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Targeting Secondary Keywords on Your Blog

Jamsi has published a worthwhile post over at workboxers on how he used the Overture tool to find a keyword that was less searched for but also less competitive to target his blog on. He explains it a lot better than I do:

‘I noticed that the keyword “Funny vids” (which I had used) was very popular, however I entered the keyword “funnyvids” and saw that it was being searched for A LOT LESS than “Funny vids” BUT still enough traffic to pursue.

I decided to start easy and aim for a top 3 spot using the keyword “Funnyvids” .. and it worked. On the 3 major search engines (Google, Yahoo and MSN) I achieved a rank in the top 3. My website statistics quadripled and whilst nothing to rave about, I was relatively pleased. 90% of my traffic was now coming from search engines. (1.2% from the US Military. Should I be worried?!?)’

Take home point - sometimes it’s better to target keywords on your blog that are not the most popular ones. The problem with popular keywords is that everyone is targeting them – pick a less searched for term and you might just find yourself on a winner.

This is a great strategy – the only thing I would add is that once you’ve established yourself highly with a less popular keyword and have built up traffic, inbound links etc – at that point you might find yourself able to switch your keyword focus slightly to the more popular keyword. This is not something you’d probably do very quickly – but in time you can build upon the success of the lesser searched for keyword with the real deal.

So in Jamsi’s example – in another year when he’s got a lot of loyal readers and SE profile – it might be worth switching back to ‘Funny vids’ as the main keyword being targeted on the site.

This is the experience that I had with my Digital Camera Review Blog. When I first started out I concentrated on a variety of less popular terms because the term ‘Digital Camera’ was just too hard. In more recent times I’ve begun to target the Digital Camera word more than previously with some success. These days I regularly find myself in the top 10 on Google for the term – something I’d never have been able to do in the early days.

Of course I’ve been at it for over 2 years now – it’s not a short term strategy.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. James says:

    Cheers for the mention Darren. I have actually tried switching over to the higher competitive keyword but within a day my site dropped of google for the old keyword and the new one !! So I quickly switched back to “funnyvids” and my site popped back on google again. *Phew*

  2. Marc says:

    Great stuff james, I know you have been working hard on your SEO with this site and it looks like its starting to pay off!

    Congrats

  3. EngLee says:

    I would say it’s probably for short term. Some are trying on misspelled words as well. :)

  4. ChrisH says:

    I actually had some hits on my site because I’d misspelled “ipod nano” as “ipod nanno” in an article when it was released. I know I coulda/shoulda left it, but being pedantic, I couldn’t.

    When you talk “keywords” I assume you mean key words that you use in article to draw google hits because i thought Google didn’t rate the traditional meta keywords highly. Is this correct?

    thanks

  5. R. Sosa says:

    Mispellings don’t appear on the Overture tool, however, I had a page that had the title for a very popular keyword mispelled by accident. When I looked at my logs, it was one of the most popular ways my website was being found.

    Anyone know of a keyword traffic estimator that gives mispelling data?

  6. Secondary keywords are an important tool in my marketing arsenal. In fact i biult a very successful hotel booking site based on dodgy spelling.

    Yes indeed, traffic was not earthshattering, but the net result was i still geeting MORE traffic by being higher up on the less searched for term than I could hope to get by trying for the most common terms.

  7. J Wynia says:

    ChrisH: While the “meta” keywords aren’t really counted for much by Google, they DO treat the presence of the search term in other places with a lot of respect. If you put your chosen keywords in those places, Google will put a lot of credence in it.

    The easy place to start is with your posting titles. If you put your keywords in your titles and then configure your blogging template to put your title as the permalink (puts the keywords in the URL), as the page title and the title itself on the page inside H1 tags, you’ll be amazed how quickly Google puts stock into those words.

    A couple of weeks ago, I made an offhand fanboy posting about the movie Serenity and where you could buy “serenity merchandise”. Those 2 words were in my title. Within 2 days, my site was the number 1 entry in Google for “serenity merchandise”. I wasn’t even targetting the keyword, but Google clearly favored my entry over some other pretty authoratative sites, including the official site, the official fanclub, the forums that have been running for a couple of years now, etc.

    Also, while Google doesn’t necessarily do much with the keywords portion of the meta tags, they DO use the description meta tag as the source for the little summary that’s shown on the search results. I discovered that recently myself when I noticed that all of my results in Google had the same summary: the one in my description tag in my template.

