Keyword research can be the difference between a successful blog and one that goes nowhere, but it often seems as if many bloggers think it’s something that doesn’t apply to them, or is “only for SEO.” To the contrary, keyword research goes way beyond search engine optimization, and is all about discovering what real live people are actively interested in.
That means keyword research helps you choose profitable blog subjects, identify content topics that are in high demand, and spot monetization methods that work. With that in mind, Copyblogger associate editor Jonathan Morrow and I have put together a 5-part comprehensive guide to keyword research for bloggers that walks you though the entire process using real-life niche examples.
Here’s what’s covered:
- Keyword Research: It’s Not What You Think
- How to Choose a Popular Niche for Your Blog
- How to Find Post Topics That Score Big
- Keyword Research Can Help You Make Money From Your Blog
- A Primer on Keyword Research Tools
It’s 7,739 words of juicy content, and it’s all free with no registration or other hoops to jump through.
Check it out here, and make sure to bookmark it for future reference since we’ll be updating it from time to time.
Reader Comments (65)
Tyler @ Building Camelot says
Simply a great resource – I struggle with finding the right key words and this has been very helpful.
Not only have I bookmarked this, I have also printed it out so I can have it to read over and over.
Latarsha Lytle says
Wow! What a juicy read.
You had me from the first word…and held my captive attention all the way throughout.
Thanks for the detailed analysis of all three sites as well as boosting my appreciation for a proper keyword search.
The clincher for me was: “There is your audience. There is the language. There are the words that they use. ”
THAT’s what keyword research boils down to: developing a strong grasp on what it is that you niche audience is REALLY looking for on the web.
Thanks for sharing such rich insight!
Chad | ProFreelancing says
This is the kind of thing that separates you from the crowd, Brian.
You could sell it, you could use it to beg for subscribers…but instead you hand it out for free (and probably attract more readers anyways). Great stuff!
John Hoff says
Once again Brian you show that your site is an invaluable tool for online success. Thanks for helping.
Wow, Brian. Thanks so much for your tireless efforts. Outstanding.
Connie Ragen Green says
Brian – I will pass this along to my ebook writing students. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
Jeff Jones says
I have a blog I created 3 months ago by using the Wordtracker free tool and I now see why I need to re-do this research to make sure I’m really reaching the people I need to consistently.
Thanks again for your always excellent content!
Steve Olson says
Thanks for the paper and the post. Keywords are one of the things I’ve neglected over the last 18 months. I just write and take what hits. Fortunately quite a bit has hit. But a better plan would have probably gotten me farther faster.
Wonderful article, but why leave out the free Google keyword suggestion tool (which also gives you the CPC data without needing to setup a fake adwords campaign)?
It doesn’t show specific search numbers for each term, instead showing relative search frequency in the form of a bar (which might take a bit of getting used to), but combined with the additional data of Adwords Advertiser Competition (showing which keywords have the most bidders – i.e. which keywords are the most commercial), it is an invaluable resource… and completely free.
..also it’s suggestions for related keywords are just as good, if not better than the paid resources too.
..it also let’s you tailor the results to virtually any specific country on the planet, so if your target market lives anywhere other than US, you’re going to get your most relevant data from here without question.
Brian Clark says
Because the Google keyword suggestion tool, alone, is not comprehensive, objective or entirely trustworthy.
People who make a living online don’t rely on Google for anything in total. That’s a valuable lesson for anyone.
Chris Norton says
Hi Brian, I just wanted to say thanks for a brilliant post this is really useful and I will be using your advice for getting a bigger audience to mine. Thanks C
Great article. I had to skim thru some of it though.
lawton chiles says
Brian, thank you for this PACKED article…
I used all the tools you mentioned. The real thing that confuses me is after looking at the numbers, even if the word returns a high number of searches, usually the KEI is really low.
That confuses the heck out of me. Any ideas?
Angela Williams Duea says
What a helpful resource! I don’t use keywords as effectively as I should, and this will help me beef up my skills. Thanks for sharing your tips!
