Keyword Research – How to Rank Your Posts

Doing keyword research and planning your blog posts in advance is essential to avoid writing posts which have no chance of ranking.

The goal of keyword research for bloggers is to find topics to write about which stand the best chance of ranking ie appearing on the first page, when you search on Google.

The more ranking articles you have, the more traffic you will get.

The more traffic, the more sales you stand to make.

This article explains the part that keywords play in searching for things on Google or any other search engine. If you are new to SEO, Blogging and Keywords, you might want to refer to my beginners guide to SEO terms, where you can look up any terms that may be unfamiliar.

What is the process of using Google to make a purchase online?

You type in your query “ buy Nike sneakers” and Google returns pages of results called the SERPs. Or Search Engine Results Pages

What’s on the results page?

Organic results, Paid Adverts and Shopping results

1.       Organic Results: These are websites that contain the most relevant content to answer the query.

2.       Paid Ads: These are the Ads that win Googles Ad auction to be shown for this query, usually shown at the top and bottom of the pages

3.       Shopping Result: Advertisers using Googles Search Network can choose the shopping Ad as an option see the example below. If the query is based on “Goods” then a shopping Ad may be shown.

There are a couple of things that appear on the SERPs page which can give us good ideas and some good information, they are not always noticed by users.

  1. Auto suggest . As you type your query into the search bar, Google will auto suggest search terms

2. At the bottom of the page, Google will list a number of RELATED topics/subjects/keywords.

Ads or Free Organic Traffic for New Sites?

Organic Traffic , is free, but it can take a long time to rank a site on that all-important first page of the SERPs. These then are best suited to evergreen products which are always in demand.

Ads are a paid service.  Advertisers set a maximum amount in an auction to bid for the keyword. Ads start working immediately after they go live.  So Ads are often used to best effect to scale a campaign for a short-lived or changing market.

Either way, it’s all based on Keywords. These phrases like the example “buy Nike sneakers” have statistics which you can see by using many keyword tools. Because they all use different databases, they all give slightly different figures but will give you some guidance.

Users still prefer the organic results in most cases, studies show over 9/10 searchers click on the organic results. So this shows that the searching public has more trust in Google’s organic results. It is Google’s stated intention to give the most relevant results for each search query.

As an Affiliate Marketer, you can use Organic or Paid Ads traffic and keywords are the key points of how you can get traffic (visitors) from Google’s search engine. So how do you find the best keywords?

The most obvious keywords for any niche are going to be difficult to rank for. For example in the Weight loss niche, the term “weight loss” is dominated by big players with high domain rank, having huge numbers of backlinks. Competing with those is impossible in SEO terms for any new site and very expensive to buy ads.

As a beginner in affiliate marketing, it would be advisable to stick with SEO and Organic search, rather than advertising, it takes a lot of experience and a healthy bank balance to do ads well. So build your blog by writing articles based on a keyword.

Using the Language of the Niche

To find the INTENT behind a user’s Google search, use the fact that almost every niche has terms associated with it, that are peculiar to that niche. Some examples are:

 Health: Blood Pressure,  Body mass index,  CT and MRI scans

Mortgages:  Agreement In Principle, Mortgage Rate, Repayment Mortgage

Finance: Compound Interest, FICO score, Asset Allocation, Stock Option

Depending on where in the buying cycle your prospect is, they may have already seen offers that include these terms and so will be searching using these terms.

Do your homework on them, include them in your keyword research, lookup :-

Your-niche + glossary

To find all the commonly used terms in a niche, then enter them into your keyword tool to find kws with low competition, high search volume and are well worth writing posts about.

Long-tail  Keywords

Add more terms to the big keyword, to find ones that have some traffic, but are also fairly easy to rank in the SERPs. This is ideal for beginners as Google tests new sites, the community refers to this as “sandboxing” new sites.  Once you have a track record, ie. You have some articles in Google’s index already, then you can become more adventurous, but to begin, choose terms that you know you can rank in the index fairly easily.  They may only have a small amount of traffic, but very little competition.

KGR Keyword Golden Ratio

This is Doug Cunnington’s method, it is a good way to be confident of ranking an article written for a specific term. You do need to apply some common sense with all such methods and don’t forget that the keyword volume tools are often wrong, sometimes phrases do in fact get some traffic even though the tools says zero.  All we are really looking for is consistent results. So do try all methods over a period of time to assess each one for yourself and for your particular niche.

The KGR method uses the Google search operator term “allintitle”, in other words, the serps result given for a term eg .  allintitle:how to stop moss growing in your lawn

would return all the pages indexed where the words “how to stop moss growing in your lawn “ appear IN THE TITLE OF THE ARTICLE.

Also, Doug limits the number of pages found to 250. After all, to stand a chance of ranking this article on a new site, you don’t want to be up against say 6000 other pages, do you?

His formula then is KGR = Number of results/search volume   

And the resulting ratio MUST be under 0.25 to qualify

An example: How to build your biceps

On the Ubersuggest keyword tool, the search volume is 110

On Google the search   allintitle: How can I build muscle without going to the gym     returned just 24 results, which is well within the 250 maximum, so the KGR is :

24/210, = roughly 0.11 ….. perfect !

Compare this with “ walmart led desk lamp”   , all in title results 46    searches/month 720

46/720  = 0.06   …. even better !

