’s a North Star or a mood board for the words that you’re gonna use to market your business— you can grab that here.
Now you know how to write a better SEO blog, but what about how to prep your entire SEO strategy?
Well, I have last week’s video, again, part one of this three part series teed up for you to watch here. Then comment below with any questions that you may have or just the word helpful if this actually served you and helped you out today.
Here’s to working from a place of more rest, less hustle.