Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Choose Keywords for Your Articles

So you've started a blog or a niche website and you'd like to start writing content but you don't know where to begin? The thing is that, even though you'd like to think that you could start anywhere, it just isn't true. You can't publish posts that will not bring traffic to your site... unless you want to write and keep those articles just to yourself, but then what would be the point? You need to make sure that the keywords you will target have enough people searching for them on a daily basis. That will mean that those keywords are viable. But that's not all...
How to Choose the Perfect Keywords?
As I said, the keywords you go after should be words or sentences that people will be typing in Google, Yahoo or Bing, and the more people per day, the better for you. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as I make it sound. Why? Because if it was, we would all be targeting keywords such as "payday loans", "make money online" and "buy Viagra"... then rank for them and rake in the big money! You also have to check out the competition for those keywords, so you can see if it will be easy for you to earn a spot in the top 3 or just near impossible.
Yes, the perfect keywords are those that show the perfect balance between high searches and low competition. Your job now will be to find them.
Finding Your Keywords
Finding your keywords is a two-step program that starts with you sorting out between the potential winners. The way to do that is to open Google Keyword Tool (you'll need to register to be able to use it well) and type in the topic, the general subject of your blog (i.e. make money, writing, dog grooming, and so on). Before you press enter, you want to make sure that in the match types option you've selected [Exact] as you only want Google to give you the number of people looking for those exact terms and nothing else.
OK, so now you have your list that should be around 800 results long (that's the maximum number Google will return). Click on the Global Monthly Searches element in the menu to sort the keywords by their volume of searches. Don't even look at those results that bring in hundreds of thousands of searches; it would cost you too much time and money to rank for those... and I can't even guarantee that you could as those keywords are generally already taken by old authority sites with high PR and A LOT of backlinks. What you should pay attention to are long tail keywords from 1,000 to 10,000 exact searches per month. Don't go lower than one thousand as, even if you placed 1st for those keywords, the resulting traffic would not justify all your efforts. Now, copy and paste those results in Word and go to the second step.
Determine the Competition for your Keywords
Now that you have your list of keywords, you need to check whether you have a standing chance to rank for them or not. There are 2 ways to go about it, the fast and the not so fast. If you want the process to be automated, you can get your hands on a piece of software like Market Samurai or Traffic Travis... There are Free Trial versions for the both of them so you can test for yourself if you like them or not (personally, I have a preference for MS as its SEO competition tool tells you exactly what you need to know in a clear and concise manner).
If you prefer to do the checking manually, here's how to go about it:
  • Install SEO Quake: first of all, install SEO Quake plugin in your web browser.

  • Check the PR: type in your keyword in Google and, with the help of SEO Quake, check the PR of the 10 first sites. Are they all high PR? Do you see any PR0-3? The less sites with a high PR, the better.

  • Check the Backlinks: once again, for the first 10 results, you want to see how many backlinks they have and how strong those are. Why only the first 10? Because it doesn't matter whether you have 1,000,000 competitors for that keyword or just 10,000, as the money is on the first page of Google, you're only interested in the strength of those as they're the ones you're trying to beat. Now, the easiest way to check the backlinks of your competitors is to make a search on websites such as BackLinkWatch. You put the URL in and they'll tell you exactly how many links this site has.

  • Check the Age: the older the sites, the worst news it is for you. Websites that have been around for a while will be harder to beat as they've proven their worth through the years.

  • Any .edu or .gov?: if the sites on the first page are educational or government, it's going to be that much harder to outrank them. Google and the other search engines give them more weight than regular com/net/org. So that's another thing to watch out for when you choose keywords for your site.
You see, deciding which keywords to use and which to avoid is not an art, it's a science. It means that there are certain rules to follow and that, if you do, you can rest assured that your website will rank for them and bring traffic back. So put these tips into practice and watch your website rise to the top!

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