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Wednesday, 23 September 2009

SEO tips: select keywords for your blogs

In my last SEO tips, I have mentioned about the benefit of search traffic over social traffic. Basically, search traffic is more desirable because it (i) is more stable, (ii) increases over time and (iii) requires less efforts to maintain. However, many of you have blogs that are more social than search traffic driven. How do you turn the former into the later? It all starts with keyword research. I am going to talk about how to select good keywords for your blogs and using them to optimise your blogs so that they can benefit from some search traffic.

Before moving on, I want to say that this blog is a living example of how to turn a blog that used to get social traffic into one that has search traffic. Below is the traffic chart for the past 2 weeks.

Notice how with no posting, the traffic doesn't drop to zero? All these traffic came from search engines and in particular from longtail keywords that involves SEO, keyword research, how to index fast etc. All keywords that were missing before I started to SEO this blog. I haven't seen massive traffic because I didn't build any backlinks for these keywords yet. Once I do, the traffic will be much higher and more consistent.

Now, how can your blog benefit from search traffic as well. As I said, it all starts with doing the right keyword research and selecting the right keyword. As an example, I am going to use one of my favourite blogs, unstructured thoughts by Taylor Davidson, to show how this can be done.

Now, Taylor is one of the most gifted bloggers I have seen. He writes beautifully and his articles are full of insights that can really benefit the readers. That is why he has a PageRank 3 blog, backed by 2,ooo backlinks. For those of you unfamilar with SEO, 2000 backlinks is a LOT of linkjuice and his blog should be ranking well for his keywords. Unfortunately that is not so. The reason is because he has not optimised his site for the keywords relevant to this site.

First of all, what should be the keywords Taylor should be using? Based on his homepage, my guess would be the following:

landscape photography
documentary photography
financial modeling
business consulting

If all his 2,000 backlinks contain these words, his site would gain keyword authority and be ranked on page one of Google's results. Unfortunately, Taylor didn't do so. Instead, most of this backlinks either contain his name or the name of his blog or the article titles, of which none are optimised for his keywords. This is because most people don't know how to use the right keywords to link and simply use the author's name, the blog title or the article title. That is why it is important for us to make it easy for them by using our keywords in these areas.

The URL is hard for us to change so I don't recommend changing it. The blog title however can be changed. If you look at my blog title, I have changed it from "Wild Illusions" to "SEO tips for niche blogs". Just by simply doing that, the big G immediately ranks me for the former and start sending me traffic that is relevant for this keyword. I strengthen that by using keywords in all my articles titles. In addition, if anybody is to link me using my blog title or article title, these links will now contain the right keywords and I will be gaining keyword authority.

For Taylor, I can't imagine him changing his blog title but simply modifying the article titles would give him incredible keyword authority. In addition, he can also asked his readers who have linked to him to use the right keywords. Doing both things can immediately send him more search traffic.

How much traffic would that be? I did a simple keyword research and below are the monthly search volume for his keywords:

landscape photography - 27100
documentary photography - 8100
financial modeling - 8100
business consulting - 49500

Add together, there is quite a bit of search traffic there. Not only that, these are targeted traffic so the probability of engaging Taylor to do a bit of work in these areas is much higher than people like me, who reaches his blog through social means.

So, to summarise this post, what you need to do for your blog to tap into search traffic is the following:
- Do some keyword research and figure out the keywords you want to use
- Change your blog title to include your keywords
- Change your article title to include your keywords
- Ask your read to give you the right type of links i.e. those containing your keywords, rather than your name.

That is all the SEO you need.


J Perez said...

Great posts! I just like to know a bit more on keywords and posts,. Do you recoment to build a post for each keyword and do I have to start over the entire blog?

aaronchua said...

It is recommended that you target one keyword for each post. If your site has very little backlinks, it is good to target keywords that are not as competitive.

Once you have decided on the keyword, then you can add related keywords to increase the chances of listing in Google for multiple related keywords.

For example, let's say you target "cellphones for sale" as your post title. You might want to include other related terms in your post such as "motorola cellphones for sale", "samsuny cellphones for sale", "where to find cellphones for sale" etc.