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Darren Chow is a full time writer, web developer, and Internet marketer. He graduated from the National University of Singapore and started dabbling in web design while still studying. Today, he spends his time writing for established websites and promoting websites for clients.
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I ask you this question because having a keyword plan is tantamount to having a traffic plan when it comes to article marketing. The math is simple – the more keywords you rank for, the more traffic you will receive.

Many article marketers make the mistake of coming up with list that is made up of just random keywords. They have no idea what the traffic volume is, and they don’t know if those keywords will convert into sales. This approach will only work if you have a really HUGE list of keywords. When the numbers are in your favor, SOME keywords will eventually rank well and your efforts will pay off.

But this is hardly the approach that professional article marketers have taken. You see, when you adopt a random-keyword approach, you risk having the majority of your keywords being wasted. In other words, most keywords will either not rank well or they do not convert well. In this case, much of your time and effort would have gone down the drain. So what would a better approach look like?

1) Focus on your primary keywords first. – I’m assuming here that you are already familiar with SEO. Once you pick the right primary keywords, do EVERYTHING you can to rank for those keywords. Your primary keywords should always come first. A good set of primary keywords would be a phrase containing three to four words with manageable competition in the search engines.

Notice that I didn’t say minimal competition. Today, in most profitable markets, you will see considerable competition in the search engines. Over time, more and more niches will be uncovered and the search indexes will be filled up with more and more websites and web pages. So I think it’s about time to stop mining for keywords with minimal competition and really sit down and think how you are going to compete in the long term. If you have picked a niche that you know you are going to be in for the long term, you are more likely to stick with your SEO efforts and make doubly sure that you rank well for your primary terms. I’ll give you more SEO tips on how to keep your rankings at the top near the end of this post (see Google Panda Update below).

2) Take the time to understand the concerns of your buyers. – This is very important, so take the time to let the message really sink in. It can mean the difference between success and failure. What does this has to do with keyword research?


Most people like to use keyword tools to generate huge lists of keywords. Again, this should not be a random effort. It should be based on the assumption that you already know what your customers want. If you know what your buyers want, then you know what they are likely to search for. Coming up with the right keywords becomes a walk in the park.

All you have to do now is to think about the products that you want to sell, then do a quick reverse-engineer and think about the problems that your customers are looking to solve. This should give you your first handful of keywords.

3) Expand on your keyword list gradually. – This is a step that most people ignore. They target the primary keywords, and then stop there. There is A LOT of targeted traffic that you can send to your website just by expanding on your keyword list.

Go to your web stats and take a look at the keywords that you are currently ranking for. Then note down their search positions. I can guarantee you, there will be keywords that you know you can improve on their rankings. These are keywords that rank on the first page of Google but they are on position 5, 6, 7, etc. By pushing them right to the top 3 spots, you can easily double or even triple your existing traffic. This is a very powerful method, especially when you ALREADY KNOW that these keywords are converting well for you. So all you have to do is to post more content relevant to those keywords on your site and then create internal links between these pages.

When you have at least 20 pages of unique content on your site, there WILL be keywords for you to work on. Improve the rankings of existing keywords first before searching for new keywords to target.

4) Searching for new keywords to target. This is the hard part, so pay attention. Earlier, I mentioned that you should take the time to understand the concerns of your buyers. This is to help you make smarter and more accurate guesses when choosing keywords to target. But they are, nevertheless, still “guesses”. Without hard data, there is always the risk that a keyword phrase may turn out to be non-performing.

But when starting out, you have no hard data to depend on. And you have to start from somewhere. So making smart and calculated guesses can greatly reduce the chances of identifying non-performing keywords. Once you have some hard data to depend on, it’s a lot easier. You just have to follow the data and dig out more relevant keywords. For example, if you see that “SEO software coupon” converts well for you, then you can try targeting similar keywords such as “SEO software discount”, “SEO software savings”, “SEO software cheap” etc.

This is the hard part because searching for the right keyword is like finding a needle in the haystack (if you don’t know where to look). So to make the job easier, you have to set some parameters. This will narrow down the scope and you will become a lot more efficient and effective at keyword research.

* What keywords are your customers likely to use when searching for the products you are selling?

* Are the keywords that I have chosen related to the products that I’m selling?

* Am I using words like “discount”, “savings”, “buy now”? These are commonly known as buyer keywords.

* Avoid targeting keywords that are too “informational” or “general” in nature.

* The best keywords are usually between three to five words.

* The best keywords should be targeted and have decent search volume. If search volume is lacking, then a keyword phrase must at least be highly targeted. These keywords lead to the occasional sale but when you add them up, the revenues can be substantial.

Google Panda Update

In April 2011, everyone was talking about the Google Panda Update (and how it affects them). I was rather quiet the entire time because this is something that does not appear new to me.

If you have read my previous posts, you would know that I’m a strong advocate of creating sites with unique and useful content. In other words, my advice to all my readers is to setup sites that the intention that they become authority sites in the near future.

Google Panda Update is about the user-experience. It is an update of the search algorithm to filter out poor quality sites that web visitors DO NOT want to visit. The quality guidelines given by Google are pretty much the same.

* Fast loading site.

* Easy to navigate.

* Content is original, useful and highly relevant.

* Content is not just aggregated.

* Observe proper webmaster guidelines (no participating in link farms, etc, etc)…too long to list here.

So if you have been observing these guidelines, then you have nothing to worry about and Google Panda has nothing to do with you.

Grow your web businesses with a solid keyword (traffic) plan. Hopefully, you find the information on this post useful.

As usual, if you have questions or anything to add, simply send me an email.

See you around!

Darren Chow