How to Find the Keywords that Work for Your Content Marketing Goals

How to Find the Keywords that Work for Your Content Marketing Goals

Reader Comments (51)

  1. Great post Beth.

    Keyword research has been done to death, but few people actually talk about picking keywords that make sense. I see many clients wanting to target keywords that have low competition, but unless those keywords are providing the right types of traffic, ranking is pointless.

    Worse still, if you target the wrong keywords, you either have to create slightly off-topic content in order to rank, or you won’t manage to rank at all!

    • Agreed, Mark – I think so many people are worried about being found in the search engines that they neglect to think about WHO will be finding them. I should have mentioned that here to make it clear – folks definitely need to pick the right kinds of keywords (ones that are appropriate and accurate for the kind of content marketing they’re doing) before they go further in the research process.

  2. You can also take a look at your own analytics to see how people are searching and finding your site. Maybe there is a long tail variation in there that is picking up speed. If your website is already doing well for that keyword without even trying you are in a great position to actively target and dominate for that growing keyword.

  3. Good post Beth,

    It’s interesting I’m actually writing about a similar topic.
    I’m evaluation how to use content marketing to find a primary keyword.

    One of the things I’ve found is the wild card to winning the ranking competition is common sense.
    When you search Google who ever is beating you should be until you prove that your page is MORE relevant to the topic.

    Aside from the technical analysis, look at the winning page and yours and be honest with your self about WHY you are not ranked #1. There’s more to it than just backlinks. It’s all about the relevance of your content.

    Relevance is more of an intangible common sense type of thing, it’s not something that you can easily calculate.

    • Hi Darnell – I agree that common sense plays a big part, but I also think it’s important to do some research, mostly because I often find the research so surprising. Half the time, people aren’t searching for the keywords that I THINK there’s searching for…they’re using a variation that never would have occurred to me. Common sense PAIRED with solid research is a powerful combination.

  4. Great article! It came at just the right time, as I’m writing one on the same topic – I’ll be linking to you!

    Question about searching on Facebook. Now that I have Graph Search, I find I cannot search in the same way as before. I don’t see a way to get to posts at all, let alone searching for public posts. Help?

    • Alisa – I have to admit, I’m not the right person to ask about Graph Search. It’s so new that I don’t know the specifics of it. I would check with Andrea Vahl – she is always up to date on this stuff and can probably answer your question!

  5. Google Trends is an awesome tool, and one I just recently ran across. It helped me focus a new project and avoid the floundering keyword search mistakes that I have done so many times in the past. Highly recommended.

  6. I love the Google tools and have used webmeup as well. I like Nick’s comment too about checking from your back-end —> how people get to you via Google or Bing. Long tail keywords are great for getting sales. Short ones sometimes lead to higher bounce rates or tire kickers.

  7. Beth,

    Nice post. I’d love to see you discuss the ways keyword research can be used to help locally-focused pages. What would you recommend for a company who only cares about getting local traffic on their site?


    • It’s basically the same process. Start with the area you’re after, such as [town]. You’ll start seeing the most common searches related to that geographic area. Then you can dive down deeper for long-tail phrases.

      • Brian,

        I see validity to your point, but I had another idea in mind I’d to see discussed. I believe that phrases like “pizza parlor” and “barber shop” will be less effective than ” pizza parlor” or ” barber shop.” Even if a person searches Google for “pizza” or “haircut,” these KWs will help a page with proper SEO to display in the SERPs. But, then again, there is also plenty of room for branding.

        Thanks for your input,

  8. Thanks so much Beth.

    What a fabulous info post. I do a lot of keyword research for my articles. I used some of the “tools” you suggested but I have never tried some that you have mentioned.

    I really like doing keyword research and your suggestions are going to refine my search even more.



  9. Your point about researching how they are used in every day conversation is exactly right. Much to often we get caught up in keyword research tools and data, but forget about about the human element.

    Great post.

    • Thanks, Andrew – I totally agree about the human element. I think a lot of writers on the web are so concerned about SEO that they forget they’re writing for real people (and that we need to put ourselves in their shoes as we’re writing and optimizing).

  10. Hi Beth. Thanks for the load of information you’ve presented in this wonderful post. I seriously wouldn’t have known about Google Trends had you not linked it here. I tried it just now and wow, it really gave a lot of useful data for my keyword research. Thanks again.

  11. I use Google analytics to see what keywords are leading people to my site. It sounds like I’m just touching the surface. Great post. My question would be: how do you get people to use certain words? People find my site most often by my name “Dan Erickson.” But I want them to find me by the name of my book “A Train Called Forgiveness,” or through terms like “forgiveness,” “author,” and “cults.” I suppose it takes time.

  12. Hi Beth
    Thanks for a great post, I like the focus on trends for new or upcomming keywords. Just a question; can you perhaps recommend any other tools other than Google Trends? here in Denmark the amount of searches on specific keywords is not so high and often I experience that its to low for Google to register any data on it.

    Will follow your blog.

    • Bo,

      Have you thoroughly investigated the KWs that benefit your competitors using It’s not completely accurate, but I’ve found a few nice, low competition KWs that I probably never would’ve came up with on my own.


    • Russell, I’m not sure what you mean – I talk about using Google Trends under the subheading “Tools for spotting keyword trends”. Let me know if you have further questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them…

  13. Actually I did not know ny thing about Google Trend or other keyword research.. How it works, its value ?? I was focusing on my analytic results and then writing contents of keywords which is not on our blog but was helpful in impression. Thanks for magical tool, Let see how much it will be useful for us..

  14. Wow… really different approach; in most articles about keyword research you just see the same bla bla bla over and over again.
    Great article! I am not using Google trends for keyword research though; I use it more as a niche research tool.
    Thanks for sharing your views!!

  15. If i have to speak about you a great view, i think copybkogger will be soon a leading space for marketing.
    My opinion about keyword never changed. Write for human beings and then check what keywords you have done.
    But the article is really helpful .

  16. Thanks for sharing Beth – i learned a ton wrt focusing on trends, then mining social networks with different, more conversational phrases related to your keywords. I’m in the process of honing in on 3 or 4 keywords for my site and i can say it’s a bit difficult and overwhelming trying to figure out what these should be.

  17. Hi maybe you can add NewsAssist to your list of tools? It is a great productivity tool for bloggers that takes care of searching, editing, publishing and distributing blogtext. NewsAssist is an open source Firefox add-on that can be found here ( Thanks

    “firefox add-on”:

  18. Between this blog and a few others, like Income Diary and SPI, I’ve learn an awful lot about keyword research. And I think I’m doing a pretty good job, based on the slowly increasing trickle of search engine traffic to the site.

    Now that I’ve got the long tail keyword research down, I can really get into what you’re talking about here with Google Trends. I really do think there’s huge earning potential in my main site keywords.

    Thanks for all your help 🙂

  19. It is important to research keywords so as to optimize one’s site with keywords that are trending up as opposed to using keywords that search engine usres no longer using to search for what they need on-line

  20. Hi Beth, Great article. Looking forward to implementing your tips. On the sidelines how many words do you think am article should be for you to rank high on google? Any data to back this up.

    • Hi Peter! I don’t have any hard data on this In general, what I recommend is that you use exactly the amount of words that you need in order to get your message across – no more, no less.

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