I know, I get it. Putting together a blog post takes a lot of work and your list of things to do for each post is already way too long: categories, alt-tags, in-page seo, image optimizing, outbound links, etc.
And that doesn't even include the actual writing of the post! So the last thing you need is a mundane entry like keyword research on the list of things to do for each post right? But what if you could spend just a few minutes per post and drastically increase its traffic potential? Would you do it?
Food Blog Keyword Research -- Title of Your Post
Each post you put on your blog has the potential to bring traffic to your site for the rest of your life. And if you could double that traffic by doing a few minutes of keyword research then it quickly becomes a no-brainer right?
Keyword research. Ugh. What the heck is that? Don't worry if you are new to keyword research. You don't have to get all hardcore about it. Just a few simple tricks will have you on your way.
Here's good example from my recent Pinto Bean Soup - Sopa Tarasca post. Up until recently I would just choose a post title that sounded good to me (don't do this!). And since I am semi-fluent in Spanish, when I hear Sopa Tarasca I know what it means, so guess what my initial post title was? Yup, Sopa Tarasca.
But what about the 330 million hungry, English-speaking Americans who need to eat dinner tonight? Are they searching for Sopa Tarasca?
Here's how often Sopa Tarasca was searched for over the past month. These screen grabs are from the Longtail Pro keyword research tool.
Only 260 times over the past month? Hmmm that's not going to bring in much traffic.
And the English speakers, are they searching for the American equivalent of Sopa Tarasca?
Aha! Pinto bean soup is searched for 1900 times, and combined with its supporting phrases there are upwards of 3000 monthly searches. Good to know right?
So instead of titling my post 'Sopa Tarasca', I changed it to 'Pinto Bean Soup -- Sopa Tarasca' and this will drastically increase how often it appears in the Google search results. Easy enough right?
Another convenient tool within Longtail Pro is the keyword competitiveness snapshot. In a nutshell, keyword competitiveness can quickly show you difficult it will be to rank your post in the Google search results. Most people are clicking the first few results when they use Google, so your blog posts that rank highest will bring in the most traffic.
So what influences how high you can rank? Your competition.
Imagine that I spend a week writing a brilliant post on Mexican Food, all because I found this when doing some keyword research:
135,000 monthly searches! Imagine all the traffic I could get if I was #1 in the search results!
There's only one problem: lots of other people are thinking the same thing. In other words, you've got competition. Here they are:
Those are the top 10 Google results for "Mexican Food" as shown in the Longtail app. You'll get the same or similar results if you search directly in Google, but Longtail evaluates your competitors and gives them a KC ranking (see red arrow). This stands for Keyword Competitiveness and is a quick gauge of how strong your competitors are. In other words, can you rank higher than them?
Notice how all the sites have a KC higher than 40? The higher the KC, the more Google trusts them. The more Google trusts them, the harder they are to outrank. Google's job is to find the most relevant search results for people who are googling 'mexican food', so they are constantly evaluating websites based on site age, traffic, inbound links, site speed, length of stay, etc.
All those columns in the above pic are factors that go into a site's strength (in Google's eyes). You don't need to know what they all are, in fact I don't follow all of the info in most of those columns. The advantage of using a keyword research tool is that it does all of the compiling for you. In this case, the KC score (Keyword Competitiveness) instantly tells me to not spend too much time trying to rank for 'Mexican food.' My site is young and still building trust with Google, so I need to see KC scores in the 20s and 30s to nudge my way into the first page of search results.
So what's the competition like for 'Pinto Bean Soup'? Let's take a look:
Now we're talking! Multiple results with a KC score in the 20s and 30s. And take a quick look at the site names. I recognize the big hitters, i.e. allrecipes and epicurious, but there are a few smaller sites in there too. This is good news as it means a site like mine has a good chance of outranking these smaller sites and bringing in some regular traffic.
Imagine doing this for the title of each post you write for your blog? It only takes a few minutes and you can look at it as an investment, not a requirement. Fine tuning some posts that have the ability to rank high in the search results will improve your traffic, which improves how much Google trusts your site, which improves your traffic...
It all feeds on itself and it's worth spending a little time getting familiar with the basics of keyword research.
If you're curious, as of today, two days after the Pinto Bean Soup post going live, it is currently sitting at the bottom of page 2 in the Google results, so around #20.
I'll come back in a few weeks with an update and see where I stand in the results. (Update: As of March 31 the Pinto Bean Soup post is sitting at #7 in the Google results. Woohoo!)
(Final Update: As of October 26 the Pinto Bean soup post is #1 in the Google search results. Nice!)
In the meantime, Longtail Pro is now letting people try out their software for a buck. Click here to take advantage of this offer. If you want to add keyword research to your arsenal I think it's worth checking it out. Even if you don't end up buying the software you will learn tons about how to get your site more traffic from the search engines.
P.S. If you are new to all this, here is a detailed post on starting a food blog. And if you're wondering how much traffic you can expect to get, I'll put up a post for Mexican Crema over the next couple weeks. Mexican Crema brings in 100-200 visitors per day to my site and I'll show you the search volume and competitor analysis to help you gauge how easily you can get a few of these top performers bringing in traffic to your site.
Disclaimer: Yes, there are affiliate links for LongTail Pro on this page. That means I get a small percentage of the sale if you decide to try it at no additional cost to you. But my opinion is not for sale and I only recommend products that I actually use and trust. Thanks for supporting Mexican Please!