There is no doubt that there are some really great SEO and keyword tools out there. You can type in keywords you’ve used in the past to get suggestions for more. You can see search traffic. You can see all kinds of things. I definitely recommend using them. For regular website content and for blog posts.
But a lot of great blogging is about the longtail keywords. The things that might not show up on those suggestion tools because the traffic isn’t quite high enough or because people haven’t really searched for the keyword yet, but will in the future. Google has said in the past that ~15% of searches are brand new, never been entered into their search box before.
Between those two things it’s a lot of potential traffic from readers looking for information. Don’t think about as one post getting a lot of traffic. Think about all your posts getting a little traffic. With the occasional home run post that really hits well and brings in consistent traffic.
But then the question becomes, how do you figure out those unknown longtail keywords?
Here are a few things to do…
Talk To Your Target Audience In Person
Many businesses see their customers in person. They come to a store or office. These are great opportunities to learn more about what your customers are asking and likely also searching for online. One thing that has always served me well is this saying:
If they’re asking it aloud, they and many others are likely searching for it online.
For example, I remember having conversations with friends about blockchain a few years ago. I had never heard the term until I heard a friend say it on the golf course or something. So obviously I had questions. What is it? How does it work? How is it being applied? How will it likely be applied?
These questions likely appear on keyword suggestion tools now. But I probably had some really longtail type questions that wouldn’t appear. And years ago none of these questions may have appeared on tools. There wasn’t enough traffic.
When you’re speaking with customers, pay attention to their questions. See what topics they’re bringing up that relate to your industry. These can be wonderful for potential blog post ideas.
And the same is true for phone conversations. Your customers are probably calling with questions. For support and for sales. They’re asking things related to your company and products, but also about the industry in general.
I used to work for a shoe retailer and every few months I would talk to someone in support. I would try to learn what customers were asking about lately. It could often be wonderful for blog post ideas. And I would also talk to the merchandisers that were talking with shoe brand reps on the phone. More great content ideas.
One last source for these longtail keywords are old school forums. Social media can be great too. So look there. Especially in comment sections. But some of those forums are really popular even to this day. And they are chock full of people asking all kinds of questions.
I remember awhile ago we used to write for this fishing brand. We would look at some of the popular fishing forums and find all kinds of questions. I liked looking at the overlooked questions. Those where the person wouldn’t get an answer. Then we would research and try to write the best post we could and publish it. These would often become some of the best posts with a lot of traffic for that client.
We use keyword suggestion tools all the time. They are great for blogging. But sometimes you have to get a little more creative. You have to get away from the phone and look for offline sources of inspiration. Focus on the questions people are asking. Then aim to provide the best answers you can with blog posts. That’s been a strategy that has worked well for me since I got into blogging back in 2009. Google has changed. Social media has changed. But people still have all kinds of questions. And blogging is a great way to provide the answers.