    I’ve since swapped out the static description for one that is driven by the article excerpt instead.

  8. When you are talking about the popularity of keywords using Overture what sort of numbers are we talking about for less popular keywords? 1,000 searches for a keyword as apposed to 100,000 being the most popular? 500 as apposed to 100,000? I’m new to this blogging thing and I’m just curious what sort of range we are looking at for “less” popular keywords.

  9. ChrisH says:

    J Wynia: Thanks for some great advice. Have just tried coding that up on my site that relies more on search engine hits (www.goplayav.com) which is a Word Press site but the_excerpt() tag only works in The Loop. Anyone know how to get the excerpt into the meta description in Word Press?

    Also, you should write that up as a post on your site – I know I’d post an article linking to it on my blogging blog (i.e. the one linked in my name).

  10. pfadvice says:

    It makes a lot of sense. Just like with selling it’s not always the most profitable to go after the thing that everyone else is selling, but find your little niche market. Key word niches could pay off handsomely if you take the time to exploit them.

  11. John says:
  12. ChrisH says:

    Thanks heaps John, works a charm.

    I’ve doctored it a little, including an else clause to show a default description, and also “php” on the opening of the php statements – don’t know if that’s necessary but that’s the convention i use.

  13. ChrisH says:

    BTW My blog, http://www.qwertyrash.com has a keyword checker in it’s right column if anyone’s looking for one. It’s provided by Digital Point Solutions and gives results for Overture and Wordtracker.

  14. J Wynia says:

    I’m actually using a plugin to do it* and making that plugin part of my “stock” WordPress load for my sites. I’ve got a customized build of WordPress with a bunch of themes that have my ads in them, all of my plugins in place, my own database loader that sets up the settings, etc. When I create a new blog or need to update them overall, the stock load gets uploaded to each site and it’s up to date.
    *http://guff.szub.net/head-meta-description/

    I may do an article on WordPress setup for “power blogging” some time soon.

  15. Paul says:

    Great article and site, Jamsi.

    I am extremely new to all of this, but relating to your choice of “off prime” keywords, here’s how I think on secondary or “less than hot” keywords – here is how I define “niche.”

    I do a google search for a keyword, then do a wordtracker or similar search for that keyword. I then divide: google pages returned/wordtracker results of searches for that keyword, to come up with a ratio. I’ll then do the same thing for another keyword. In your instance, from latest google, “funnyvids” returned a ratio of .8275:1 and “funny vids” had a ratio of roughly 100:1. In other words, “funnyvids” had less than 1 site on the web for every search of that item, while funny vids had more than 100 sites for every search. An easy choice – funny vids.

    This may be old news to everyone else, but as I have all of about 7 weeks experience in webmastering, it was a good discovery for me.

    Nice site again, Jamsi. Thanks and good luck.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Jamsi on Workboxers: SEO by using less searched keywords who had enough traffic; using Overture keyword tool. [via Problogger] // Used for showing and hiding user information in the comment form function ShowUtils() { document.getElementById(“authorinfo”).style.display = “”; document.getElementById(“showinfo”).style.display = “none”; document.getElementById(“hideinfo”).style.display = “”; } function HideUtils() { document.getElementById(“authorinfo”).style.display = “none”; document.getElementById(“showinfo”).style.display = “”; document.getElementById(“hideinfo”).style.display = “none”; } [...]

  2. [...] In this post’s comment thread there is a mention of adding post excerpts to the description meta tag in a post’s header, as it is used by Google as the description for your page if present. Unfortunately the WordPress the_excerpt tag only works within the display loop, and so a bit of hackery is required to get it to display in a page’s header (but only a tiny little bit). [...]

  3. [...] I was going through my “commented” list early this morning. I noticed that there had been some questions asked about a comment of mine over at ProBlogger on Darren’s posting about secondary keywords and Google. They included a suggestion that I write up a bit more. So, below is the initial comment I posted. It’s in response to another comment asking about “keywords” and whether, since the meta keywords long ago were polluted out of usefulness, they matter. – While the “meta” keywords aren’t really counted for much by Google, they DO treat the presence of the search term in other places with a lot of respect. If you put your chosen keywords in those places, Google will put a lot of credence in it. [...]

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