Enjoy this powerful series by Guest Blogger Ron Whitaker
OK, folks, history lesson time!
Back in the 1800s American humorist Josh Billings made the following famous quote (actually, a little rhyme!): “I hate to be a kicker, I always long for peace, but the wheel that does the squeaking is the one that gets the grease.“
Just FYI, in the 1800s, the word “kicker” meant someone who was a constant complainer.
Now, I’m not saying that all of you are complainers, but if you’re a blogger who is frustrated with a lack of traffic to your blog, you just might be a kicker! (Wow! That was so Jeff Foxworthy!)
OK, so let’s learn how to be the squeaky wheel when it comes to our blogs and getting better traffic.
In this blog post, I’m going to show you the basics of how to improve your ability to get found in the search engines using keywords and phrases.
In Part 2, we’ll discuss “where” to include those keywords.
Then in Part 3 we’ll learn some strategies [guest posting, guest commenting, link building] to get your blog in front of larger audiences.
How I Learned About All This Blogging Stuff
Back in early 2009, when I was a caregiver for my mother, I decided that at some point I wanted to start and run my own website. Now, I had a lot of web design experience, having been a web designer since 1996.
I didn’t know what type of website I was going to launch, or what my service or product would be, but I knew I wanted to start my own website at some point down the road.
Fortunately, I had a good friend, Darrell, who had a lot of experience starting and running websites.
One day, as I was speaking to him about my desire to start my own website, he told me that I would need to do SEO.
What’s SEO, I asked?
Searching Engine Optimization.
He explained that it included certain steps you take so that when someone was searching for a particular keyword or keyphrase, your website would rank highly in search engines, such as Google.
I suddenly realized that I had a lot of studying and learning to do before I even thought of moving forward with my venture!
So, I began studying.
…my brains out!
As I began studying the topic of SEO, I learned that you need to do something called “keyword research” and then implement those keywords into your content.
That’s the start of how to get traffic to your blog!
But there’s more!
What are keywords and how do I implement them in my blog posts?
If you and I were having a conversation, and I was telling you about my trip to Flagstaff (Arizona), I would mention things like Flagstaff, Arizona, Northern Arizona, Northern Arizona University, the Arboretum at Flagstaff, the Museum of Northern Arizona, etc.
You wouldn’t hear me mention terms like Paris, Eiffel Tower, Wall of Berlin, Germany or the Louvre.
Those terms simply have nothing to do with Flagstaff!
So it is with our blog posts.
We need to focus on one (maybe two) ideas in each post.
And those ideas are communicated through words.
And we focus those ideas through what are known as keywords.
That way readers, as well as search engines like Google, know what the blog post’s focus is.
Starting a keyword research campaign
So, how do you get started?
Well, before writing a blog post, or even before launching your website, determine what the focus of the website or blog post will be.
Think about what words or phrases someone would use in a search engine that would lead someone to your site or blog post.
For example, when I started my website, a venue for baby boomers to list and sell “stuff” as they downsize, I considered words and phrases that people would enter into a search engine.
Phrases like “baby boomers,” “buy and sell,” and “selling stuff” came to mind.
Just as a tip, come up with longer worded phrases, as opposed to single word keywords.
As another example, if I have a website that sells t-shirts, trying to get the search engines to rank highly for the word “t-shirt” is going to be difficult.
First, it’s too broad of a term.
Second, it’ll be way too competitive.
Instead, consider a phrase like “red polo t-shirts.”
It’ll be less competitive and probably will be easier to rank in the search engines.
How do I know if anyone’s even searching on that phrase?
That’s where some online tools come in handy.
Once you’ve made a list of all the keyword phrases you can think of, take them to an online keyword research tool.
Keyword research tools show you how many people are searching for that word or phrase in search engines, as well as how competitive that keyword is. By competitive, I mean how many other websites are already using and ranking for that particular keyword.
Google offers a great keyword research tool. And best of all, it’s free!
You can find the Google keyword research tool by clicking this link.
Once you arrive at the keyword research tool page, simply enter your keyword into the “Word or phrase” box.
After you click the Search button, a list appears below, showing keyphrases based on your “seed” keyword.
The Competition column shows how competitive that keyword will be to rank for.
The Global Monthly Searches column shows the amount of searches performed worldwide on that keyword or keyphrase.
The Local Monthly Searches column shows the amount of searches performed locally on that keyword or keyphrase. Locally is based on the country you chose in the Advanced Options and Filters section above. The default is United States.
Google’s keyword research tool is a great free tool. There are also keyword research tools that come with a fee.
One of the best ones out there, and the one I use, is called Market Samurai. It’s an excellent tool, relatively inexpensive, that will definitely help you get laser focused with your keyword research.
The owners of Market Samurai also provide excellent training videos as well to help you get started with using their product.
If you’ve ever wondered how to get traffic to your blog, the foundation lies in the keywords you use.
In this post we learned that keywords are essential to showing viewers the focus of our websites and blog posts.
We learned that to focus a blog post on a particular topic, we need to discover which keywords will be the best, yet not too competitive, to include in a post.
We also learned that there are some excellent tools out there, such as Google’s Keyword Research tool, and Market Samurai, that can make the process of discovering quality keywords easier.
So, where do we go once we’ve discovered a keyword or phrase that we want to use in a blog post?
That’s next week’s topic.