Posted by randfish

I’m getting to like this series :-) (see #1 and #2). This week, I thought I’d talk about a tip that might cause mild concussions if you haven’t been doing it. That’s right, it’s the ultra-simple "research before you post" technique for bloggers.

The basic tenet goes something like this – if your blog has any reasonable quantity of link equity and ranking ability, chances are that every blog post has the opportunity to earn you ongoing search traffic. This search traffic is, oftentimes, even more valuable than your loyal readers, because they’ve expressed a specific interest in what your post covers. Thus, by default, your content is exceptionally on-topic (way to go!). The problem arises when you don’t take advantage of this fact by publishing before obeying the cardinal rule of SEO blogging – run keyword research on that post title!

Watch the process – it’s shockingly simple:

STEP 1: Come up with clever blog content, write a title and the blog post, throw in some graphics, and choose a category (all the things you usually do when writing for a blog).

SEOmoz Blog Composition Screenshot

STEP 2: Visit your favorite keyword traffic estimator tool – Google, Wordtracker, KW Discovery (sadly, to access Yahoo! & MSN’s keyword suggestion tools, you’ll need to login to your paid search account – though these are free to set up).

Google Adwords Screenshot

STEP 3: Choose the keyword or phrase most central to your blog post’s title and enter it into the keyword suggestion tool.

Google AdWords Tool

STEP 4: Take the results and modify your title intelligently. You might even consider adding the popular search terms that are returned to the post’s body content (just once or twice is all it takes).

AdWords Keyword Volume

STEP 5: Don’t go overboard or get carried away trying to insert keywords. Sometimes, there won’t be any good ones to use. Other times, the terms will be so broad and competitive that they’re not worth targeting (or you’ve already targeted 5 other posts to that same keyword – see cannibalization). But every time you hit a sweet spot, go for it.

Using this mind-numbingly simple and obvious tactic every time you publish requires a bit of discipline, but if you make it part of your blogging process, you’ll see incredibly positive results over time. Not only do you earn more search traffic, but that traffic will send more links, resulting in higher rankings and a snowball effect that will make your blog the envy of its niche.

Who knew blog post titles could be so valuable for SEO? Oh wait. We all did. That’s why this is such a "headsmacking" tip.

BTW – When I say it requires discipline, I’m serious. I probably do this on less than 10% of my posts, and regret it every time I think about it (kinda like when you forget to floss night after night – yikes).

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