How to do Keyword Research to Get More Blog Traffic

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Your own blog post idea database.

^ How does that sound?

In this guide, you’ll learn a simple and repeatable process to find keywords to target with new blog posts. By the end, you’ll have hundreds of new post ideas.

Better yet, you’ll get more traffic from these posts than the other ones you publish and you’ll understand why soon.

Sound good?

Let’s get to it then!

What are keywords?

A keyword, or keyword phrase, is essentially a query someone would search for in Google.

For instance, imagine an excited new puppy owner who isn’t sure how to potty train their new pet. They might search in Google for “how to potty train a puppy.” That’s a keyword.

Sound reasonable?

The idea is that you would write a blog post about that exact same subject and then you’d have a chance to show up in Google when people search for it.

Now, if you’re a dog trainer then you can probably use your intuition to come up with that same post idea. Here’s where the “research” part comes in.

The advantages of keyword research

With keyword research, you can figure out:

  • How many people are searching for each topic
  • How hard it will be to rank in Google for each keyword

You can then prioritize keywords with more search volume and less competition to get more traffic from each post you publish.

On top of that, the keywords you track will spark your imagination and help you come up with tons of new posts. And let’s be honest, one of the hardest parts of running a blog is consistently coming up with new post ideas.

Where does the traffic come from?

The big idea here is that you’ll find a bunch of keywords and then write one blog post for each keyword you find. The post will then have a chance to rank in Google when people search for that keyword.

Don’t stress about your keyword rankings

Some webmasters really stress about where they rank, but ultimately it’s not a deal breaker if you don’t rank well for your chosen keywords. You can always improve your rankings later and you’ll still rank for other variations of the keywords you target.

Keep an eye on your analytics and over time I promise that the posts you publish based on keywords will yield more search engine traffic than the ones that aren’t optimized.

The keyword research process

You can complete this entire project at once, but I suggest breaking it up into pieces. In one sitting, you can collect a few dozen new keywords to target.

By the end of your keyword research, you’ll have a database of hundreds of traffic-getting post ideas to write about. You can always repeat this process or delve deeper into your research to expand your database further and find even more post topics.

Start with a seed

The first step is to start with a “seed” keyword. This will be a term that basically describes the niche you’re in. Some examples:

  • Dog training
  • Internet marketing
  • Arts & crafts
  • Recipes
  • Consumer electronics

We’re going to take the seed keyword and use a tool to generate related words/phrases that people search for in Google.

The tool we’ll be using is called KWFinder.


Enter your seed keyword into KWFinder and you’ll get up to 200 related terms including their search volume and ranking difficulty scores.

Here are the results I get back for “dog training.”

KWFinder Results
Click for the full-size image

On the left side, you can see all of the related keywords that KWFinder has found for us. Each keyword has a handful of metrics including the monthly search volume and keyword difficulty score. On the right side, there’s a more detailed analysis of whatever keyword is selected.

You can use this form to run your first keyword search:

Pick the differentiated keywords

Don’t worry about the search volume and difficulty scores of any keyword.

For now, just browse through the list of keywords and check off any term that is different from the rest. Your goal here is to build a collection of all the different topics people are interested in.

Think about what the person Googling each keyword is really looking for. Someone searching for “dog training classes” is probably looking for the same thing as “dog training school” so you wouldn’t need to check them both. However, “puppy training classes” is distinct enough to check off because you would need to train puppies differently than adult dogs.

Save your keywords

Once you’ve made it through your 200 related terms, click the Add to list button at the bottom of KWFinder to save your selected keywords.

KWFinder interface screenshot

In the popup, click the Create new list option.

KWFinder popup screenshot

Then name and save the list.

Saving a keyword list

Now you have a collection of the most popular topics people are searching for in your niche.

This keyword list is an awesome piece of market research, and next, we’re going to use it to get even deeper insights and find keywords to target with your posts.

Find your post keywords

This is where most webmasters set themselves up for failure.

They get a list of keywords like the one you have now and start blogging about them. While it would be awesome to write a blog post about “dog agility training” and rank #1 in Google, it’s just not going to happen.

If you take a look at the sites that are ranking for any of the keywords in your list, you’ll likely find that they’re very authoritative and well-established.

It may be possible to outrank these sites eventually using a cornerstone page strategy, but it’s going to take a long time and that’s not what we’re focusing on here.

Instead, we’re going to dig deeper to find more specific keywords to target. They’ll have lower competition and will be easier to write about.

Pro tip: analyze the competition

Whenever you have a keyword selected in KWFinder, you can click the Analyze SERP button (SERP = search engine results page) at the bottom, and get a more detailed competitive analysis.


Pro tip: use your new keyword list to create your category structure

I found 45 distinct keywords from the initial set of 200 terms that KWFinder returned for “dog training.” Most of those keywords can be grouped into one of the following categories:

  • Obedience training
  • Crate training
  • Potty training
  • Training tools
  • Other dog supplies

If I had a dog training website, I would consider making these into my five post categories since these are the topics people are most interested in.

