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Most bloggers embark on their blogging career with the intent of making a point or producing great writing or railing against social ills. Their posts may be artfully written and their title may be esoteric or clever, but they are doing themselves a big disservice because no one will ever find their work.
If you are writing for a book or a magazine, everything in the above paragraph is fine, but you're not. You are writing on the web. To be seen, you have to understand how the web works and how people will find you. The secret is understanding keywords.
Keywords quite simply are words that people use when they type in the search engine box to find something on the web. If you make good use of keywords, more and more people will find your post and your hits and readership will increase dramatically. Your goal is to craft posts with the right keywords and keyword setup within the post to get you to appear on page #1 of the major search engines. Being on page #1 can mean thousands and thousands of hits. Being on page #2 can drop your hits to a few hundred. Being on page #50 means you're a needle in a haystack.
Keywords fall into two basic groups: Keywords and Long-tailed keywords.
For an example, let's say your keyword is: shoes
Shoes is a keyword that is very broad and the competition for that keyword will be immense. Millions of posts with the keyword "shoes" in it will appear on a search. To narrow the competition, you might change your keyword to "red shoes". Refining your keywords even more, you may select "red shoes for women" - do you see how you are narrowing your target? You're also reducing your competition and have a better chance of getting found. When you create keyword phrases that include more elements related to the search, you are creating "long-tailed keywords" and increasing your odds of being seen.
A way to check keywords is to use Google's Adwords Keyword Tool.
It's very simple. You sign into Google Adwords. (http://adwords.google.com)
Since you have a Gmail account for this blog, I think you waltz right in. There may be a few setup questions, but there is no charge to use the service.
Once you log in, (and Google just changed their interface today, so you're getting the latest info) look for the tabs across the top of the home page. Select "Reporting and Tools". There should be a drop down menu and you want to click on "Keyword Tool."
What this page allows you to do is to check the frequency of search and the competition for a particular keyword or keyword phrase.
If we check our keyword shoes, here is what you get:
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Shoes gets 45,500,000 searches a month, globally. Local monthly searches are 20,400,000, and the competition looks good. Damn, that's where I want to be... NO... you're fighting way too much competition and you'll find your post way back at the end of the line.
Now let's try our second keyword, "red shoes" and see what we get back:
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Now, we'll try "red shoes for women" and see what the keyword tool produces:
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The keyword phrase "red shoes for women" only gets 5,400 global hits a month and 2,900 hits a month locally. Competition is stronger. This may be too narrow of a focus for your keyword phrase.
When the competition is high on a keyword, that means advertisers are bidding up the price for the keyword and eventually pay more to have that keyword or keyword phrase in their Google Ad. That translates to you making more money when they click on Google Ads on your blog. (Note: there are a few things you need to know before putting ads on your blog. Wait, otherwise, you could suffer some repercussions.)
What the Google Keyword Tool does for you is it gives related search terms and phrases.
Most of the time when I am composing a blog post, I'll start with the Google Keyword Tool and play around with different keywords and keyword phrases related to the topic I have in mind. I may find a better keyword or keyword phrase to use for my post and incorporate them into my text.
A reader brought a good point that I missed in the publishing of this post. How many times should you use your keywords in a post. Part of your mind may say, "I'll use them over and over and over, that should work." Wrong... Google and the other search engines will pick up on that and classify your post as spam. Then you get shoved to the back of the Internet pantry.
The metric for how often you use your keywords in your post is "density". A recommended keyword density would be around 5%, not to exceed 10%. So, if your post has 500 words, 25 or 50 of the words can be your keywords.
Keep in mind that you are writing in English with hopefully grammatically correct sentences. Merely stuffing keywords in paragraphs without any consideration for context will make your piece awkward to read and confusing. If you stay near the 5% density figure, you're probably better off. The next lesson really shows you what is important. So finish this lesson and move on to the next.
Your goal is to be found. Being on page #1 of Google can translate to thousands of hits. But don't forget about the other search engines. Recently, I nailed a couple keyword phrases that were very popular on Yahoo Search and on Bing. A couple times, I wound up on page #1 on both Yahoo and Bing for a few of my posts and the hits to my post soared.
If you are writing about just one subject, you may have a limited group of keywords and keyword phrases that work for you.
I write about a number of different topics, but I have three or four topics with good long-tailed keywords that get the majority of the traffic. I consider them "loss leaders" much like the grocery store does by selling 2 liter bottles of Coke for $1. These special keyword loaded blog posts draw piles of visitors to my blog. Once they are there, they can check out other posts that I've written that might not be search engine optimized (SEO).
If you can keep bringing people to your site, eventually, you will develop followers. I have a tool I use that shows where people come from and I've noticed that there are a couple dozen people that are always showing up - not bad for having just returned to blogging about six weeks ago.
In the old days, I wrote what I wanted, paid no attention to keywords and only shared blog posts on Facebook. A handful of my Facebook friends would look at my posts and that was the extent of my traffic. Since I've raised my consciousness about keywords, search engine traffic is far outpacing my Facebook traffic, so I know I'm on the right track.
In our next lesson on How To Start A Blog, I'll show you more on how to use keywords for Search Engine Optimazation (SEO) and start tapping into the power of Internet search.
To see the other lessons in this series, go to the tab MAKE MONEY or click here.
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