When I started writing articles for my blog five years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. All of the topics I wrote about came directly from my inspiration at the time.
For example, my first article was about conversion funnels. At the time, this was a topic I was passionate about as it was about creating paths that lead complete strangers to become customers and that was what I needed at the time.
However, I didn’t do any research on this topic to see if people were Googling it. I continued to work this way for a good year before I realised that this process was completely ineffective. The articles I wrote were inspiring, but no one read them because no one was interested in the topics.
The importance of keyword research
This taught me a very important lesson: when you run a blog, and especially when you’re starting out and haven’t yet built up a loyal following, it’s very important to choose your topics carefully and not go with your gut. So I know, that’s easy to say. But in the end, finding interesting topics for your blog is not that complicated. You just have to know where to look to find said ideas. And in general it’s a good idea to start with keyword research.
So what is keyword research? Well, it’s not very complicated. There are many ways to search for keywords, from which we can then derive article topics. Here I’m going to assume that you are not SEO specialists and just want to find topics with a simple method.
Searching for topics via Google autocomplete
To find topics as easily as possible, the reflex is simple: go to Google and type in the beginning of a sentence. For example: how to make a strawberry pie. Now don’t hit enter, because Google will suggest keywords to complete your query. For example, it will suggest how to make a gluten-free strawberry tart, or how to make a sugar-free strawberry tart, or how to make a light strawberry tart, etc.
Google doesn’t suggest just anything in these completion suggestions. On the contrary, it only suggests phrases that are searched by enough people. So when Google suggests a keyword like “how to make gluten-free strawberry pie”, it means that there are already a lot of people searching for that phrase. If you run a food blog, then it’s a great idea to suggest an article that describes a recipe for gluten-free strawberry pie.
There is a risk when you choose a topic in this way and it has already been covered by too many high profile sites. For example, perhaps all the food blogs have already written about gluten-free strawberry pie. It is then up to you to adapt this article into a more precise version. For example “How to make a gluten-free and dairy-free strawberry tart”.
The more specific the article, the more likely you are to rank in Google, but the fewer searches there are for the topic. Find the right balance for the strength of your site, and your articles will be read!
Searching for topics via Google suggested questions
Another method I’ve used a lot to generate viable ideas for my site is to ask Google a rather broad question and search the “others ask” section. This section is full of people’s questions and is a goldmine for blog post topics.
What’s more, if you click on one of the questions, Google will bring up other questions related to it. You will therefore be able to generate a very large number of potential article topics and you will only have to choose one of them or refine one of the articles to make it more specific.
Once you have a list of ideas for your articles, don’t start writing straight away. Start by doing a Google search for the name of the article you want to do. If there are a lot of big blocks in the first page of results and you see that there is really a lot of competition, then drop that keyword or add more words to make it more specific. If instead you see that there are only the odd low quality pages, then beware: maybe that keyword really isn’t searched for enough to be worth it. Sometimes, though, you will find an article topic that is both relevant and also has a very low level of competition.
It also happens that when you do some preliminary research to see if your topic is a good idea, you come across no blog posts on the first page of Google. In this case, it means that Google is not looking for a blog post for that keyword. This is for example often the case when searching for fashion related keywords such as pink t-shirts or purple skirts or bohemian clothes etc. In these cases Google usually only shows e-commerce category pages on the first page. This is simply because its algorithm has determined that this is what users want.
Conclusion: if you search for an article topic in Google and you only see e-commerce pages on the first page of results, then there’s no point in bothering to make an article, Google won’t want it anyway.