One of the best ways to improve your website’s search engine rank is to publish great content.  This is not a new revelation – Bill Gates first coined the term “content is king” back in 1996.  Needless to say his predictions came true. Content is what drives the internet as we know it today. Content marketing is considered an integral part of search engine optimization, and blogging is one of the most well-known ways of content marketing.

keyword research to discover trending topics

With close to 5 million new posts published every day, how do we make our posts stand out?  Creating click-worthy articles that are relevant to our target audience can be time consuming.  We don’t want our hard work to end up in the dark corners of the internet where no one will find them!

How Blogging Helps Your Website Rank Better

Before exploring the keyword research strategies that will help you discover great ideas for your next blog post, let’s talk about how blogging can improve a website’s rank in search engines.

The simple answer is that great content has the potential to drive a lot of traffic to your website.

If done correctly, a blog post will bring visitors to your website, whether it’s generated through social media or organic search results.

One of the core concepts of search engine optimization is the need to build a strong backlink profile.  Backlinks are links from other websites that point back to pages or posts on your website. For example, the link in the first sentence of this paragraph (backline profile) is a backlink.

The number of backlinks a website has is used by search engines like Google as a measure of that website’s popularity or authority.  All else being equal, websites with a high number of quality backlinks are given a higher relevancy score in search queries than websites with fewer links.

link building ranking factors

A recent survey of 72 SEO experts confirmed that links, both on-page and off-page (backlinks), continue to play a major role in Google’s ranking algorithm.

Since backlinks play such a key role in SEO, it is important to take the time to build a strong profile of links. However, getting websites to link to your content is not easy.  This will happen over time.  The trick is…you guessed it – creating great content!  In-depth tutorials, top-ten lists, and breakthrough studies are examples of great content that have the potential to get you backlinks from other websites.

Additionally, Google rewards websites that frequently publish new content by giving them a boost in search results over websites that haven’t been updated in a long time.  Google is all about providing a great service to its users – that’s us – people who are searching Google for answers.  Google believes that websites with new content are more likely to answer our questions than websites with old, stale content.

Finally, by frequently adding content to your website related to your industry, you are positioning yourself and your website as an authority on that topic.

It all starts with Keyword Research

Every blog post is an opportunity to improve your website’s search engine rankings, and to boost your website’s domain authority.  To that end, the articles you publish need to include keywords and phrases that are relevant to your business.  Moreover, to improve your odds of backlinking and social media shares, the topics need to be popular and trending. That’s where keyword research comes in.

Moz, a leading authority on SEO, defines Keyword Research as “a core SEO task that involves identifying popular words and phrases people enter into search engines in an attempt to figure out what to rank for.”

If you hire an SEO consultant to perform keyword research for your website, they will usually have access to various keyword research tools in their arsenal.  However, if you are doing the research yourself, there are many free tools available to you that are a great starting point.

For the remainder of this article, let’s assume we operate a dental clinic.  How do we come up with relevant and trending topics that will give us the most bang for our buck?  Let’s examine 3 free tools we can use.

Google Search

In the Google search box, start typing something related to your business or industry.  In our dental clinic example, let’s type something obvious like “teeth”.

Google search predictionsYou’ll notice that Google automatically provides some phrases such as:

teeth whitening
teeth cleaning

This “autocomplete” feature is known as “search predictions” –  which are suggestions provided by Google based on the text you’re typing into the search box and also based on related trending topics other people are searching for.

Select one of the search predictions to see the results.  Let’s pick “teeth whitening” as an example.

Now, go through the results returned for that search query.  Some will not be relevant, and others will be links to dental clinics who offer that service.  But you’ll also see articles like:

Teeth Whitening: Your Options and Costs
Teeth whiteners are all the rage, but do they work?

The research is meant to help us to discover what others have written that have already ranked well. The intent is to gain inspiration for our own unique articles.

Google Suggest

In addition to Search Predictions, Google offers yet another tool to help with keyword research.  Simply scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page to see a list of searches related to our initial search term.  Google Suggest offers search queries based on trending topics and what other people are searching for.

Google Suggest results

From the options presented, we see several interesting search queries:

teeth whitening products review
teeth whitening home remedy

Clicking on any of these suggestions will return a search result for that query.  Again, go through the list and find potential topics you can use for your new article.

Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is a popular online tool that you can use to discover viral content – articles that received a lot of likes and shares on social media.  Remember, the keyword research exercise is about finding trending topics that we can rank our content for.

Head over to buzzsumo.com and enter any of the phrases we have discovered so far.  From our example, let’s enter “teeth whitening” again.

Buzzsumo trending topics

Buzzsumo will list the articles that have the most social engagement – viral articles with lots of shares and likes.  Scroll through the results, and find topics that you might be interested in exploring and writing about to your own followers.  Pay close attention to how the authors of these popular articles crafted their headlines.  With so many articles competing for our attention, an exciting, or even controversial headline can create just enough intrigue to warrant further reading.

Wrapping Up

These are just 3 of the free tools out there that you can use to identify trending topics you can write about.  Blogging is a simple yet effective strategy to improve a website’s rank in search engines.  The discovery process must always start with keyword research. There is no point spending precious time writing a blog article about a topic that no one is interested in. Spending a few minutes researching the keywords (and hence the topic) of your next article will get you the greatest ROI for your blogging effort.

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