What we saw in the post related to short term keyword optimization was the means of receiving quick and short-lived bursts in traffic. However, for long term sustainable traffic, you need to do a lot more keyword research and optimization.
Long term keyword optimization refers to how you want to optimize your homepage and timeless posts & articles for long term search traffic. In this case you will be targeting keywords that have yielded very good search volume over a period of time and still growing in search popularity. In order to achieve results, you need to take assistance from keyword research tools like WordTracker or the free and handy Google external keyword research tool. However, it is more trial & error way of doing and it requires a lot of recursions to arrive at the desired results.
Keyword Research for your blog homepage
Instead of writing a step by step ‘How-to’ post, I would rather share my experiences in my particular case. To be frank with you I should admit that I am not hugely successful in my attempt but things have slowly but steadily started to work.
Know your keywords: To start with, I used a little free SEO tool called the website grader to understand my keywords, their potential (see the image below) and compare the same with some of the competitors in my niche. I have been writing about blogging tips, SEO and make money online tips on this blog and hence I wanted to target those keywords. In addition, I wanted to target my name(s) as keywords because my first name (Ajith) happens to be a hot keyword thanks to a popular Indian movie actor and my last name (Edassery) is also related to certain business houses in the hotel/resort category)
(Note: Since I posted this article, the tool mentioned above has changed a lot. You may use other free seo analytics tools instead of Website Grader)
However, soon I realized that the keyword competition is so high in my niche that I needed thousands of relevant backlinks and higher page rank to compete with those highly successful blogs out there. This made me to think about secondary keywords (along with one or two high competition keywords). I used the Google external keyword research tool to find some secondary keywords (by choosing synonyms as well) and hence ended up using ajith, blog money, blog tips, edassery etc as my top three or four keywords. The following are the learnings from the exercise mentioned above (and you decide how to go about it for your personal SEO needs).
- There is no point in going after highly competitive keywords such as make money online unless you have money and time to invest in building backlinks related to it
- Always restrict the number of keywords to preferably 5 or 6 to avoid dilution in keyword priorities. I really experimented with this and the impact was visible on SERPs
- Do not trust the Google keyword tool completely, in terms of keyword competition because what they are showing is the advertiser competition for AdWords. Search for yourself and find the actual live competition perhaps via using tools such as Google Monitor and/or actually searching Google for the keywords under study
- Pay attention to the average search volume and last month’s search volume while picking keywords (See the image below)
- Always use your main keyword or two-three main keywords in your page title
- Never use the domain name as your keyword as Google will anyhow list it for you on top of the SERPs
- For long term keywords, you could use Google Insights for search as well, if you provide the time filter as six months or one year
Monitor your keywords: Once you have your homepage keywords with you, they have to be monitored for search positions, overall global traffic and visits to your site (via Google Analytics). Basically, if you have a keyword that places you on top of SERPs but offers no click-throughs, you need to get rid of it.
Once you see some progress with the keywords, you need to build links using the methods mentioned in my last post. I can see quite some progress in my particular case.
Keyword optimizing for your timeless posts
The method involved in the post level SEO is much the same and the steps were mentioned in an earlier post on blog post level quick SEO. However, there will be situations where a short term quick optimization impact is ceased and hence the posts need to be optimized for long term keyword search targeting. This depends purely on the nature of the topic.
Whatever be the case, there are couple of differences between homepage optimization and post/page level optimization. First of all you need to target the ‘long tail’ rather than two or three top keywords when it comes to post level optimization. The ‘Long Tail’ refers to a bunch of search phrases that are secondary in nature, low in competition but are search variations of highly competitive keywords. By targeting the long tail, we are basically diluting the search rankings for highly competent keywords but at the same time making sure of search visits by including a good number of search phrases in your pages (and tapping into the various search possibilities)
The following are the things to remember while optimizing posts and pages for keywords or key phrases.
- Use 10-12 key phrases from the long tail and two or three top category keywords (just to set the context right)
- Use Google Insights and the Google toolbar suggest feature to identify the keyphrases
- Use those keywords that you would naturally search for while optimizing posts
- Use 5-6 or more post tags that are descriptive in nature and that resembles search phrases in order to improve search hits
- Use the Edit-Publish-Ping logic while converting older posts to timeless search targeted posts. Unless you publish and ping, they may not be re-crawled by SEs
What I described here are some of the things that I actually practice while optimizing my posts (not all of them). I know that, I have not listed these tips in a step-by-step manner but I hope that some of you will benefit out of this post. Please let me know your feedback on this post and share any additional keyword research tips in your valuable comments.