Thursday, June 17, 2010

Keyword research tools and variables to consider for beginner bloggers

It is a problem I deal with every single day when working on my blogs. And that is keywords and keyword research. And although I have quite a bit of knowledge on the subject and I understand the principals behind it, even for me, I find it to be a struggle when deciding on keywords. Today, at blogging for beginners I would like to spend some more time on the subject. I know I have talked about it a few times, and I will continue to talk about it, until I feel I have completely exhausted the issue.

And for someone like me, someone who can ramble on and on about almost anything that I have a little interest in. This may take a while.

In particular, today I would like to delve a little deeper into good keyword research and some of the tools I implement in building a solid core of keywords to use as my jumping off point for my blogs. And really for any content I may be planning to add to the internet. Because keywords are not just unique to bloggers. They play a role in all forms of internet content. And should be a key factor in deciding on topics that you would like to talk about on the internet.

So, just to refresh everyone. Keywords are the words that search engines use to help classify your content. Keywords are the common words that internet users will type into the search engines in order to find specific information on a certain topic. Some keywords are searched more often than others, some keywords have MUCH more competition than others. And it is all a big balancing act between ad cost and supply and demand. While there is not necessarily a direct correlation between keyword competition and search frequency, there is almost always a direct link between keyword ad cost and competition.

Keywords like loan, and money are high ad dollar keywords, this means that these words are highly competitive and that chances of a blogging beginner cracking into page one on the search engines are really really slim. This leaves us searching for the perfect balance of competition/ad cost/and search frequency.

And one of the primary places I do most of this research is with Google's Adword Keyword tool. With this tool, you can see how many times a specific keyword is searched, along with what google charges for that keyword. For individuals who are trying to make money through advertising, these are important bits of information. Through those to pieces of information you can assume what sort of value that specific keyword will have to you if you advertise on your blog. The Google charge is not a representation of what you will earn per ad click, being a third party advertiser, you only receive a portion of that cost.

Basically, you want keywords with high ad rates, high traffic rates, and low competition. And that is much harder than you may think. Competition is fierce in most instances. Meaning something will have to be sacrificed.

There are options here though. If you would prefer the high traffic count at the cost of ad rates, look for that, if you would prefer low traffic volumes for the home run hits on your ad dollars, then you can go for that. But even at lower traffic volumes, if the keyword has value, you will have competition.

In most instances, for someone who is just starting out with all this. I would recommend you look for keywords that are highly searched but have little keyword value. Because this in turn usually brings less competition.

So, what do you really need to be looking for?

Usually keywords that are worth less than a dollar, and are searched between 500-2000 times per month is a good place to start. But even after you find these keywords, there are more steps to consider when deciding on keywords.

After you have found a keyword, google-it. This is going to give you some insight to your competition. What are we looking for here is, the total results of websites that appear on the page. This will vary greatly, from a few to millions, lower numbers are always good, as long as you followed the first step and found words that are actually searched more than a few hundred times per month.

The next thing you need to look at is the top 5 sites that appear in the results, because these are your primary competition. Can you beat these sites or at least compete with these sites? There are a lot of variables that will help you determine that.

First thing you will want to do is find out what each of the top five's page rank is. Remembering that anything above a 4 is going to be hard for you to compete with. Sites that are highly popular, or sites that have been around for a very long time, or Wiki's will always pose a serious problem when trying to compete for top spots.

After you have these sites page ranking, the next thing you will want to do is visit them. Take a look at the page and try to understand why it ranks so well, look for the keywords withing the content, read the page and just get an understanding of the approach that the page takes to the specific keyword. sometimes you will find that the site doesn't seem to be targeting that specific keyword at all, it just happens to be a very strong site and naturally will rank well for that specific keyword if it is included somewhere within the page.

The last step for right now that I want to talk about it checking the quantity of inbound links that the specific page has. The easiest way I have found to do this is with Yahoo's Site Explorer. With Site Explorer you can copy and paste the URL, and it will count backlinks. Remember, backlinks can be tough to come by, the higher number of backlinks a specific page has, the more backlinks you are going to need in order to be competetive. This number can vary greatly also, from a couple, to tens of thousands. So, be very wary of what you are getting into by choosing a specific keyword.

Another very nice thing that site explorer tells you, is where the links are coming from for the specific page. This gives you the chance to use some of those sites for backlinks yourself. so check them out, look to see if there is an opportunity to comment and add a link.

So, bottom line here is, "keyword research" is critical in the success of your blog. Going after the big dogs right out of the gate is going to lead to failure. No doubt about it. Find words that you feel you can handle and don't be afraid to start small and work up to the bigger words.

A common practice I try to use is, I base my blog's primary keywords around words that are searched more frequently, and from that, I write posts with keywords that are easier to achieve, in the hopes that I will pull readers through the back door of one of my older posts. It is a method I find to work, and one you may find useful also.

Well, that is it for today, I hope you enjoyed this blogging for beginners presentation and I hope to see you back soon!

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