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This post is long overdue!
Several weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of teaching content marketing in the college Communication or Business writing class today. I followed up with a post about Search Engine Optimization and an activity for introducing students to the importance of keyword research using Google Trends. I promised a follow up brief activity with Google Keywords Adwords Tool. Then the end of the semester and life ganged up on me! I realized I needed a full post just to talk about Keyword Competition, using my own website title as an example.
Back to the Writing Across Platforms (syllabus) classroom activity I promised!
After teaching Google Trends and doing the activity, I plan to teach Keyword Competition and give my students a brief activity to get them practicing keyword competition research for their writing.
This activity is completed in small chunks across 3 class periods but could easily be done in 2 days! (if you’re really efficient: maybe 1!)
Day 1: Assign Homework (3-4 minutes to explain)
- On the day I first introduce SEO, I assign students to bring to the next class: Brainstorm a list of 5-7 keywords (terms they think people might use when searching for this topic). The topic is: soup.
Day 2: Set Up: (10 minutes)
Note: I have also explained on this day what Keyword competition is (for a primer, see my activity on Google Trends and the below slides).
- I first have students go to the Google Adwords Keywords Tool and we walk through an example on cars (we used cars in talking about Google Trends, so there is consistency).
- I have students search for “fuel efficiency” and “car safety.” And then have them look at alternative keyword options, competition for each term, and search volume. We discuss.
- Then I have students take out the 5-7 soup keyword terms I assigned the class before. We write some on the board so students can see the variation of ideas related to soup. This gives students a chance to see how others may search for soup, particularly in ways they didn’t think about.
Day 2: In Class Activity (~20 minutes):
I then present an in-class exercise. Here are the instructions:
- You are going to write a post for your cooking blog.
- When searching for keywords, think about things that would make for a good blog post subject.
- Work with a Partner:
- Go to Google AdWords (google: “google adwords keyword tool”) Select “Exact Match” (on left)
- Search: soup
- See what terms people search for a lot by looking at the column labeled “Local Monthly Searches.”
- Identify and WRITE DOWN 5 terms related to soup with medium to low competition, and high search volume.
- You’ll need these terms for next class.
- After students spend 10 minutes or so researching with a partner on an in-class computer, I ask the class “based on your research, what would make for a good blog post subject about soup?” We discuss differences and similarities between what they initially thought up and what their research showed them.
- I then tell them to bring today’s keyword back next class.
Day 3: Writing Keyword Research Headlines (Lecture: 30 minutes; Activity: 15 minutes, + class discussion).
On day 3, I teach the importance of writing headlines for online articles. I teach headlines first because they are relatively less complicated than thinking about placing keywords or using keyword research to write the article itself. The headline is but a handful of characters! But it encapsulates the blog topic and some say it is the most important part of your article. Headlines itself could be (and may become some day) another blog post! But here’s some great info on headlines:
Why headlines are so important
9 Proven Headline Formulas that Sell Like Crazy
To see the lecture on headlines, see the slides below.
- After, I have students take out their 5 soup keywords that they discovered through research the class before.
- I give them 10 minutes to write 5 headlines.
- Each headline must use a different headline formula of those we discussed.
- Under each headline they are to list: the keyword(s) used, name of formula.
- Headlines must be less than 60 characters.
- Pair and Share: Students exchange their headlines with a partner. The partner evaluates the headlines against what we’ve discussed over the past several classes. Partners then exchange notes and discuss.
- To wrap up, we discuss as a class and address any questions / concerns students may have.
And that’s that! I’m excited to see how it goes this fall! Thanks for your patience on this. I hope you are having a great summer! If you enjoy this blog post, please subscribe and share! Please post any comments below!
Related lecture slides are below!
Day 1: The Set Up: What’s SEO and Keyword Research?
Day 2: Google Trends and Keyword Competition
Day 3: Headlines
photo CC Team Traveller