So you understand keywords, and you understand they’re crucial to your blog posts.

And now you’re ready to sit down and start using keywords to your advantage! However, you have probably come to a pretty good question at this point: Should you pick a keyword before or after writing content?

This is something that we get asked by clients from time to time. So our founders, Amanda and Erik, have some responses and advice in the video below. And also be sure to check out Hit Subscribe’s Youtube channel where we tackle all kinds of blog-related topics. 

Let’s Get Down to Business

Unlike the great dilemma “what comes first. The chicken or the egg?”, keywords and blog posts don’t work like that. So to put it briefly, the keyword always comes first.

We also covered the ins and outs of why a keyword should always come first in another one of our posts, Picking a Keyword After Writing Your Post: Will It Work? (Spoiler: it will not).

But let’s get into the weeds a little here and reiterate why keywords come first. And also why maybe that isn’t the name of the game for you and what you want your blog or website to be.

Why You Should Pick the Keyword First

When you think about what readers are doing, and what searchers are doingthey’re asking a question. If they type “best fitness tracker” into Google, they’re actually saying, “what is the best fitness tracker?” Or “what are some fitness trackers that I could compare?” They’re always asking questions.

And so when you do keyword research, and when you plan content based on what people are searching for on Google, what you’re really doing is you’re figuring out what questions people are asking.

So a good search engine strategy is this: figure out what people would be interested in your product and then figure out what questions those people are asking. And then you start answering those questions. Well done SEO is legitimately about helping people.

The trouble with trying to retrofit your post for a question is that you created it because it’s what you want to say to the world, and that’s likely not content anyone’s asking questions about. You won’t get the overlap between searchable questions and content you wrote without having written it with a searchable question in mind.

Are There Exceptions to the Rule?

Really, the only exception is if you’re not writing posts for search engine attention at all. If you’re writing a hobby blog or even a blog for your organization, and your goal isn’t to bring in traffic through search engines, then you can write about whatever you want. 

The fact that it’s not optimized for a keyword doesn’t mean that it isn’t good content. It doesn’t mean that you won’t get readers. It just means that you’re not going to get readers of your blog from search engines, and will have to find another way to get readers to your content.

People approach search engines in specific ways. They’re generally looking to gather information or solve a problem, or something along those lines. So your content has to help them do that. If your content isn’t helping them do that, then it’s just not going to rank.

Now It’s Time to Pick the Keyword First…But How?

Alright, now it’s time to get to work and pick a keyword. You know that you want to write posts for the purpose of search engines, and you want those posts to rank for the keywords you choose.

But maybe now you’re going to the drawing board and thinking, “all of the keywords must be taken!” This is true. If you’re writing to answers a searcher’s question they’re typing into Google, there’s almost nothing you’ll ever write that people haven’t written about before.

But worry not! You’re not trying to answer a question that’s never been asked before; you’re just trying to answer someone’s question in a better way than others may have answered it before.