Build your blog post keyword database

You used a seed keyword to gather a set of keywords that encompass the most popular topics in your niche. Next, you’ll create a second list with all the keywords that you’ll actually write your posts about.

This is a three-step process that you can repeat for every keyword in your existing list to build a database of post ideas.

In the list of keywords you saved, you can click on the arrow button next to any keyword to find up to 200 more terms related to it.

Getting more terms with KWFinder

This is where you’ll find some much more interesting and specific topics to write about. In general, the more words and more specific the keyword is, the less competition it will have.

As an example, I decided to find more keywords related to “crate training” and I found this keyword, “puppy crate training schedule,” which gets 1,000 searches per month and isn’t overly competitive.

KWFinder longtail keyword screenshot

This would be a great keyword to target in a blog post. You could even offer a downloadable PDF schedule to help build your email list.

Filter through the list of suggestions and add the best terms to a new list in KWFinder. This will be your list of blog post keywords.

Pro tip: understanding keyword difficulty

KWFinder does its best to create difficulty scores algorithmically, but it’s not perfect. Due to the nature of the logarithmic algorithm in use, it’s very uncommon to see difficulty scores lower than 30 or higher than 60. If you see a 60 difficulty keyword, you should treat it like a 90. On the other hand, if you find a 15, it’s truly low competition and you should definitely write a post about it.

It’s also valuable to inspect the search results for yourself. If you see a lot of forum posts, images, and Quora threads in the results, that’s a sign that the keyword will be easy to rank for.

Find more keywords with autocomplete

You know how Google suggests search queries as you type? KWFinder can use this data to gather more keyword suggestions for you.

Click on the Autocomplete tab and then click the green magnifying glass button to run the new query.

KWFinder Autocomplete

All of the results will begin with your keyword and then include suggested terms. For instance, the first result is “crate training a rescue dog” which is a really specific query and another great keyword for a post.

If you want to get even more results out of this feature, add prepositions after your keyword. Some examples would be:

  • Crate training for
  • Crate training with
  • Crate training without
  • Crate training during
  • Crate training before

You can spend a while on this tool, so don’t be afraid to be persistent and ware it out. Remember to save all the best keywords to your new blog post keyword list.

Find even more keywords with questions

The last trick KWFinder has up its sleeve is the Questions tab.

KWFinder questions tab

This tool is exceptionally helpful for coming up with post ideas. “Crate training what to do when puppy cries” is a great keyword to target. The searcher is looking for a solution to a very specific problem which you can provide in a post, and it’s not that competitive of a term.

In case you’re unsure, you don’t need to title your post with the messed up grammar in the keyword. I would title the post something like, “Here’s what to do when your puppy cries during crate training.” Google will understand that these are the same exact topics and allow you to rank well.

Once again, save all the keywords you want to write about to your blog post keyword list.

Pro tip: keep an eye out for “template” opportunities

Something else I learned from my keyword research is that people want training that is tailored to their breed of dog. Some example keywords include:

  • German Shepherd training
  • Boxer dog training
  • Pitbull training

I saw this same trend for every keyword category – obedience training, crate training – all of them. Often times, these patterns are a goldmine for search engine traffic. You could write hundreds of posts with specific tips for each breed of dog.

Which keywords should you save?

The lower the difficulty score and the higher the monthly search volume, the better the keyword. The point is that it will be easier to rank and you’ll get more traffic.

As a rule of thumb, I would prioritize lower difficulty over higher traffic. It’s better to get a big piece of a small pie than none of a larger pie.

Ultimately, the point is to write posts about specific keywords people are searching for. It’s difficult to write a post about “dog training” because it’s so ambiguous and such a large topic. However, “puppy crate training schedule” has a more specific intent which makes it easier to write about in a 500-2,000 word blog post.

The process in summary

I tried to keep this as simple and straightforward as possible, but I understand if it got overwhelming along the way.

Here’s a summary of the steps so you can get a birds-eye view of the process.

1. Enter a “seed” term into KWFinder

The seed term is basically the name of your niche (dog training).

2. Save each keyword that has a unique search intent

You don’t need to save terms that have extremely similar intents like “dog training classes” and “dog training academy.” These are basically different ways to say the same thing.

3. Find your blog post keywords

For each keyword in your list, check out the related, autocomplete, and question terms and save the best keywords to your blog post keyword list.

Go get your traffic

There’s plenty more to learn about keyword research, but this will give you an excellent foundation for your site.

I’ve tried a lot of keyword research tools and I recommend KWFinder because it’s one of the most user-friendly and comprehensive options available. Not to mention, it’s much more affordable than most of the alternatives.

Try KWFinder for keyword research

You now have a collection of keywords that cover the most popular topics in your niche, and a collection of keywords to target with blog posts. Checking the related, autocomplete, and question terms for every keyword will take a long time, but there’s no rush. You can always pop into KWFinder later to find more keywords.

By writing your posts based on these keywords, you’ll get more search traffic from each post you publish and help your blog reach a larger audience.

Ben Sibley
Ben Sibley
This article was written by Ben Sibley. He is a WordPress theme designer & developer, and founder of Compete Themes.