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2020 SEO Guide: Easy-Peasy Keyword Research for Businesses

If you’re trying to use Pinterest to drive traffic to your business or website, you probably have a blog.

Let’s face it: Whether you’re the one writing or paying someone else to do it, it either costs a lot of time or money. For that reason, we bet you want to make the most out of it.

Since you’re already doing keyword research for your pins, you could do a little extra and end up ranking your blog post in Google, too! As you probably know, ranking well in Google can mean a lot of free traffic, translating into easily-converting customers and clients.

If you’ve looked into SEO before but were confused or overwhelmed, this guide is for you. We’re breaking it down into everything you need to know, starting from beginning and ending with the publish button.

Our aim is to make SEO keyword research more simple so you’ll leave this post with actionable steps. We’ll cover:

  • Why Google SEO Matters for Pinterest Marketing
  • SEO Definitions Explained Easily
  • Basic SEO Rules for Blogging
  • Basic SEO Knowledge Beyond Blogging
  • 3 Steps to Easy Peasy Keyword Research

You’ll learn the tricks and tools you need to help rank high and rake in the extra traffic.

 

Why Does SEO Matter for Pinterest Marketing for Businesses?

If you’ve come to this site, it’s probably because you’re interested in Pinterest marketing since that’s what we focus on. However, most people who are successful on Pinterest have a blog. If you’re regularly writing content for Pinterest anyway, you might as well put in a little extra work to also rank in Google. Why? Two Reasons:

  1. Get your pins on Google’s highly-ranked Pinterest result pages
  2. Get additional potential customers/clients from Google traffic

Google’s Pinterest Result Pages

pinterest keyword research

To do the most thorough and accurate Pinterest keyword research, you should also be using SEO tools anyway. Why? Because even if you don’t rank in Google, you can still grab its searchers by side-stepping their ranking process. Google often ranks Pinterest result pages for visually-related searches. For example, when I Google “bullet journal layouts,” Pinterest is the first result. So, if your pin shows up on that page, you double-dipped in Pinterest and Google without the extra effort.

So the process would be:

User Googles “bullet journal layouts”>Sees Pinterest result page titled “575 Best Bullet Journal Layout images in 2020”>Clicks>Finds your pin>Clicks to your website.

The user doesn’t even have to know what Pinterest is or have an account. Now, you’re open for business to a whole new audience.

Google Traffic

Same as Pinterest, ranking in Google can bring targeted customers and clients to your website. Unlike Pinterest though, it typically takes more time and effort. But it’s worth it! If your site ends up ranking well and you keep it updated, there’s a potential for loads of free traffic in the years to come (take that, paid ads!).

Since you may want to do SEO keyword research for Pinterest anyway, you might as well. Using your findings, you can put those keywords in specific places on your website to help you rank. Although the effort needs to be a long-term commitment for success, it can be very cost-effective if you do it properly. Since people are increasingly searching more specific things, there’s a potential for you to earn highly targeted traffic—meaning customers who are already in the buying mindset for your specific offer.

 

SEO Definitions

Before we get into how to do keyword research, we should list some basic definitions that you can refer back to, if needed.

SEO

SEO stands for “search engine optimization”. When people do “SEO” work, they’re looking for ways to make online content appear higher in search results, like Google. When your website ranks higher in Google search results, more people land on your website. The more targeted people that land on your website, the most customer or clients you’re likely to get. There’s many activities you can do to boost SEO, but they generally involve the components defined below.

Keyword/Keyphrases

Keywords are the words people search in Google. They’re what you intend to rank for so your website shows up in Google. For example, maybe you want to rank for “therapist.” However, more often, it’s more realistic and better/more targeted to use keyphrases. Keyphrases are a set of words as opposed to just one. For example, you may want to rank for “mental health coach in Michigan.” When bloggers use the word “keyword,” they’re typically referring to multiple words, although the literal definition would be a single keyword.

Keyword/Keyphrase Research

Keyword or keyphrase research is the work you do to figure out which keywords to use. There’s a variety of tricks and tools you can use to do this.

Keyword Volume

Keyword volume is the number of people who search a phrase on any given month, averaged over the year. SEO tools will give you their best estimate; however, they’re not always 100% accurate.

Keyword Difficulty/Competition

Keyword difficulty or competition refers to how hard it is to rank for a keyword. A high number typically means it’s difficult to rank for. A low number means there’s less competition, so it should be easier.

