The reality is that the Internet is overloaded with content, and it takes time, effort and skill to become more visible in Google when people search on relevant topics – and the best way to make that happen is through the appropriate use of search engine optimization (SEO). If this concept is new to you, then here are two blog posts that can get you started:Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner. You’ll need to set up a free Google account before doing your research; here are instructions on how to use this tool.
Now, here is a four-way test to ensure that you pick the right keywords for your blog or site.
Test 1: Relevancy
Make sure that the keywords are relevant to your site. This may seem obvious, but some people have found keywords that have large amounts of traffic and added those terms to their content, even though it has nothing at all to do with the site’s overall theme.
For example, let’s say you have a car repair website, but you see that the term “soup” has 49,500 searches every month in Google (that’s more than half a million searches every single year!). You might be tempted to write silly content such as “10 Soup Recipes for People Who Repair Cars” in hopes of attracting more traffic. The flaw in this system: even if these people DO visit your site, it’s extremely unlikely that they’ll be interested in anything else that you have to say. And, they might not even like your traffic-bait article about soup.
Test 2: Traffic
Also ensure that the terms you choose to attract traffic actually HAVE traffic. It’s not uncommon to panic because a competitor is ranking #1 for a term, and then focus significant amounts of effort on bumping that competitor down to #2 – only to find out that nobody searches on or cares about that term, anyhow.
To carry our initial example out further, let’s say that your competitor ranks #1 for “soup recipes favored by car repair people” and you’re outraged! Why don’t YOU rank first for that term? Before you go all out to rectify that, though, check the amount of traffic on that term in Google AdWords – and you’ll find out that it’s zero. Now, a caveat: Google AdWords is not bulletproof. It is possible that somebody, somewhere is typing in that phrase as we speak, but common sense says that it still isn’t a fruitful avenue to pursue.
Test 3: Targeted
Make sure that the keywords you choose are targeted to your niche. For example, it could be tempting to go all out to rank for a broad term such as “expert.” Two flaws in this system: one, a quick check in Google will show that nearly 21 million web pages currently rank for that word, making it virtually impossible to ever have a worthwhile ranking. Two, even if you miraculously could rank visibly for it, people might be looking for experts in making pizza, writing music – even changing kitty litter, for all we know. So, this traffic, even if you could get it, wouldn’t be a targeted demographic and those site visitors won’t stick around.
Test 4: Competitiveness
The fourth test is related to the third – and that’s to go after terms that aren’t crazy competitive. This usually means that you should target longtail keywords that are three to five words in length to find success. If you have a blog intended to help freelance writers, a longtail keyword that shows up in Google AdWords is “how to be a freelance writer” with 590 monthly searches in Google. Good potential!
Not every longtail term has that much traffic, though. If you’re a car repair expert, a longtail keyword could be “car repair how to.” That shows up in Google AdWords, but with only 10 searches per month. If that’s the focus of your blog, though, these ten monthly searches are likely to be from people who would truly be interested in what you have to say – and, ten monthly searches totals 120 annual searches. And, if each of those people told just two of their car repair buddies about your amazing site, that keyword truly has gained traction.