Lastly Health and Fitness, a notoriously competitive niche

For the phrase “how to build biceps” there were 1750 results and 2400 searches/month

The results were well over 250 anyway , which rules this phrase out. The ratio 1750/2400= 0.73  which is well over 0.25 so this rules it out too.

Lets try modifying it to  “how to build biceps without weights”  all in title results= 24  searches/month =590

24/590 = 0.04 …. which is a good ratio, but 590 is well over the 250 limit. As it is a tough niche though, it may be worth pursuing, depending on what the competitions websites look like. If they have short articles with low numbers of links, then consider it.

So this method is worth considering. If you have a KGR nearer the limit  0.25 or even just over , the going might be a bit tougher, but if you’re confident you can write a good appealing , readable article, go for it !   Better to have something that ranks eventually than waste a potentially good keyword.


Answer the Public

This weird site is pure gold.

It is a pay to use software, but there are a low number of searches possible for free each  day.

The tool basically returns a HUGE number of questions with various modifiers like is,  are, can, how, what, when, where, who, why, will, for, prepositions like  for, is, are, near, to, with, without, and comparisons  – like, and, or, versus, vs, and lastly an alphabeticalised list of add on terms similar to  Googles search suggestions,  which appear as you type your query into the search bar in Google.

Once you have the list ( although presented in a circular graphic way it is available as a csv in tabular form, you can sort through it and apply the best set of keywords in your keyword tool to  find the search volume and get some clue as to the difficulty to rank.

Here is just a fraction of the returned phrases , after I loaded them into my keyword tool to get volume data

KeywordMonthly VolumePaid Competition
how to build biceps without weights or pull ups10Low
how to build biceps without weights reddit0Low
how to build arms without weights90Low
how to build big biceps without weights10Low
how to strengthen arms without weights70Low
can i build biceps without weights0Low
how can i build biceps without weights0Low
how to build biceps without weights590Low
can you build biceps without weights0Low
how do i build biceps without weights0Low
can you build arms without weights0Low
how to build biceps without weights590Low
how to build biceps without weights or pull ups0Low
how to build biceps without weights reddit0Low
what exercises build biceps without weights0Low
how to build biceps without weights or pull ups10Low
how to build biceps without weights reddit0Low
how to build arms without weights90Low
how to build big biceps without weights10Low
can i build biceps without weights0Low

I’m sure you’ll agree, some of these have enough value to warrant spending some time creating really good content around them. You can collect related phrases together which might form the basis of an article, covering each topic.

Here are some other Valuable sources of Keywords and Data to research

Answer the Public

Shopping Sites Ebay and Amazon search bar

Pinterest and YouTube search bar

Quora: Look for questions on your subject, you can use search within Quora

Ask your own email list !

Find the Authority websites in your niche

Sites like Reddit,  search sub-reddits in your niche

Find a Forum:  useful to find huge numbers of forums.

Share your own experiences

BuzzSumo search, a paid tool but with some access.

Keyword Sheeter: this just churns out very high numbers of keywords based on Googles suggested terms, it can be very useful if you have loads of time to go through it.

Research Methods:

These are divided into two: A way to get an initial list of candidates ( eg the Competitor and the Seed Methods below )  Followed by a process to analyse and sort them

The Competitor Research Method:

You can gain a lot from putting the name of your competitor niche site into a kw tool. It will reveal the keywords they are ranking for and many kw’s that can be listed, switched around and used for titles of your next blog articles. Then apply the Analysis Process, below

The Seed Keyword Method:

Find the best keywords in your niche, with plenty of monthly search volume. Use it to generate a big list of keywords using your kw tool.

The Analysis Process

After you have a good list of kws from either of the above methods, ideally use the best and most expensive commonly used tool – AHRefs. With this, you can filter out and find keywords with low kw difficulty ( difficulty to rank in Google ) and good search volume.

Other tools like Ubersuggest can also be used to find these golden kws with low SEO kw difficulty. Although Ubersuggest is a paid tool, up to 5 searches a day are possible for free.

Assessing and checking Keyword Difficulty:

This is the essential part of the methods above. Take your keyword and Google it. Below I Googled “bulk email sender free” . Now, look carefully at the SERPs. Positions 1 to 10. Open each page in your browser and look at the quality and length of each site’s article.

From the  results in Ubersuggest , it looks like “bulk email sender free” might be a good article to write its kw SEO difficulty is just 22 ( top line above )

Within Ubersuggest you can open up the SERPs and check for yourself the content quality for this kw.  Looking at the mailgun result ( number 4 position ) their article has less than 500 words and even though their domain Authority is high , the number of backlinks to this page is very low (1)

You  only need a couple of the SERPs result to be weak, like this, to make an opening to beat the competition with a 2000 to 3000 word article with many images and if possible graphical data, to have a good chance.

Even without Ubersuggest. There is MOZ bar – a browser extension, which shows Page Authority, Domain Authority and Link count. It isn’t ideal as the metrics are based differently to Ubersuggest, but once you have it installed in your browser and use it daily, you soon get an understanding of the relative values.


 Keyword research is very important, if you are not going to waste a lot of time and effort producing content that does not rank. You are going to need at least 50 to 100 articles ranking to give an income from a blog,  depending on your niche. It is definitely worth producing a list of future article titles, which have been checked for good ranking potential.

Use Your Time Efficiently

Focus on writing, in all the time you have available, even if that time is fragmented through the day. Keyword research however, takes time and may involve multiple tools which is not ideal for short work periods.