One of the first pieces of advice veteran bloggers will relentlessly shove down your throat is:
“Keyword research is REALLY important and you’ll fail without it”.
I’m the type of person who doesn’t like getting told what to do, so I’ve spent the last 9 months trying things out myself to see if that kind of advice is true, or not.
Here’s what I found out during this journey…
Yes, it most definitely IS possible, and it’s really not as terrible of a strategy as people make it seem. The above photo is a screenshot from a free app I was promoting, showing some of my earnings.
I went from being absolutely brand new, knowing absolutely nothing about blogging, to making $400 a day on my blog within 4.5 months. Kind of… (more on that in a bit)
This is with NO backlink outreach, NO “training courses”, AND with me wasting a LOT of time trying out things like drop-shipping and print-on-demand, as well as working on other projects, which ate up a considerable amount of my time.
$400 a day is a LOT more money than the people I was following (who were doing “proper keyword research”) were making from their blogs in this kind of time frame.
BUT, before you get excited and think “OMG I’m going to be rich…”, which is EXACTLY what I thought, you need to remember that I’m a marketer…
The way marketers use information is… misleading in a sense.
Since the whole point of this is to actually teach people, I won’t just hide the relevant data from you and try to sell you some blogging course, which is what most marketers would do in this position.
Instead, let’s look at some pros and cons of not doing keyword research, talk about how to make all this work, and take a look at the benefits of keyword research.
Pros and cons of not doing keyword research
Any strategy you use in life is going to have some strengths and weaknesses.
Blogging is definitely no different, especially when you’re going against the norm and trying something that most people think is a waste of time.
I’ll list the pros and cons, and then elaborate on them a little to give you a better idea of what you’re getting into if you choose to go this route.
More time creating content
This one is just basic math. If you spend time doing keyword research, you aren’t spending that time creating content.
Keyword research takes a ton of time, so by avoiding it you can free up a massive amount of time to do other things, simple as that.
Less boring than doing keyword research
I have ADHD so doing boring activities, like proper keyword research, is torture. I NEED to be actively doing things or I feel like I’m wasting my life.
Sure, some people may find keyword research tolerable, but I do NOT.
Coming up with ideas, researching, and creating content is something I could do all day every day for the rest of my life, so it makes a lot of sense for someone like me to do everything I can to try to avoid keyword research.
Makes your writing feel more natural
We have ALL read those articles where some blogger is just repeating the same thing in different ways in order to rank on Google.
Google may not be smart enough to tell when they’re doing it, but readers are.
When you write without having a keyword that’s set in stone, everything just seems to flow more naturally for me and it makes my writing better.
I’m not the best writer to begin with, and I feel REALLY self-conscious about it when I read back and see myself repeating a bunch of keywords for no reason.
Easy to sell strategies that are different
Every marketer knows that people always want some new kind of “edge” that goes against what everyone else is doing.
While “success leaves clues” is an accurate statement, it’s a lot harder for some random blogger to come in and say “hey everyone, let me teach you how to do keyword research!”
Sorry, but there’s no way in hell I’m going to be able to beat Brian Dean from Backlinko, or some of the other amazing SEO specialists, at teaching people how to do keyword research.
By doing something different, even if it doesn’t work out, it allows you to tap into that market of readers who just don’t want to follow the crowd, which can be a very lucrative approach.
Sure all those pros sound great and all, but it would be a bit disingenuous if I left out the downsides of not doing keyword research.
Ranking individual articles is harder
When you have performed proper keyword research, especially once you’ve been blogging for a while, you can start to tell whether or not you’ll be able to rank an article.
I mean, isn’t that the whole point of spending the time to research keywords in the first place?
I like to think of keyword research like using a sniper rifle. You shoot less times, but they are much more accurate.
NOT doing keyword research is more like using a machine gun with a LOT of recoil. A lot of your shots will miss, but you will hit some, and realistically, it only takes a few bullets to do the job either way.
Can be a waste of money if you're hiring writers
Even using a cheap writing service, like BuySellText, which is what I use to hire freelance writers, having them write articles that aren’t going to rank can get wasteful really fast.
When you do the keyword research ahead of time, your articles will have a higher chance of ranking and you’ll have a higher chance of earning your money back.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever hire writers, but just be mindful of the fact that not every article you buy is going to earn you money back.
Can be very frustrating
Blogging itself, even with proper keyword research and doing everything properly, can be an EXTREMELY frustrating business.
That’s why most people quit to begin with.
Watching article after article fail can take a mental toll on you, and sometimes you won’t get that dopamine fix for a long time if your articles aren’t ranking reliably.
It feels REALLY bad sometimes, and this kind of approach isn’t to be taken lightly if you have issues with accepting failure.
Feels less reliable long-term
As I said at the beginning of this article, I got up to about $400 a day within 4.5 months of blogging, which is pretty insane… in the short-term.
That’s about $12,000 a month on average in pretty much pure profit.
HOWEVER, I’d like to point out some harsh realities about this approach before you get too excited.
In the short-term, you can just spam out articles, because you have much more time to create content, so there’s a solid chance that you’ll hit a big win fairly quickly.
Unfortunately, as my blog has proven, those big wins don’t necessarily stay around forever.
What do I mean by that?
Well, the article that was making me $400 a day only brought in income until I hit a total of about $4,500.
This all happened extremely fast, but that revenue was also GONE extremely fast too.
Now, I get $0 from that article.
Meanwhile, some of the “slower bloggers”, that just kept doing their keyword research, are still reliably adding small amounts of income over time by consistently ranking for semi-valuable keywords.
Honestly, I kind of got screwed a little bit by the company I was promoting, and I have made some other decisions that have led to me struggling a little bit to keep income coming in, so I still feel like it’s perfectly possible to hit a few “home runs” on some articles without doing keyword research.
But, that’s something you have to be ready for as a blogger.
Companies change their affiliate programs and that’s just something you have no control over.
Tips for making your blog work without keyword research
Google Search Console
The most useful tip, in my opinion, is utilizing Google Search Console, or GSC for short.
Some people may claim that this is still “keyword research” in a sense, and I guess they’d be technically correct, but the type of “keyword research” I’ve been referring to is the kind you do BEFORE you write your articles.
The best way to be successful with this strategy is to monitor your GSC, see which keywords are pulling traffic, and then double down on similar content, or even just focus on the content you already have written about those keywords.
I prefer this approach because I LOVE looking at analytics and numbers significantly more than doing conventional keyword research.
I don’t know why, I just do.
Release more articles
One of the main advantages of not doing keyword research, is that you can release more articles, OR at least spend more time improving the quality of your articles.
Either way, if you don’t take advantage of that extra time, you’ll really be hurting because the people doing keyword research ARE going to rank more consistently than you.
Going back to the sniper rifle vs. machine gun analogy, if you’re only going to shoot 1 bullet at a time… it doesn’t make a lot of sense to use a machine gun…
Should you do keyword research?
Honestly, if you can stomach it, I think you SHOULD do at least SOME proper keyword research.
I don’t exactly believe it’s required (I’m not the only one), and I think a lot of people overdo it, but there’s a reason why a lot of people suggest it.
Moving forward, I’ll be doing a bit more keyword research myself, since hiring freelancers to do it can be a pain… It’s far too easy to just copy a list from a SEO tool like SEMRush and pretend that they did all the other parts of the process.
I have written an article about how to get started with affiliate marketing and blogging so check that out if you need help getting your blog started!!
I hope this post helps, thank you for reading!