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How to Do Keyword Research for Articles and Blogs

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Are you a freelance writer trying to get yourself discovered? With just a little know-how, you can increase traffic to your websites and blogs exponentially. Discover how to do keyword research for articles, and create pieces that are widely seen and highly successful.

Learning how to do SEO keyword research for free will give you the expertise to discover not just obvious keywords, but also the far more effective body and long-tail keywords. Master various keyword techniques, learn your competitor’s best keywords and methods… and create your strategy to win!

What Makes a Keyword Effective?

Every time you do an internet search, you’re entering in a keyword. These are words or phrases that people use to find articles, blogs, recipes… or just to browse the internet in general.

If you learn how to use keyword research for articles, you can greatly increase your site traffic flow. Of course, not all keywords are equal. Some are highly effective, while others will not prove nearly as useful. To find keywords for a blog post that are truly effective, there are a few key things you’ll need to consider.

Obvious Keywords Aren’t as Effective

At first glance, keyword research for articles may seem unnecessary. There are many useful keyword-finding tools that can do the job for you, after all. Why should you do keyword research yourself? The answer is simple: if you can use these tools, so can everyone. The top keywords are already very popular. The result is an environment that is extremely competitive!

To get your articles and blogs seen, you will need to discover keywords that are still frequently searched, but which are more under-the-radar.

Doing keyword research sometimes requires ninja skills to find more under-the-radar terms.
Learn the ancient art of Ninjutsu SEO.
Image by MichaelWuensch from Pixabay

How do you go about finding keywords that are under-the-radar? Start with a general one-word keyword, often referred to as a “seed word,” and then, to narrow your results, add more detail. For example: “socks” can be expanded to “purple socks,” and then to “lavender socks for a girl to wear.”

Can you see how this might help people find your content? With fewer results for the search engine to sort, you will face less competition overall. The more general and obvious keywords are called “seed words,” and/or short-tail (“socks,” as above), and the more detailed are referred to, respectively, as body keywords (“purple socks”) and long-tail keywords (“lavender socks for a girl to wear”). You will need a mix.

Know Your Competitor – and Win

In order to make it in the business world, you will need to know your competitors. You can do this by entering niche-related keywords into your search engine of choice. The top results are your competition. See what kind of content and information they have to offer. Pay special attention to any Q and A or FAQ. This will let you know what information people are looking for exactly, so you can be sure to have the answer. In no time, you’ll have the knowledge to create something similar, but better.

Researching SEO keywords is important so that you can stay ahead of the competition.
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You can even do some more in-depth online competitor analysis, with tools like Semrush, SpyFu, and Ahrefs. Access vital information about your competitors, like their most popular pages and the keywords they’re ranking for.

On Semrush, with the keyword overview, you can take a look at your own keywords or at those of a competitor. Simply enter some basic info (such as your domain) and let Semrush do the rest of the work!

Use Semrush to discover detailed information like trending keywords, your competitors’ SEO strategies, backlinking suggestions, and related keyword recommendations.

Ahrefs is very similar to Semrush, but with a focus on search volume. The information offered by Ahrefs is equally vital, but it tends to be more general. Semrush offers a bit more insight and detail. Both tools have options for link building and site audits for SEO (for you and your competitor).

Investing in keyword research analysis tools such as these will make your task much simpler.

Keyword Searchers Are Usually Looking for an Answer

Doing keyword research for articles helps people searching online find the answer they're looking for.
Image by Sophie Janotta from Pixabay

As you’ve probably noticed, many of the keywords we use when searching are questions that we want the answer to. Your job is to learn what people are asking and to provide the answer. If people like what you have to say, they may even come back for more.

Sometimes when you enter one question, search engines will show you similar questions that people ask (FAQ). These can make great keywords as well. So, what are people asking? And do you have the answer?

Tools You Can Use for Keyword Research for Articles

  • Soovle. Soovle is a keyword search bar that generates tons of keywords based on the seed word (or words) of your choice. Just type in your search and then click enter (or Soovle; once it is installed, you should see it in your search bar).
  • Scrapebox. Many refer to Scrapebox as the Swiss army knife of keyword research tools. With Scrapebox, you can perform site audits, learn about competitors, harvest URLs, and more.
  • Google Keyword Planner. For keyword research for blogs and articles, Google Keyword Planner is a simple yet effective tool. Access new keywords, and find out how many searches each keyword receives each month.
  • Semrush. Already mentioned earlier, Semrush has lots to offer, and this includes an important staple: a keyword search tool, which works similarly to Soovle.

The Types of Keywords You’ll Find with Keyword Research for Articles

Short-tail keywords are also called “seed” keywords, as they can seed additional keywords for you to make use of. Body keywords are medium-length keywords and are moderately effective. The long-tail keyword is the king of keywords, however.

Short-Tail Keywords

The first type of keyword is the short-tail keyword. As the name implies, short-tail keywords are shorter keywords, including only one to two words in total.  You can use some of these keywords, say, a few in each article, but you will want to focus on long-tail. Why?

Because short-tail keywords are the most-used kind of keyword! For example, if you were to search “chocolate,” you would get more results than you’d know what to do with. Ranking for “chocolate” is not a very attainable goal. You will have to refine your results, and this calls for body keywords and long-tail keywords as well.

