I’ve been receiving emails about how to choose the right keywords when performing article marketing. From my experience, keyword selection is more of an art than a science.
It’s easy to say “go perform a keyword search using Google’s famous keyword tool”. But the tool just throws up estimated traffic volume. The reality can be very different from what you see in the keyword research tool. That makes it all the more confusing.
Does it mean the higher the traffic volume, the better the keyword?
Well, not exactly.
If you know something about SEO, you know there is such a thing known as keyword competitiveness. Keyword competitiveness can be determined by making a quick search in Google’s main index. Some Internet marketers go around teaching others that the less search results you see, the less competitive the keyword – which is a good thing if you are trying to target that keyword. But that’s only part of the story.
The other part of the story consists of looking closely at the search results. From the top 10 results, you will be able to tell if you have a good chance of getting your keywords to rank. So how can you tell? You can tell by observing what the top 10 guys are doing. In other words, you are assessing their SEO capabilities.
1) Are the primary keywords in the domain?
2) What are they using for anchor texts?
3) How many backlinks do they have? And where are their links coming from?
4) How are they acquiring their back links?
5) Are they using the keywords in the page titles?
6) Are the URLs search engine friendly?
7) How many related pages do they have within the same domain?
If your competitors are doing all of the above well, you know that you are in for some stiff competition. Obviously, these guys know their SEO stuff pretty well. So if you encounter such a niche, you have to decide whether to go in and fight like a wild cat, or target some other keywords.
As you do your research, you will start to notice that some of the top guys are spending lots of money on links. Do you have similar amount of resources to compete with them? If not, you better get creative.
Let’s take a look at a concrete example – the “make money online” niche.
For this niche, it is notoriously difficult to get relevant keywords to rank. That’s because there are so many money making opportunities on the Internet and many of them overlap!
Just off the top of my head, we have…
1) MLM opportunities.
2) eCommerce – online shopping.
4) Data entry or work at home opps.
6) Affiliate marketing.
7) Traffic brokering.
8) Selling information.
9) Home business opportunities.
So if you are targeting the keywords “make money online”, which are you referring to? Does that mean you can’t target this market?
Well, there is a way to do this, and this method is known as long tail keywords targeting.
Long tail keywords are essentially phrases with 3 to 5 keywords. They are extremely targeted because usually such phrases are very specific.
For example, instead of targeting “Affiliate marketing” (which I think you have little chance of succeeding), you can target long tail keywords like “Clickbank affiliate marketing”, or “how to sell on clickbank”. You get way less traffic for these keywords, but they are very, very targeted. It’s also much easier to convert such traffic.
The same goes for ecommerce websites that are selling physical products. Let’s say you sell furniture on the Internet. Instead of targeting “home furniture”, you can target keywords like “cedar wood furniture”, or “mesh office chairs”.
Be creative when it comes to generating long tail keywords. As long as there is a chance of the visitor being in your target market, you should target those keywords.
To continue from the example above, let’s say you have chosen “mesh office chairs” as your target keywords. Now think a little harder. What does your target market use the chair for? Very likely, they needed some comfortable office chairs for work. And back pains are very common for those who work long hours in the office. A light bulb immediately comes on.
* “ergonomic office chairs”
* “mesh chairs that reduce back pain”
* “ergo office chairs”
* “clinically tested office chairs”
The list goes on…
This approach works extremely well because you face less competition, and you get highly targeted traffic. It’s important to remember that if you don’t rank in the first page of Google, your website or web page doesn’t exist. No traffic means no sales. So if you’re serious about SEO, and you want to make more money with SEO, you MUST rank.
From the article marketing perspective, you are leveraging on other people’s website for search traffic. The only reason you are writing and submitting articles is to drive traffic to your website. So if you choose the wrong keywords, and your articles don’t rank, then you are just getting some link juice. Isn’t it better to get some link juice and some search traffic at the same time?
