We all blog about different things. Technical instructions. Writing tips. How-to tutorials. The one thing every blogger has in common, though, is that they want readers for their content. As they say, the more the merrier!
But it’s not always easy to get readers.
In my online class, Introduction to Internet Writing Markets, we talk in detail about readers on the Web, also called traffic. Web readers, or surfers, are traffic much the same way as cars and trucks, or traffic, that use a specific road. So, we can define traffic as the measurement of all of a website’s visitors.
Traffic comes to your blog in different ways. Direct traffic is all of those readers who have already discovered your website, so they type your URL into their browser’s address line or click on your blog link in their browser’s list of favorites.
Some people come to your blog through referrals from other sites or links posted on other people’s webpages. You probably have a blogroll yourself, where you post the links to some of your favorite sites. Or maybe you do guest blog appearances on blogs related to yours in exchange for a resource box with backlinks to your blog.
You might even advertise your site’s URL to get readers!
However, most bloggers hope that they’ll get a lot of traffic from search engines. Search engine traffic comes as a result of having your blog’s link appear high in a search engine’s list when a surfer enters a search query for the keywords on your site pages.
You may already be familiar with search engine optimization, or SEO techniques, that help your blog get good search engine rankings. Today I’m going to tell you about a free and easy SEO technique that’s often overlooked–targeting your keywords with Google’s Keyword Tool. [Note that Google's Keyword tool was replaced with a Keyword Planner tool in 2014, which requires that you join AdWords to use.]
What exactly is keyword targeting? For most bloggers, it’s just a matter of finding out what keywords have the highest traffic and writing content using them. Content farms, however, have been doing a form of this for years by deliberately searching out and developing content around the most-searched keywords. Recently, though, they had a head-on collision with search engines, like Google, that are trying to improve the quality of Web content.
The good thing is that bloggers can use the keyword tool and still write the same high quality content they’ve always created.
Targeting keywords doesn’t have to be about identifying high traffic words and phrases and tossing off some short, quick blog posts on them. Rather, targeting keywords can help you carefully analyze your posts to ensure that you’re reaching the readers looking for your content.
For example, suppose you and your significant other have a monthly “date” for dinner in a nice restaurant, and you’d like to share your experience with your blog’s readers. You’ve written the article including the standard related keywords: restaurant, restaurant review, fine dining, and food stop.
You know that your post’s title is important in SEO, so you want to make sure that you select a title that will not only be relevant, but will also bring you in the most readers.
This is where Google’s keyword tool comes in.
First, generate a list of title options. Then, access Google’s keyword tool to check out both global and local searches for the keywords you’ve included.
Your results might look like this (stats from June 16/2014):
If you’re targeting the highest traffic keywords, you may want to include just the single word, restaurants, in your title, rather than the phrase restaurant review. There’s a problem, though, because you like to assign titles that can be tweeted without adding any details to make it clear what the article’s about…
The easy way around that is to use the EM dash to separate different parts of your title. For example, you could write: City Guide–Regina, Saskatchewan–Restaurants.
You could use also City Guide as a category or tag to help organize your blog’s content, making it easy for your regular visitors to find previous articles they might want to refer to again.
So, the next time you get a post ready, do some research using the Google Keywords Tool to help ensure you’re reaching the audience looking for your content!