The internet, today, is fiercely competitive in terms of getting your blog posts found in a natural search.  Natural search is defined as non-paid or promoted links, meaning, what naturally comes up in Google when you type a search query such as “New York”.

Now, a term such as “New York” will be massively competitive, meaning the results Google will pull up are likely to be from giants such as Wikipedia, Lonely Planet, and maybe the New York tourist board.

Therefore, if one were to have a hotel in New York, there is little point trying to compete on the search term “New York”.  

That said, when you make this term somewhat more niche and specific such as “backpacker accommodation in New York” then you are competing in a different sphere as there’s more contextual reference to the search – so Google can now see what you are specifically looking for and will try its best to pull up relevant results.  

Now, again, giants such as AirBnB and are likely to be featuring highly – due to their superior authority and sheer size, and perhaps even more so if the word “cheap” were to be added… yet, when you go just a little bit more niche, for instance, by adding the term “vegetarian” or “gay-friendly” then you have a shot at being found – presuming this term is aligned with your business.

When it comes to blog posts, we need to remember that people are in search of answers to specific questions; in essence, they have an itch they need scratching and are looking for the best content to help them in their quest to satiate their itch.

Therefore, what you really need to be doing is working out what questions are your audience asking, and in what language, meaning what phrases and terms are they using, also, what typos are they commonly making – as this can be hugely advantageous in terms of ranking highly for related terms that are just misspelled.

There are a number of keyword tools on offer, Google, for instance, offers a pretty good free solution, whilst there are many specific providers that offer something tailored to a particular platform, such a WordTree that is an Amazon keyword tool.

In essence, you need to find out what people are actually searching and then find a way to get your posts to rank highly for these particular phrases.  There’s a heap of SEO tricks that one can use, yet often, the best advice is to focus on providing value to your audience through the generation of valuable content that is meaningful to their lives.

We’re often so busy looking for hacks, that we overlook the simplicity found in the movie Field of Dreams which states “build it and they will come”.  

How this relates to blogging, is essentially to say, build value by creating great content – get the content out there using as many authority building strategies as you can, and for sure, research keywords that are naturally inserted within the body of your content… but just focus on creating value for your audience, and in time, they will come.

*This is a contributed post.