Since a lot of people are enquiring about keyword research and optimization technics, I thought of posting this article ahead of the scheduled posts on backlink building. Also, the SEO Challenge ’09 competition has just got over and a post like this would be a logical conclusion to some of the wonderful discussions that we had during the competition.
What is Keyword Optimization?
We defined the term keyword, in our context, when we talked about the role of keywords in links. Keyword optimization is nothing but the process of enriching your content with relevant carefully picked keywords so as to attract a lot of search traffic to your website or blog. Now let us get into the details of how practical keyword research & optimization can be done (Let me warn you that it is a very long post)
Keyword Optimization goals
According to me there are long term as well as short term search traffic goals that decides how to optimize for keywords. I will be touching upon the short term optimization in this post.
Short term optimization or optimizing keywords for the current trend is done with the intention of attracting instant burst in search traffic and this involves realtime analysis of the search trend. One of the free tools that helps us in doing this short trend research is the Google Trends. Please note that in the case of short term keyword optimizing, the timing is very important and this methodology can work a great deal for blogs that are updated quite frequently (once or more a day) and/o dealing with current affairs as main topics. It can work for other blogs as well if you have the ability to connect your topics with the current hot keywords but the search hits will have high bounce rate.
Before proceeding further, I would request you to read the post on how can you do a quick seo on your blog posts. The method described in that post will be used to for optimization while we use keywords and search words obtained via the keyword research methods described here.
Finding hot search words for instant traffic boost
Step #1: Open Google Trends and click on More Hot Trends
Step #2: Make sure that you are on current date with respect to the hot trends page and click on one of the top four or five searched keywords. You should select one of those keywords that you can actually write about or can easily tie to your post topic.
Step #3: The search word picked should be having a ‘hotness’ of Volcanic or On Fire or Spicy (indicates top searches at that point of time). Also, the word picked should not have peaked not too long ago in terms of traffic. If this is not satisfied, repeat from step #2.
Note: You may not get the perfect search words and keywords on every single day but you can try your luck with lower rated search words as well
Step #4: If you are satisfied with the search word use that as the starting phrase in your title of the post. This should be part of the permalink as well. In addition, add four our five related searches (as suggested by the tool) to your All-in-one-SEO keywords of the post and the post tags. In addition check for related words in the 100 search words of hot trends. Now, make sure that your post body’s first ~150 characters have at least one reference to the selected search word. This is good for better search ranking as it would be taken up by the All-in-one-SEO plugin for the post meta description.
Step #5: Publish the post. You should have your favorite ping services listed in your WordPress settings. For a list of must-have ping services please read my post on Update Services or Ping Services. The listed ping services will make sure that your post is immediately listed in most blog aggregators. It will be a bonus if your post gets social bookmarked which will make the indexing even faster.
Step #6: Go back to Google Trends and click on the search word that you just used. You must be already seeing your blog post indexed in the blogsearch results there in. If you are lucky and did a good job on time, you may be seeing on the first SERP of Google search as well.
That’s super simple isn’t it? Unfortunately, Google Trends is not the right tool for you if you are ready to post something that is not in hot trends. In this case we use yet another free tool called Google Insights for search.
Finding realistic keywords for your posts with Google Insights
Google Insights can provide your rich search information based on geographics, time and category. If you are looking for good quality sustainable traffic for a few days/weeks, you may use this tool instead of Google Trends.
The following would be the steps involved in finding top search words using Google Insights.
Step #1: Select your filters in Google Insights i.e. Geographic, time filter and the category filters (See the picture for an example). You don’t need to select the country if you are not targeting country specific traffic. Add Search terms (e.g. Nokia). Now hit the ‘Search’ button.
Step #2: Among the results shown (Top searches) click on a major category (e.g. Nokia e71) that is related to your post topic.
Step #3: Check if your topic is part of Top searches or Rising searches. If so you got your keywords. You could further drill down from your Top Searches.
Step #4: If you are not satisfied with the top searches, start all over with different search terms or combinations.
You can use the obtained set of relevant search words to SEO Optimize your posts as in the example with Google Trends. Google Insights and Trends can be used to dig out inspirational hot topics to write about as well.
Other tips for short and mid-term keyword optimization
- Use your Google toolbar’s suggest feature to find more related search terms
- If you want to optimize for keywords related to Google product’s competitors, (e.g. Bidvertiser) you may not find much information in Google Trends, Suggest or Insights. In that case you should go by instinct or purchase a paid keyword research service/tool
- Certain ping services are slow to react (e.g. MyBlogLog, BlogCatalog etc). In this case logging on (just one visit) to those respective accounts will result in faster indexing and hence additional traffic potential
- Make it a habit to go through Google Insights for search words before publishing any of your blog posts
- When you do research with Google Insights, you need to worry about keyword competition as well if duration (time filter) is very long
If you want to convert short-term optimized posts for long term usage (timeless posts) or you prefer only long term sustainable traffic you need to do a bit more clean up work and/or better keyword research. We will talk about that part in another post.