Lesson 2:
How to Quickly Find 100+ Keywords for Your Blog

In today’s lesson, you’ll learn how we found a list of keywords that let us grow the blog to 50,000+ monthly organic visitors in six months.

Strong keywords are the foundation of any successful SEO strategy.

If you don’t pick good keywords, it won’t matter how great your content is… you won’t see results.

But developing a great list of keywords is challenging.

If you pick keywords that are too narrow and specific, they won’t bring enough traffic to justify your effort. Your article might hit #1 on Google, but if your customers aren’t searching for it, what good will that do you?

On the other hand, if you pick keywords that are too broad or competitive, you’ll have a harder time getting the content to rank. You’ll spend months writing, publishing, and promoting without cracking the first page or bringing any traffic to your site.

In either case, you’ll be pumping resources into a losing strategy. You might even get so discouraged that you give up on content marketing altogether :(.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. In today’s lesson, you’ll learn how we found hundreds of high-value keywords for Cup & Leaf before we launched. A list of keywords that let us grow the blog to 50,000+ monthly organic visitors in six months.
(and then tripled that to 150,000+ monthly visitors three months later)

Identifying a Great Keyword

There are three core criteria that define a great keyword:

  • Lots of people searching it (high search volume)
  • Not too hard to get on the first page for (low keyword difficulty)
  • Relevant and helpful to your customers

We’ve found ahrefs is the best tool for collecting this data, but the process should work with your tool of choice (as long as it provides accurate traffic and difficulty estimates).

In this lesson, we’ll show you exactly how to use Ahrefs to find the best keyword opportunities.

But first let’s define exactly how those three criteria translate into concrete numbers you can use to evaluate the opportunities you find...

So what defines “high search volume”?

As a rule of thumb, focus on keywords with at least 500 monthly searches.

If you’re fortunate enough to find hundreds of keywords with 500+ monthly searches, you can increase this threshold to 1,000.

If your niche is smaller, or you have a much higher customer value, you can adjust it down to 100-200.  

In a little bit, we’ll show you how to setup quick filters for this in Ahrefs keyword explorer...

(you’ll learn how to use this filter soon)

You’ll probably find at least a few keywords with a volume 10,000+ as well. The problem with many of those big keywords is they fail our second criteria: realistic difficulty.

Most keyword research tools like Ahrefs will include a Keyword Difficulty (KD) score.

Higher search volume usually brings more competition. And if your blog is new, it will be difficult to rank for highly competitive terms right out of the gate.

For a newer blog, we recommend that you start with a keyword difficulty of 30 or lower. Ideally, start below 10 if there are enough keywords with that low of a difficulty:

(you’ll learn how to use this filter soon)

If you’ve already been blogging for 6+ months and have some articles on the front page, you might be able to increase this to 35 or 40. But it’s still a good idea to grab as many low difficult keywords as you can in this first phase.

Finally, you need to make sure your keywords are relevant and helpful. In most cases, that means they’re topics your target customers would search for and then read about.

There are tons of great coffee-related keywords we could chase on Cup & Leaf, but the traffic wouldn’t do us much good since we only sell tea. They also wouldn’t do anything to help us develop our SEO authority in the tea space.

It also wouldn’t make sense for us to go after a keyword like “caffeine in black tea,” since Google has an auto-answer box for this, making it unlikely anyone will click through to our article:

While this term might be relevant to our audience. Writing an article about probably won’t be very helpful to anyone.

Now that you know what we’re looking for, let’s start gathering your keywords.

Step 1: Create Your Content Planning Spreadsheet

Keyword research can quickly turn to chaos if you aren’t organized about it. So create a master Google doc to store everything.

You could make it from scratch… or you can just copy ours (don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone).

  1. Click here to open our custom template
  2. Click File → Make a copy...
  3. Rename the file for your site and select a folder to save it in.

Now you’re ready to get started with the research.

Step 2: Define Your High-Level Topics

Before you start picking specific keywords, write down the 3-10 high-level topics you want your site to rank for.

Ask yourself…

  • What is your product about?
  • What problem does your product solve?
  • What do your customers need to know?
  • What would you want to be the authority on?

Here’s what we came up with for Cup & Leaf:

Record those in the first tab of our spreadsheet. Now, the real work begins.

Step 3: Dive Into Keyword Research

Now it’s finally time to learn how to use ahrefs and built a strong list of keywords.

If you don’t already have an account, sign up for their 7-day trial and collect as many keywords as you can. It’s not free, but you can get all the keywords you need for a whole year with their $7 trial.

If you decide to use a different tool, the core process will be the same. But you’ll have to figure out how to implement it in your own way.

Once you’ve got your account set up, Nat will show you how we find all our keywords:

Click here to watch the video if the embed isn't working.

Also keep in mind that different tools use different scoring models to measure difficulty. You might need to adjust the filters we use in ahrefs to account for this. The key is that you focus on lower difficulty terms and avoid super competitive ones at first.

Ideally, you should be able to build a list of at least 100 keywords. That will give you a large bank of content to work on and help you identify the best opportunities when creating your initial content plan.

Next Steps

If 100 keywords seems too difficult in your niche, don’t worry. Just 50 is enough to get the ball rolling. You’ll discover more keywords as you go.

In your next lesson, you’ll learn how to prioritize these keywords and build your initial content plan.


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