Thanks for the report Brian. When helping my clients start an online business I’ve found that keyword research is one of the biggest hurdles they have. A lot of people give up at this stage in the process but with tips like this they should be able to move forward.
Here’s what always struck me as weird. In part 1 you say “approximately 11,222 people search for the term “blogging” each month.”
I realize this is number is an approximation, but it seems way to low to me. I’m not just talking about this keyword, but whenever I do a keyword search.
My guts tells me there should be something like 500k searches a month words like this.
Aren’t there like a tra-billion people on the internet, but only 375 searches/day.”
Am I just way off here?
Wahm ~ Work at Home Mom says
Wow what an informative report. I have been seriously neglecting the whole keyword research aspect of blogging until recently. This has made the whole subject much clearer. Thank you.
Glen McNiel says
Brian, you never cease to amaze me. Once again I will be passing this on to my students.
I agree with you on the comments about the Google keyword suggestion tool. I do like to use the part of it that extrapolates keywords from a web page though. It’s a neat way to get suggestions when I’m drawing a blanks as to where to start. This way, I can just plug in a competitors web page and see what keywords the tool finds and it groups them too. Sometimes, it’s a nifty way to stimulate my thinking when working with a niche I don’t know much about.
I’ve also been looking at SpyFu with some interest lately. Anybody else have experience with it?
Joseph Stein says
bookmarked, stumbled, sphinned, you name it.
I almost missed my bus stop reading this on my mobile because I couldn’t keep my eyes off it. I always enjoy seeing case studies with very specific examples given. Thanks a bunch Brian, and keep it coming!
I’ve not been able to perfect the skill of keywords research. I’ll like the part about discovering and indentifying target audience segmentations.
Will adopt writing reviews/recommendations for other products earning affiliates commission on other project this year.
Thank you very much for such valuable informations.
It’s a great article. However it would be more helpful if you could include and explain alternative free online tools like AdWords and other similar programs in keyword research.
Great resource. cleared up many confusions I had. thanx for sharing
Ed Advocate for Top Online Schools says
This was superb, engaging and highly informative. I am totally “digging” it. I may even give it a plug on DP or WF!
The Freelance Writer's Blog says
I’m an SEO content provider and have been blogging for three years now, and keyword research for my own blog is something I never think about to any great degree (bad, bad SEO writer!).
Thanks for the in-depth coverage from the blog perspective. I’m definitely bookmarking it in an attempt to raise my blog’s profile.
Forum for writers says
I agree with your blog post and think that nowadays too many bloggers just undervalue the importance of keyword research to promote own blogs. I feel that it would be interesting for forum readers to read your article and have posted a part of it at writer’s forum here.
You are welcome to comment and participate in other forum discussions.
Thanks for the great information, I intended to skin the first article and come back. You grabbed my attention from the start and I couldn’t stop reading until I finished the entire series.
Thanks again for putting in such an effort.
Santa Barbara Real Estate Voice says
Great resource!!! There is so much info out there on how to write a blog. Key is always writing for your intended audience and consumer…not just SEO. I appreciate the insight and will myself spend some time looking at the pointers you give.
It was really helpful , even more for me for English is not my native but I try to write a blog in English
Only been blogging for a month. This is the best I’ve read so far.
Write Service says
Brilliant info; “keyword research” really is King! I’m going to start refining my keyword skills today!
Many thanks and keep up the great work!
Greener Pastures says
Very informative- thanks- I’m at a point where I really need to get this going.
We are revamping our blog right now. It has been kind of a hodge-podge, but after reading this, we’ve got some GREAT new tips to help us create that laser focus and use the keyword tools to which we have access. This primer will make the investment in these tools payoff. Thank you!
SEO Genius says
Great article, BIG but definitely worth the read it looks to me like you use wordze tool rather a lot i am going to see whether it would be worth me buying it.
Again thanks for the article very educational 🙂
matthew hunt says
I appreciate when someone can put together something so complicated and keep it simple and digestible.