Body Keywords

A body keyword is a keyword that uses just a few words, say, two to three.

“Dark chocolate mousse” or “Fresh mousse recipe,” for instance, will narrow your search results much more than just “chocolate”. You can use body keywords a few more times in an article than you do short-tail keywords, to really target your audience, and ensure that you rank.

Long-tail keywords are king, like 'French dark chocolate mousse cake frosting' instead of just 'chocolate'.
Image by Alaina Terwilliger from Pixabay

Long-Tail Keywords

Finally, we have the most effective keyword of all: the long-tail keyword. Long-tail keywords use four keywords or more and are nice and descriptive. These tell search engines what to look for more precisely. “French dark chocolate mousse cake frosting,” is a long-tail keyword that will reel in folk wanting to know how to use dark chocolate mousse to frost cake.

Seasonal Keywords

Seasonal keywords are those that spike in popularity during a certain season or holiday time. For any advertiser, times like this can mean big revenue. This goes doubly so for a writer. Why’s that? Because you can create lots of lovely content yourself, which makes for some prime SEO. When it comes to seasonal keywords, here’s a pro tip: create and optimize your seasonal content ahead of time. When the season or holiday actually comes around, you want to be ready. Not only that, but people tend to do these kinds of searches very early on. You can expect a couple of months of Christmas advertising, for example, even though the celebrations only last around a week.

Have the Proper Keyword Density When Using Keyword Research for Articles

When it comes to keywords, this is one very important thing to remember: don’t overuse them! This is called keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing will cause search engines to list you lower in the search results (AKA you will drop in your rank). A balance of keywords (and types of keywords) is necessary in order to consistently and successfully raise your rank.

So, what is the best keyword density for search engines? A few times for every 500 words or so could be considered a good rule of the thumb, in general. Just pop one in every few paragraphs or so. Much more than this, and your content may begin to look unnatural. This will cause it to read more poorly, and Google will also lower its rank.

Don’t Forget to Link

Keywords and links come as a pair. A combination of well-placed keywords and links can make for some powerful SEO. While keywords will help people find you, links will show search engines that you’ve gathered your information from various sources, making it more reputable. Sites that are considered reputable are much more likely to rank!

Internal Link

The first type of link is an internal link. These are links to other pages on your own website, and a fantastic way to show off the expertise you have. The longer folk stay on a page, the more leads you are likely to get, as well. You will only want to use internal links a few times per article or blog post, however. When it comes to any kind of SEO, subtlety is your key to being a successful writer.

External Link

As you’ve probably guessed, external links are links that lead to external sources, i.e. other knowledgeable websites. Of course, you don’t want to link to a direct competitor. Add links from well-rated authority sites that you would trust yourself.

Provide Genuine Value When Using Keyword Research for Your Articles

Of course, translating your increasing traffic into fans, leads, and customers is the ultimate goal. You should know that fluff content, AKA uninformative, flowery writing, just won’t work. In fact, this is one of the negative indicators that search engines will look out for.

Instead, one of the best SEO tips is to always provide truly valuable content, with plenty of solid information balanced with personal experience. People will not only find your content… but they will come back for more! You reap what you sow, after all.

You reap what you sow when you do keyword research for articles.
Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay


Do your research. It’s easy enough to curate another article, but what information there is new? Research takes time, but it does pay off. When you’ve really educated yourself on a topic, you can offer especially unique or interesting details that people will want to know! Writing on a topic you’re well-acquainted with is also much easier.

Personal Experience

There are times when personal experience is just as relevant as any research you might do. If you are writing a gardening blog, for example, share what you’ve read about plants, yes, but also any pro tips you might have from gardening yourself. This is what will win over your reader.

If you're running a blog, share personal tips to really reel in readers.
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay


If it’s hard to read, even the most fascinating article can lose the interest of the reader. As it is, many online pieces have run-on sentences, misspells, grammar mistakes, and other typos, which simply aren’t professional. Go the extra mile to make sure your work is top-notch, and your efforts are sure to pay off.

Luckily, there are some great online resources to help writers to polish their work.

How to Monitor Your Website

Want to know how your website is doing? For example, what keywords you’re ranking for? There are tools for this, too. Use them to stay ahead of the game!

One of the most popular is Google Search Console. See how much traffic you currently have, and ways you can improve. With the exclusive Search Results report, you can see up to 1000 of the keywords that you’re currently ranking for. Wow!

Monitor how your content is performing to know if you're doing the right keyword research.
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

So, now you know the basics of keyword research: the types of keywords there are, super helpful keyword research tools that are available, and even how to come up with keywords of all kinds on your own. Now all you need to do is try out what you’ve learned, and measure your success.


  1. Loyd Towe on September 10, 2020 at 10:45 pm

    Great stuff Jennifer. So much to take in. I can definitely make use of the keyword research tools. I had never heard of Scapebox. Thanks for that!

    • Jennifer Berube on September 23, 2020 at 7:50 am

      Thanks, Loyd! Appreciate the feedback! And I hope this helps you; let us know what works best.

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