Lesson 1: Part 1: Quick & Easy Keyword Research

This lesson is so big, I had to split it into 3 parts:

LESSON #1, Part 1: Quick & Easy Keyword Research For Blog Post
LESSON #1, Part 2: The Right Way Of Optimizing Your Post For Google
LESSON #1, Part 3: Building Links Like A Champ

I haven’t seen a single A-list blog where some other traffic source would outperform traffic from Google.

Organic traffic from Google takes time to build up and the sooner you start doing it right the faster the results will come.

The reason I’m saying this is because with all the information available online on how to optimize your content for Google I still see many aged blogs that failed to build up this traffic source.

Today I’m going to teach you the exact strategy that worked for me for years and is still working now with my latest blog Photodoto, where organic traffic from Google is growing by 10%-15% monthly almost on autopilot.

And the story starts with…

Part 1: Quick & Easy Keyword Research For Blog Post

The idea behind “keyword research” is to determine the best keywords that people may put into Google to find your article. These keywords should be perfectly relevant to what you’re writing about and at the same time the existing search results in Google for that keyword shouldn’t be too competitive.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to overcomplicate this with tons of numbers, research statistics or fancy analytics tools. I’m a firm believer that this process should be fast & easy.


Your keyword research should not be complicated

But there are a few tricky parts that are very easy to miss. So please read this lesson attentively.

Step #1: Brainstorm Super Relevant Keywords (as many as you can)

Keyword research is mostly about brainstorming relevant keyword ideas with your own brain.

Forget about the fancy “keyword cherry-picking tools“, forget about the “ninja tricks” – it all comes down to YOUR ability to generate keyword ideas with YOUR own brain!

Let me explain this to you with a real life example:

Here’s the post in question:

Watch & Learn: 20 How to Videos to Create a Stunning HDR Photo in One Day

Let’s see what would be the best keyword that people should put into Google to find this post.

The article is basically a selection of videos that teach you how to make HDR effect. So if I needed an article like this, what would I put into Google?

First things that come to mind are:

  • hdr photography – nah, this one is too general
  • hdr photography tutorial – this one is cool.. but it might be a text tutorial and I am looking for videos
  • hdr photography video tutorials – seems like the best one as it’s 100% relevant to the post

But you can’t just stop at this point! Keep brainstorming till you’re out of ideas:

hdr photography how to
learn hdr photography tutorial
learn hdr photography video
learn hdr photography tutorial
study hdr photography tutorial
study hdr photography video
hdr photography how to
hdr photography how to video

It took me one minute to come up with these. And as you can see I didn’t use any tools or techniques. I was just guessing what people might search in Google to find my post.

Yet in case you have a hard time brainstorming a list like that, there’s a little trick. Just do a search for one of your keywords in Google and scroll down to the bottom of search results:

seems like Google is helping you out

seems like Google is helping you out

I want to stress your attention that the most important factor of this step is Relevance. The keywords you pick should be perfectly relevant to what the post is about. If you settle with general keywords (like “hdr photography” in my example) – you will never be able to rank.

Try to invest a bit of your time in brainstorming, as the bigger your initial list of keywords will be – the better.

Step #2: Compare The Keywords That You Have

So you have just brainstormed a nice list of keywords which are very relevant to your post.

But you only need one of them. So which one is the best?

Here is where you need Google Keyword Planner

google keyword planner keyword ideas

The tool is plain easy:

1. Put all your keyword ideas into the proper field;
2. Choose the location where your potential visitors may reside (I guess you may want to remove everything and just go with “All locations”);
3. Choose the language (I guess it’s “English“);
4. Hit “Get Ideas”.

You will get something like this:


Immediately I can see that half of my keywords are not worth attention for they don’t have any search volume at all.

Keyword Ideas Section

If you scroll a little bit down – there’s a section where the Google Keyword Planner is offering you additional relevant keyword ideas. They are based on the keywords you’ve initially put into the tool.