Algorithms

Algorithms are the rules search engines and social media follow to decide how content should appear. Best practices are formed based on a search engine’s advice, but we never know the full extent of their algorithms. Since they make small changes frequently to improve user experience, it’s something to stay updated on.

 

Putting the Definitions Together

Before we get into more details about SEO, if you’re new to the idea, I want to give you a full picture of how these definitions come together.

For example, let’s say you’re mental health therapist in Denver who specializes in anxiety. As part of your SEO efforts, you write blog posts about strategies for coping with anxiety. You do keyword research to find what people are searching for when they’re looking for therapists in your area. Maybe you see that “anxiety therapist Denver” is a good keyphrase. Maybe it’s lower competition with a medium search volume: The sweet spot. So, maybe you try to naturally weave that word into your blog posts; name you images with that phrase; include it in a title, and heading, etc.

 

SEO 2020: Basic Rules for Content Marketing

Here’s some basic rules to keep in mind when creating SEO-friendly blog posts.

  1. Don’t spam
  2. Longer posts rank better
  3. Keep snippet writing in mind
  4. Update blogs to boost SEO
  5. Algorithms Change
  6. Search engines are smarter than you think
  7. There’s more to SEO than content marketing

Don’t Spam/Overload Keywords

Use keywords where they fit in naturally, but don’t spam them into your content. The number of times you use a keyword can hurt you if Google knows it’s inauthentic.

Longer Posts Tend to Do Better

You can make pins for posts of any length and they may perform well on Pinterest, but if you beef it up, it could land in the search results. Although studies have different answers on how long the ideal post should be, it’s probably longer than you think.

For example, Moz and Buzzsumo say a minimum of 1,000 words is ideal while Hubspot found 2,250+ words was the best length for their content. Really, it depends on the topic and what information is already out there about it. Are you competing against 300-word or 3,000-word posts? Can you write 2,000+ words that are relevant and useful? If you’re writing long posts but you’re being redundant and keyword stuffing, Google sees you and it doesn’t like it.

Write with Snippets in Mind

pinterest keyword research

If you want to make the most out of your content, yet another thing to keep in mind is snippets. You’ve seen them—the box that pops up on Google that answers your question. If it answers it well, sometimes you don’t even need to click through. But, of course, there’s a better chance of people clicking on your site if you’re in that top box versus below.

So, one way to help yourself get in that box is to write with it in mind. For example, say you’re a therapist and you’re writing about CBT strategies. You’ll probably go over each strategy in detail, but listing the strategies first makes it more likely you’ll end up in the snippet box. Why? Because you’re answering people’s question directly, which is what people want. Now, if people want to know more about any of those listed, the can click through to your site.

High-Quality Content Only

Google used to rank a site if it simply listed the keyword over and over. Now, Google sees those tricks and they’ll actually hurt your ranking. High-quality content outperforms small, poorly-written posts.

While you don’t need to be a pro writer, you should try your best. That means you won’t get away with being redundant (AKA saying the same thing 100 times to make your post look longer).

What will get you points is providing value. Think about what your potential customers and clients actually want to read. What will be helpful to them? What are they looking for already? And, although grammatical or spelling slip-ups happen everywhere, it won’t hurt to run your content through a program like Grammarly. Having copy that signals “clean and professional” as opposed to “my drunk diary blog” (no judgment!) will help you earn Google’s trust.

Update Posts to Boost SEO

If you’re just starting out your company blog, this won’t apply to you until further down the line. But still, it’s important to know. When a post becomes outdated, it’s a good idea to update it. Even if it isn’t outdated, you can add extra information or photos. This is an especially good idea if the post is already ranking well—it can give it another boost.

Algorithms Change

Although the info in this post reflects best practices at the time of writing, algorithms change. As Google gets more advanced, it learns more about what people want and how to give it to them. In turn, they change the rules about what content appears when. Some of these changes are minor and won’t affect you at all, while others can make your traffic take a sudden drop. It’s important to periodically check for algorithm updates to ensure you’re making the right moves.

Search Engines Aren’t Stupid

Or at least, Google isn’t. Although it’s a technology, it’s starting to become smarter to deliver what people want. It’s started to understand natural language rather than just strict string of words. Same as Pinterest, you have to think of it more like a person and less like a robot. That means, don’t spam or try to “trick” the “system.” Just be normal and try to produce helpful content.

Google really hammered this point home with their late 2019 BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) update. To put a really simple meaning to a such an intense name, Google can better understand the context of searches.

