How to Choose Blog Post Topics That Drive Traffic to Your Site
Publishing a lot of blog posts with no return? Learn how to choose blog post topics that drive real traffic to your site in this post.
“Isn’t blogging dead? I thought that was a 2000s thing.”
This is something I frequently hear from students when we start talking about the value an active blog can offer a business. It seems like most people fall into one of three camps, as for their opinion about business blog posts:
- Blogging is something that used to work for increasing website traffic, but it doesn’t now
- It’s something that works for other companies or industries but not mine
- It’s something that only works if you’re a pro at SEO
The further into SEO I get, the more convinced I become that all three of these assumptions are incorrect. Don’t believe me? Read on to see my simple process for how I help businesses passively bring in thousands, and tens of thousands of free Google searchers to their websites every month via the blog.
Use a Keyword Research Tool
How do you write something that people want to read? The answer is easy. Figure out what questions people are already asking, and then write something that responds to those questions. There’s a bit of a humble pie on the menu here, because tragically, and more often than not, what people want to read about is not initially what you want to write about. But if you want traffic from Google this is something you must accept.
To know what people are searching for on Google, I recommend using a Google keyword research tool like Ahrefs or SEM Rush. However, these tools are a little expensive to subscribe to. If you want something cheaper, check out the ahrefs free keyword generator. While the free version definitely has limitations, I have found that for small projects it provides all the keyword guidance you really need. In the next section, I will explain how you can use this keyword generator to find ripe opportunities.
Choose Keywords With Low Competition and High Volume
The most important metric to pay attention to when you’re choosing your keyword is low keyword difficulty. If you’re using ahrefs, I recommend choosing a keyword with a keyword difficulty of 5 or below.
Unless you have some serious SEO talent, budget, and experience in your tool belt, the quickest and most reliable route to getting traffic to your blog post is to choose a keyword that has searches but hardly any competition.
This is what I did when I was writing about what to do if you lack motivation in your life. I found that the keyword “I have no goals or ambition in life” sat at an enticing 3 keyword difficulty. Although the traffic was only 150, I knew that if I scored this keyword I would also capture a host of nearby similar keywords. I wrote the article, published it, and sure enough, I discovered that I had found a golden keyword. Not only did the article start getting 150 reads per month, but it soon ballooned up to catch nearby keywords. Today the article gets more than 6000 reads per month and drives significant conversions for the website. Not bad, right?
Should You Aim for Multiple Keywords in Your Blog Post?
The short answer is no. For most people who don’t have SEO expertise, I think the proverb “If you chase two rabbits you will catch neither,” applies. Yes, there are ways to compete for multiple keywords at once, you want to make sure that all the keywords you’re aiming for are closely related. “How to squeeze a grapefruit” might be an easy Google keyword, and so might “How do they make gasoline”, but obviously, if both of these topics were in the same blog post Google would just be confused.
“I’m having a hard time thinking of good article ideas. What should I do?”
Especially if you don’t have the paid version of an SEO tool, coming up with keyword ideas to even look into will be one of the hardest parts of getting started. Here are a couple of ideas for idea generation:
- Look up your competitors. Check out your competitors’ blogs and you will likely find some great ideas. To know if your competitors have found some good keywords, just take the keywords from their titles or blogs and plug them into the keyword research tool and see what comes up.
- Use a People Also Ask tool. This free generator will spit out a host of content ideas around a given word if you put it in. It scrapes Google for all of the questions Google lists in the People Also Ask section of the search engine results page.
- Check out Reddit. Reddit hosts many of the most interesting conversations on the internet. It’s a great place to find out what people are asking about your product or industry. If there are certain subjects lots of people are asking about and talking about on REddit, you can be confident that traffic echoes through to Google as well.
The other important thing to remember about blogging for organic traffic from Google is that at the end of the day, Google is a black box. The almighty algorithm giveth and taketh away, and no one actually knows why some things hit while others don’t. As you write articles for your blog you will be pleasantly surprised that some of the pieces you write instantly rank and collect traffic, while others stray into the cold, frozen wasteland of Google’s 9th page. Just like going viral on social media, or winning the lottery, you have to shoot your shot repeatedly in order to win every once in a while.