SEO – Link Building Series: Keyword Optimization for Long Term benefits

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.

keyword optimizationLong 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)

website grader keyword report

(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

Google keyword tool

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.

Happy SEO!

Part IX: Arrest Page Rank leak and Optimize your WordPress blog >>


  1. tAALz :

    I want you to write an article on how to improve the google page rank.

    tAALz’s last blog post… Portable Electric Cooking Pad

  2. Leo Dimilo :

    Good post on long term SEO. I just wrote a fairly long article on my findings in the discrepancies regarding keyword research tools like wordtracker and google adwords.

    Personally, I have always done top down SEO as far as keywords and themes for site development go (competitive primary keyword…followed by long tails) and if I am building a static site, I almost always silo it down for a stronger emphasis on each silo’s theme.

  3. Sweet article; I normally just write and dont worry about keywords and the such, but now I will try and target some decent ones.

  4. I tried the short terms ones previously and it work wonders. Yesterday itself it was a wonder with the “most pierced female” searched 😛

    For long term ones… Nice tips. I will try to implement some concerning the topics I talk about. Great article as usual Ajith. Keep it up. :-)

    Kurt Avish’s last blog post… A Student Lost Her Leg Due To A Private Bus In Mauritius! Where’s the NTA?!

  5. Nice post ajith…This definitely works. There are so many keywords which are untapped and getting good search volume. So we have to research and target it’s last blog post… Posting after long time.

  6. “Never use the domain name as your keyword as Google will anyhow list it for you on top of the SERPs” – I can not agree with this, if your domain includes a very competitive keyword, it is still hard to get higher ranks for that keyword even you have it on the domain name, it might be easier than other keywords but still needs optimization and promotion .

    Chinese Girl’s last blog post… Jiuzhaigou Pictures

  7. @tAALs, I had written several posts related to the page rank topic in the past. Building good backlinks is the way and then you should protect your PR by not involving in bad activities.

    @Leo, there are definitely discrepancies in these keyword research tools. That’s why I emphasized here that one shouldn’t blindly go by the tool’s prediction on competition as it’s talking about the paid competition :) I will check out your post.

    As for your strategy on primary keywords + long tail, that’s exactly what I would use for the posts. For the homepage, I would pick four or five strong keywords that I am ‘capable’ of ranking high.

    @Donace, I don’t worry about keywords for each and every post of mine. However, if have written an extremely good, unique post then I would spend an extra 20 minutes or so to optimize that post a bit

    @Kurt, I am glad that the ‘hot trends’ like ‘pierced woman’ worked for you… LITERALLY… 😀 I saw that you stuffed a lot of related search words as well, perhaps using ‘suggest’. Why not try to convert one of those trend posts into a timeless post? That will be a great exercise.

    @2ask, Yep…sometimes untapped group of search words can substitute the same search volume brought in by a highly competitive top keyword.

    @Chinese Girl, On second thoughts I get what you are saying! You are absolutely right about keywords within the domain name :)

    Thanks everybody for your comments!

  8. Hi Ajith – I really like the way you used a personal example to explain the best way to select keywords. I’ve been looking at this recently with my elephant site. I’ve found that elephant is too generic but that a lot of people are looking for baby elephant. I’ve been playing with that phrase to see how it works out for me.

  9. Yea good idea Ajith. I will try that now. By the way there is something I dont understand..when you say RE publish the post.

    Is when i modify and click UPDATE is nt the same? Please can you clarify on this. Or must I unpublished it then edit then republish?

    Kurt Avish’s last blog post… Election Partielle No 8 Voting Day Latest Details

  10. @Kim, thanks… You must have noticed however that I am changing the keyword strategy for the next three to four weeks especially keeping some of the immediate link building needs in mind. A Google PR update in the next three-four weeks seem imminent and that’s why the experiments. I will settle with a strateg this month.

    @Kurt, The recrawing will depend on how your sitemap’s timestamp changes and its frequency as well. Regardless of that a save as unpublished followed by a ‘Publish’ will make sure that the SEs are informed of the changes. Simple save may not do this.

  11. Thanks for the clarification Ajith. I’ll have to rework on my old posts of last year now :-)

    Kurt Avish’s last blog post… KCA Kids Choice Award Voting Is Open

  12. George :

    I tried website grader and lifted my score from 62 to 67 by doing some troubleshooting in site.Yet another master piece from Ajit.

  13. venkat :

    I don’t have that knowldge on SEO ,but these tips does help to get more traffic to my blog.

    venkat’s last blog post… Gmail goes Down Again

  14. Good points on the keyword targetting, it is very competitive now and common keywords will cost you a great deal of time and possibly money to get anyhwere near top 5 page results.

    Use LTaS Long Tail research and optimize these terms, they still generate good traffic and will convert considerably higher.


  1. […] you do some amount of longterm keyword optimization while publishing your posts, you have a very good chance of keeping them ‘technically’ […]

  2. […] often, and can often translate to the point at which the searcher is in their buying process. A longer term keyword may signal they are ready to purchase, depending on what industry you are […]

  3. […] think need more attention. Also, you can improve the on-page SEO aspects of such target pages using keyword optimization and backlink building […]

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