I didn’t check all keyword ideas, but I’ve skimmed through the first 50 and took a few of them to add to my original list.

So here’s the updated list:

hdr photography
hdr photography tutorial
hdr photography how to
how to do hdr photography
hdr tutorial
hdr tutorials

Keyword Match Types

In the upper right corner of the spreadsheet with the keywords there’s a button that lets you switch between Match Types:

match types in keyword planner tool

All this time I was using Broad Match and now I’m going to switch to Exact Match. What’s the difference?

Broad: The sum of the search volumes for the keyword, related grammatical forms, synonyms, and related words

Exact: The search volume for that specific keyword and close variants

Since I’m going to optimize my post for a very specific keyword (not for it’s synonyms and related words) – I want to see a more realistic estimate of the amount of searches this very keyword gets.

So Broad Match is generally used to understand how popular is a given topic while Exact Match shows how popular is a specific keyword that belongs to this topic.

And this is what we get after running our updated list of keyword ideas through Exact Match:


I can clearly see that “hdr photography how to“, “how to do hdr photography” and “hdr tutorials” have a lot less searches in comparison to three others, so I guess I will just throw them away.

Step #3: Determine Your Chances To Rank

My choice is now among the following:

hdr photography tutorial
hdr tutorial

Let’s see what are my chances to rank on the front page of Google for any of these two.

I’m going to look at 3 factors:

1. Pagerank of blogs/websites that rank on the first page;
2. Presence of the exact keyword in the Titles of the existing search results;
4. Presence of the exact keyword in the URLs of the existing search results.

So, without further ado…

1. Pagerank
I’ve googled both keywords and pretty much the same guys dominate search results. Let’s see how powerful they are:

  • speckyboy.com has PageRank 6
  • stuckincustoms.com has PageRank 6
  • cambridgeincolour.com has PageRank 6
  • hongkiat.com has PageRank 6
  • photoshopcafe.com has PageRank 6
  • photographylife.com has PageRank 4

Photodoto has PageRank 4, which means it won’t be easy to outrank all these big guys. But let’s move on.

2. Titles
If your competitors have the exact keyword in their titles – that’s a bad sign. If the keyword appears at the beginning of the title – that’s even worse. So let’s see:


As you can see, three of these guys were clearly optimizing their posts for that specific keyword.

What about the other one?


This time I see only one perfectly optimized post and one YouTube video. This is a good sign.

3. URLs
I won’t post these huge screenshots here again. But my finding was that none of the search results had the exact keyword “hdr photography tutorial” in it’s URL, while “hdr tutorial” appeared a few times.

So this quick and very basic research tells me that I should go for “hdr photography tutorial“.

And besides, as a general rule it’s much easier to rank for a 3-word phrase than for a 2-word phrase.
I mean the more words you have in your keyword phrase – the easier it should be to rank for it.

Steal This Keyword Research Checklist

So that’s the method. I’ve tried to explain everything as detailed as possible. Hope you don’t have any questions so far. But if you do – don’t hesitate to reach out. I promise you’ll get a personal response and most likely I will update this lesson to reflect your issue.

Just to recap the whole process and give you something you can quickly review later while doing your next keyword research here’s the process in a nutshell.

1. Think of all the possible keywords a person may search for in Google to find your blog post. Do that till you’re out of ideas. (google some of them and scroll down to see what relevant searches Google suggests)

2. Go compare them using Google Keyword Planner and review the keyword ideas that it’s offering you;

3. Narrow down your list of keywords based on the amount of Exact Searches and relevance to what your post is about.

4. Google these keywords to see how powerful your competitors are in terms of PageRank and if they have the exact keyword in their Titles and URLs.

5. Pick the best keyword, considering that it’s easier to rank for keyword phrases with more words in them.

But as I’ve said, this lesson doesn’t end here!

Click the link below to read Part 2 of LESSON #1:

Part 2: Optimizing Your Post For Google >>>

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