Ranking on the first page of a Google search is like the holy grail for bloggers and the key to doing that is knowing your audience and the searcher’s intent. In today’s episode, you’ll learn why these two things not only help you rank better and attract the right audience for your content, but will also help you create more content, more quickly.
Niki Robinson is a wild word wrangler, urban explorer, and overall nerd living and working in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As President of the growing team of talented content creators and SEO experts at Posts By Ghost, her current passions include content strategy, SEO/data analysis, and practical applications for artificial intelligence. She’s the creator of the 90-Day SEO Bootcamp for Bloggers and she serves as the Milwaukee StorySLAM Producer for the international live storytelling organization, The Moth.
Learn more at postsbyghost.com
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[00:00:07].910] – Liz Stapleton, Host
Showing up on the first page of Google Search is kind of like the Holy grail of blogging. By researching your readers’ needs and answering the searcher’s intent, you up your chances of reaching that revered spot on the first page by people who actually want to read your content.
[00:00:23].930] – Liz
Hi. I’m Liz Stapleton, host of the Blogger Breakthrough Summit. And this is the podcast where we share tidbits and tips from our incredible Summit speakers. In today’s episode, you’re going to hear tips to up your keyword game from content creator and SEO specialist Nikki Robinson that she shared with us during the 2020 Blogger Breakthrough Summit. And I’m excited to say she’s actually coming back for the 2022 Blogger Breakthrough Summit. So let’s go ahead and get to it.
[00:00:48].650] – Niki Robinson
I think the big thing that I want to talk about first is just answering searcher’s intent. Okay. So I think people think about keywords in the sense that they think, oh, “I need to do this keyword research. I need to find this perfect keyword, and then it’s going to have this magical set of numbers assigned to it like, a lot of people are searching for it, and I know I can rank for it. And so I’m going to cram it into my content in a way that maybe isn’t working.”
[00:01:16].610] – Niki
Now, it doesn’t mean that you don’t want keywords that, you know, people are searching for a lot. And your market is searching for a lot. You know your readers, right? But I guess what I’m saying is when it comes to searcher intent, you need to sit down and think about, “Okay, how are my readers searching for this? And how can I answer their question with a post?”
[00:01:39].230] – Niki
So I like to think about keywords, when you think about a focus keyword, I like to think about that as the topic of your post. What am I writing about? That’s your keyword. People think it’s kind of this magical thing that they’re going to come up with this perfect thing and just stick it in a bunch of places and that’s just going to magically make them rank. But it’s more than that.
[00:02:02].930] – Niki
It’s really about figuring out what your readers want and then answering their questions. Right?
[00:02:11].750] – Niki
So, like, a lot of the time I go, when you get emails from people…And I say this to businesses, too. It’s like when you’re out in the field doing customer service, thesame goes for bloggers, right? When you get emails from people, when you have people responding to your mailing list, when you have people commenting on stuff, what are they asking about? What do they want to know from you? And that’s the stuff that you want to write about. And that’s going to lend itself naturally to what keywords are going to be important to your blog.
[00:02:34].370] – Niki
So I kind of just want to say a little bit about that because I just feel like there’s a lot of shoehorning that goes on.
[00:02:40].310] – Liz
Like if you put a keyword in this many times, and some of that’s Yeost says you need it in there more or something because you’re using a plugin, but you can use related keywords, and that could almost be better. It’s called LSI, which I forget what it stands for. Right? Am I totally off base here? Am I using the right terminology?
[00:03:00].770] – Niki
No, that’s fine. I mean, LSI is fine. I don’t like using LSI just because…The term just because it’s kind of confusing.
[00:03:08].630] – Liz
Like words and phrases that relate to the topic you’re talking on.
[00:03:11].150] – Niki
[00:03:12].770] – Niki
So I mean related keywords that support the keyword that you’re writing about. So if it’s how to make macaroni and cheese, you’re obviously going to have various things that naturally fit into that. Right?
[00:03:25].130] – Niki
So it’s going to be like the type of noodle and the type of cheese and the different things. So it’s not something that’s way out here that’s different than you have to also find it’s those natural words that also flow right into what you’re already talking about. And I think what I tell people the most is get rid of the “garbage words,” I say. So the garbage words are when you’re saying, like “it” or “that” or whatever. Use nouns, adjectives and verbs, like really specific stuff. And that’s what’s filling in your content more and making it much more robust. Right.
[00:03:57].710] – Niki
So you’re not just saying then you stir “it.” Well, what are you stirring? Right.And that’s a really great way to just naturally add a lot of those. We call them semantic keywords most of the time. Those related keywords in a natural way without trying to make some magic happen. That is impractical.
[00:04:17].210] – Liz
Yeah. So it’s understanding sort of how to use the keywords throughout your content to make it the most bang for your buck, if you will, without being obnoxious.
[00:04:29].030] – Niki
Yeah. And I kind of want to say a little bit too about, like, a lot of bloggers are in WordPress, and I really like WordPress SEO. We do specialize in WordPress SEO, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do SEO on other platforms. It’s a lot more difficult to do SEO on other platforms. I just want to throw that out there. So if you are using WordPress, I do recommend using an SEO plugin. Yoast is usually pretty much the most common. And I like Yoast. I think what I want to say about that, though, is that a lot of people think like, “Oh, I just put in a word in that focus keyword field, and then I get that green light. And then I go on my day and I post as optimized.”
[00:05:11].270] – Niki
But what I encourage people to do is the little indicators that Yoast has, right, it will have the green…What you did right, what you kind of did okay, and then what you didn’t do right. And those are an okay set of guidelines. They’re not terrible. I don’t think they’re all perfect or great, but the thing is that it’s not a bad set of guidelines in terms of where to put things and how to optimize your posts.
[00:05:38].750] – Speaker 2
So what I encourage people to do is try to get that green light on as many of those items as possible, if it naturally makes sense, if it’s something where you just feel like you’re like, okay, I’m really going overboard on this. Then in that case, it’s like, okay, then dial it back. And there’s also some things about Yoast where, I know they updated it recently, but it’s like you only have to have something like, 300 or 500 words in the post for them to say like, yeah, your post is long enough and most top content that ranks right now is like, 1800, 2200 words. If you have that many words to say about something, then I say cover the topic as extensively as possible. Go into detail about that one specific topic. Get specific, talk about one thing, elaborate on it, but don’t just add words to add words, right? So we don’t want to just like, “Oh, this doesn’t have enough words. I’m just going to cram more words in there so that there’s more words.”
[00:06:40].350] – Liz
Okay, hopefully this episode has helped you to discover how answering a person’s search intent will help you reach more people, rank higher and create targeted content faster. Join us next time when you’re you will be learning how you can use Google Analytics to better monetize your affiliate marketing. I’ll catch you then.