If the exact keyphrase “dietitian intuitive eating” sounds unnatural, Google will still know the page is about that if we talk about “intuitive eating” and how to find a “dietitian who teaches intuitive eating.” This makes it easier to write better and more natural sounding posts. So, if a keyphrase really sounds unnatural and awkward, don’t stress about it or use it.

SEO Goes Beyond Blogging

Content marketing is one of the best ways to improve your SEO. In fact, it’s hard to rank without one or any type of regularly updated content. With that being said though, Google looks at many, many other factors when ranking your site. Although it can be overwhelming, they can all be tackled in time. We cover all these other factors in the next section.

 

Non-Content Marketing SEO Factors

This post mainly focuses on your SEO efforts in terms of your blog/content marketing. However, there are many other SEO factors separate from your content. If you work with or as a part of a large company, there may already be somebody else looking after these efforts. If you’re in charge of the entire online presence, these parts may also be up to your to implement.

These are the additional factors that affect how well your website ranks. For a quick look, besides content marketing, factors that affect SEO ranking include:

  • Backlinks
  • Page load speed
  • Mobile design
  • Website age
  • Many others

Backlinks

Backlinks are the number of high-quality sites that rank to your site. You can get these in a few ways:

  • Making high-quality content and marketing it well so that other sites naturally link to it
  • Write other sites/blogs asking to provide a high-quality guest article in exchange for a link
  • Paying another site to publish your content with a link
  • Hiring an SEO expert who can take care of it for you

Page Load Speed

Google knows how quick your page loads. Since people like fast-loading sites more, Google ranks them better. You can check your page load speed using Pingdom’s Speed Test Tool. You can try from multiple locations to get a better idea. If your page doesn’t load fast enough, you can do things to quicken it up, such as downloading a caching plugin, deleting plugins, downsizing media, etc. Pingdom’s tools will also tell you what is taking the most loading time, suggesting how you can fix it.

Mobile-Friendly

By now, every site should also look great on a phone. Most website makers and WordPress themes already look good on mobile, but not all elements may translate over. A site that is easy to navigate and look at on any device will have priority.

Age of Your Website

This is one you really can’t change unless you buy an old domain. But Google tends to trust old sites more since they’ve been around longer.

Dozens of Others

Since Google does updates often, how much each factor affects your search rankings is unknown. However, there are definitely many factors that play both large and small rolls. For example, SparkToro listed over 25 factors that experts thought affected SEO.

 

When Do You Do Keyword Research?

So, how often should you do keyword research? Although the answer will vary per business or website, here’s some basic suggestions.

Routine Research

You should do your “general” keyword research on a routine basis. This includes general, non-topic, specific terms. These are terms you’ll likely use on your static page titles, meta data and copy (i.e. about page). You’ll also probably use those terms throughout your blog post because they relate naturally to your niche. Since information can change, you’ll want to check it every now and then to see if there’s anything new you can do.

Blog Post Research

You’ll probably also do a little keyword research for every blog post. You could do this before writing, so you can naturally weave in the keyphrases. Or, it could be after your write, if you find it easier to place them later. Often times, it’s better to do keyword research before you write because it can give you ideas for subheadings. For example, you may not have known that your potential customers are searching X about your business. But since it came up in your keyword research, you can now use it as a subsection.

Updating Blog Post Research

If you’re going back and updating new blog posts, you’ll want to re-do your keyword research then too. Again, this will ensure your phrases are still relevant and give you ideas for added content.

 

How to Do Keyword Research in 3 Easy-Peasy Steps

Here’s our 3 steps to easy keyword research

Step 1: What to Look For

Before getting on with your research, you need to know what to actually look for. Here’s my two biggest tips.

Keyphrases are Generally Better to Target Than Keywords

Unless you’re already a well-ranking site, it’s unrealistic to think that you’ll rank high for one single word. Also, would you want to? These days, people are searching more complex phrases rather than just one word. For example, people understand typing in “therapist” is probably going to get them a definition of therapist. That’s pretty useless if they actually want a therapist. So, they know to google “therapists depression in fort worth.” So, look for keyphrases, not keywords

Balance Keyword Volume Competition

The two major things you want  to look at are search volume and competition. These can be found on all keyword tools. Unless you’re already ranking above your competition, you’ll probably be best choosing low to medium competition keywords with a low-medium or medium search volume. These are the easiest to rank for. Then, as you build ranking momentum and Google trusts you more you can start targeting more difficult keywords.