Also, forget about posting the same content on your own website. If you are writing articles for distribution, use them solely for distribution only. Keep the content on your own site unique. That way you have a good chance of having 2 articles rank in Google instead of just 1. If you post the same content, chances are Google will just choose 1 article to include in the search results. It’s going to be a waste of your time.
How many articles you wish to write and where you wish to publish the articles depend on the model you adopt. Here are some recommended traffic generation models – they ALL WORK, but each has its own pros and cons.
Model 1: Drive traffic purely from other people’s website.
You are focused on driving traffic using article marketing. For this model, it’s important to INCLUDE your primary keywords in the article title. You must try to get as many articles as you can out there to acquire more traffic. Of the three models, this model gives you the quickest results.
Model 2: Drive traffic using articles from your own website.
In this case, you must build internal backlinks. Use your article to link to your internal articles, and remember to use the right anchor texts. DO NOT use the same keywords in the articles you are distributing so that the article directories will not compete with your own articles. This model takes a little longer because you need to build up the authority of your website.
Model 3: Drive traffic using other people’s website and your own website.
This is an interesting model to adopt, and I highly recommend adopting this model. Here is what you do.
Stage 1: Write and submit articles with back links to your own website to build up the authority level of your own site.
Stage 2: After 6 months or so, start posting articles to your own site. Remember, articles MUST be unique. Do not publish the articles that you have submitted to the article directories on your own website. Build back links to your internal pages and create links between your own pages on your website.
The third model is the slowest, since it requires you to write articles for distribution and for your own website. But you have more control over the traffic in the long run since you own the website. Alternatively, you can just focus on Model 1 in the initial stages so that you get traffic quickly, and then publish articles on your website much later.
I hope you have learned a lot about SEO and keyword research from the content I’ve given you above.
Here is a mistake that you would want to avoid.
Big Mistake: Overemphasis on page rank when building links.
It’s a common myth that only websites with high page rank gets all the traffic from Google. That’s not true! I own many mini-websites and most of them have page rank 0 or 1, and I get thousands of unique visitors for my sites.
Here is the big secret: Unique and valuable content gets you traffic (wow, some secret…). If a keyword is under-served, you have a very good chance of ranking well. Yes, even the page rank toolbar shows a big fat zero. So there you have it – page rank doesn’t equal traffic.
The reason why I’ve brought this up is because I keep receiving emails saying that the blogs in my Blog Posting Service network has got Page Rank zero, and that they can get much better deals from other networks with more blogs that come with higher page rank.
Obviously, they have somehow missed the value of our blog networks, and I hope to set the record straight.
Client: Why are most of the blogs page rank zero?
We use our article submission service to promote these blogs on a regular basis. If the articles acquire page rank, and the page rank passed on to our blogs, that’s fine. But we are not too concerned here. What’s important here is that we adhere to good SEO practices and so far, that has worked pretty well. The links from the blog posts are showing up in our webmaster account. This is a clear indication that the blogs are in good standing from Google’s perspective. I welcome you to post a blog entry and see for yourself.
The best part is, our websites have gotten better rankings in Google. The results were captured in an SEO case study that was published on one of our blogs.
Client: Why are there only 10 blogs in each network? Other networks offer hundreds of blogs.
First of all, other networks offer hundreds of blogs because all those blogs are general blogs. They may not be relevant to the website you are trying to promote. Your articles may be next to many irrelevant articles in those blogs. By offering less blogs, we are in a better position to promote the blogs and your articles will appear next to highly relevant articles. Even the primary domain names are relevant to your market. Sometimes, less is more.
Here is how you can get the most out of our blog posting service.
1) Adopt any one of the traffic generation models above.
2) Write and post unique articles in our blog networks. Don’t post these articles anywhere else.
3) Embed up to 2 links in each article.
4) After 2 weeks, check to see if the links show up in your Google Webmaster account.
If you are doing everything right, you will be enjoying higher rankings and getting more traffic in no time.
Happy SEO-ing! – Not sure if there is such a word. Just felt right 🙂