BTW, all keywords tools are polluted to a certain degree and any search #’s you get, you should divide by half to have realistic #’s.
Dali Burgado says
Rich, Rich, Information. I read this series from beginning to end in one sitting. I appreciate your sharing your keyword research knowledge!
A New Loyal Reader,
Dali Burgado 🙂
I Still confuse, what exactly product to promote. Keyword research tools illustrated that we have one product or service. but if we don’t have something to search, What must we search? Thank you
It’s always hard to find the “perfect” app or tool for keyword data. We’ve found that may of the options have various pros or cons and that there’s hardly a clear leader, maybe other than Wordtracker, Wordze or KW Discovery. We recently developed our own keyword research tool, which we offer for free on our website. Thought some of the bloggers who read here may want to give it a whirl. We always encourage feedback, so please if you think improvements can be made, let us know…
I really love this site; I always learn a lot! Have gone through transition of not knowing what to blog about to changing topics, using free blog hosts, and learning about writing for the web. Wasn’t happy with restrictions placed on free blog hosting services, so with your recommendation, chose Midphase. Huge learning curve there but have since learned a ton. Am now finally ready to delve into SEO.
So, I just wanna thanks for not only providing valuable info but helping me grow during this adventure. I’m sure SEO is much more complicated than what you’ve presented here, but this is a great intro; read it in one sitting. Is something I can digest tonight and feel confident about learning more tomorrow.
Ray Randall says
What did Mark Twain say about a word and the right word? Something about the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.
Your words, content, resources, and flow of ideas made this comment easy to read and useful.
I’ve learned something essential to writing and marketing. Read all you can, write all you can, do all you can, test all you can.
Brian, your guidance makes that effort seem less formidable.
all i can say is wow, very helpful article.i learn more from this article then any ebook or video
I’m in the building phase of my website. I’m in debt with gratitude to you for your blog- it’s really helped clear up some questions I had. It’s pointed me in a direction I was uncertain about, but now I know. So “thank you” for all the energy that you put into your research and then sharing it.
dan mason says
I can’t add more superlatives to the comments above … but did want to thank you for a marvellous resource, extremely well-written. I sincerely hope the effort you put in resulted in the reward you deserve for sharing this invaluable information. Thanks again …
Abdul Rahman Mahamood says
Very imformative and easy to digest. Useful for those who want to built a business in the cyber world. I for one will use it as a guidance in my undertakings.
Do you have any opinion on the keyword research tool Wordstream?
Thank you so much for all the great information on your site; it’s been such a tremendous help!!
David Wilcoxson says
Wow Brian, this is a great training on keyword research. Thank you as always for sharing your knowledge!
Kevin Foulds says
Brian. Thanks for the excellent information.Its always a pleasure to read and digest good information on keyword research.
I personally like Market Samurai and would recommend this to others to check out.
Oliver Sinz says
Hi. Not sure if somebody told you this but your website seems to be kinda weird in my browser.. maybe some code in your template design is wrong. . I believe it may be an isolated problem … i.e its just me who is seeing this odd error. Opera may just be messed up.. btw Opera is the name of the browser I’m using in case you didnt know… Im sure its really nothing but thought you ought know about this just in case.. And thank you for all the cool blog articles, I loved what I read!
Elite Nutrition says
I’m finding the Googles keyword tool more and more unreliable. I’m ranking on page 1 for a keyword that Google lists as having 18,100 local (UK) searches. I’m receiving on average 2 hits a day for this keyword. Something is not right 🙂
Copyblogger rocks! this is fantastic.
I think i have started researching keywords from, all thanks to you
Fred Bartholomai says
I was reading through the entire series on keyword research. Good stuff. I have been a fan of yours for a while now.
I have two questions for you:
on the page: https://copyblogger.com/make-money-keyword-research/
in the middle, you say the following: “which is why I said Adsense is probably not the best strategy for this niche.”
I didn’t get that. Why were saying the at Adsense would not be a good strategy for the mma blog ?
I see that this series of posts came out in Feb, 2008 — what you recommend for keyword
tools today ?
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