 

Step 2: Choose a Keyword Research Tool

To start your research, you’ll need to choose a tool. There’s free and paid options, but the paid are best for long-term use. Here’s an overview of my suggestions:

Option #1: SEMRush (Free trial; Paid)

SEMRush is a top keyword research tool for content marketers. You can get some info by signing up for a free trial. Although there’s different tools on this site, we’ll focus on the main keyword-based ones.

how to use keywords on pinterest

how to use keywords on pinterest

SEMrush will give you a general overview of your keyword. You can also search keyphrases and see more ideas. As we discussed at the beginning of the post, it’s typically best to aim for smaller to medium search volume and low competition. These are easier to rank for. As you rank for more terms, Google will trust you more and it will become easier to rank for more competitive, shorter tail keywords.

In the example above, maybe “self care routine” is my main overview keyword, but I see that it still has a higher keyword difficultly (KD) given that I’m a new blog. So, maybe I also use the phrase “massage therapist self care routine” in my copy and pin. You may worry that it has a lower search volume, but you’re more likely to rank for it since it has a lower KD. Using it also doesn’t eliminate you from ranking for the broad term “self care routine.”

Option #2: AHREFs (Paid)

AHREFs is another popular keyword research tool. Compared to SEMRush, it’s more advanced and can be more difficult to use. However, it holds a lot of information.

It has much of the same information as SEMRush. Again, you’ll want to choose keywords that are lower competition.

Option #3: KWFinder (Free trail; Paid)

KWFinder gives you access to some features if you sign up for free. Like everything else, it lets you know the keyword difficulty (KD) and search volume.

pinterest keyword research

Option #4: UberSuggest (Free)

I’m including Ubersuggest here because it’s a good option if you don’t have access to any paid tools. Still though, it’s on the lesser helpful end. I find that many times, Ubersuggest’s results are contradicted by other tools (accuracy?). I also find that it has a harder time suggesting more detailed, longer keyphrases (for example, it says no one searches “bullet journaling anxiety” and they definitely do).

how to use keywords on pinterest

But, it’s a good place to start if nothing else. As with other tools, it gives you an estimated keyword search volume and difficulty. Instead of being listed as “Keyword Difficultly” (KD) it’s listed as “SD” (SEO Difficulty).

 

Step 3: Putting Your Keyword “Findings” into Blog Posts

Now that you have your keywords, where should you put them in your blog posts?

Copy

You can use your research to help you online your blog post. For example, you can answer questions that you see people are searching. If there seems to be many searches related to it, maybe you dedicate a section to answering it. You should also naturally weave the keyphases throughout your post. Or, you can go back later and insert them if you find that quicker. Again, make sure it sounds natural. Google is getting better at selecting human-sounding content as opposed to awkwardly-worded posts.

Headings

Incorporate your keyphrases into headings (h2, h3, h4) that are still clear and natural-sounding.

Page Titles

The SEO Title of blog post should include your keyphrase(s). Again, make sure it sounds natural. If people see your site in the results and frequently click, Google will rank you better because they see people like your title. That means it’s in your best interest to write titles that also entice people to click through. (Yet, don’t be clickbait-y if it misleads people).

Everything To-Do with Images

Keyphrases can be used in:

  • Image names (keyphrase.jpg)
  • Description (when uploaded)
  • Alternative text (when uploaded)

Meta Description

Finally, you’ll want to craft a meta description that includes your keywords and entices the reader to click through. Meta description is simply the words underneath the title in a search result. When you download a plugin like Yoast SEO, you’ll be able to customize how your description appears in Google.

 

Summary on How to Do SEO Keyphrase Research in 2020

Doing keyword research is important to rank on Pinterest and Google. Although you may use Pinterest-specific hacks to rank in Pinterest, you should use other tools to rank in Google. This is because using those keyphrases in pins can help you earn your spot onto a Google-ranking Pinterest page. But, it can also help you rank your own website or blog post directly. That can lead to free traffic over the years if you do it right.

In this post, we’ve outlined the basic SEO definitions and rules you need to consider when it comes to creating SEO-friendly blog posts. However, ranking well goes beyond content. It’s important to also consider the other factors in this post and how you can improve them.

When doing keyword research, you can use free or paid SEO tools. Then, you can insert your findings in the places we listed for best results. Remember, Google can tell if you’re using a keyword awkwardly just to rank. It can tell if you write low-quality content. So, write naturally and aim to provide as much value as you can. Another important reminder is that, like most things, but especially Google, ranking takes time. It’s a success builds upon many small successes over time, so be patient and persist for results!

 

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