You learn something new everyday!
Today I was just reading The Zen Of Social Media Marketing by Shama Kabani, and I learned of three new places in which you can search for keywords.
1. Google Instant Suggestions Feature
This is a great place to find more long tail terms for a short tail term you have in mind. Just type the phrase into Google’s search box, and look at the suggestions:
Here I typed SEO for LinkIn, and as suggest I got the following longer tail keywords:
- seo for linked in tips
- seo for linked in profile
2. Google’s Searches Related To Feature
This is another excellent place to find long tail terms, or even new terms altogether. After you do a search for a term, scroll down to the bottom of the SERP and see what other words are suggested:
Here, when I typed in the term SEO for LinkedIn, I received the following suggestions relevant to the page I was creating
- seo for linkedin profile
- linkedin opimisation
- linked in profile optimization
- linedin sep tips
3. Your Competitors Meta Description
I never thought to consider competitors meta descriptions before as a source of potential keywords. Just do a simple search for a possible term, and look at the results that come up:
From looking at the meta descriptions (and titles) of these competitors, I can easily come up with numerous ideas for possible keywords.
So there you have it. Three more ways to find keywords, that I can’t believe I didn’t think of before!
Just a little word of warning: Make sure you check the competition and traffic using Google Adwords Keyword Tool. You don’t want to be using these keywords if they have no traffic at all. That would indeed make this whole blog post a waste of time!
Did you find this post helpful? Then please don’t hesitate to share it on one of the many social media platforms. It would really help my rankings
I will now like to show you how to go through the process of choosing a keyword for your page, by showing you how I chose the main keyword for this article. I will explain how I took into consideration Search Volume and Competition, and User Intent to come up with the term “Choosing Keywords”.
Choosing My Keywords : Search Volume and Competition
I chose my key phrases for this page using the free Google Adwords Keyword Tool. There is also a program called Market Samurai, which costs $149, but gives a more detailed analyses and is necessary if you are more serious about SEO.
When thinking up of a possible keyword, I had two possibilities in mind (in orange):
A: Keyword Choice
Keyword Choice had less than ten global monthly searches (as can be seen in the pic) so this phrase was pretty much useless in bringing in traffic from Google. The traffic was so low that it didn’t even get a ranking for competition.
B: Choosing Keywords
Choosing Keywords did better, with 260 global monthly searches. The phrase also had LOW competition, which means it would be easier to rank for.
Underneath this you can see some of the suggested keywords. For example, the key phrase Find Keywords had a greater number of global monthly searches at 880, but it had higher competition, so it wouldn’t be as good as using the term Choosing Keywords (It also wouldn’t be quite as relevant either).
So, it would seem that “Choosing Keywords” would be the phrase to target.
It would be nice to target and rank for something like “SEO Keywords”, which had 2900 monthly searches (not shown in the pics), but the competition for this is simply too high. Many other phrases have low competition and would probably be easier to rank for, but not enough traffic for it to be worthwhile.
Choosing My Keywords : User Intent
When I was trying to choose a keyword, I came across other possible terms in Google Adwords
In the centre you can see the phrase Good Keywords. This phrase had 880 monthly searches, and Low competition. Originally I thought this would be better than my previous two key phrases, because it had higher traffic and less competition.
However, after considering user intent, I decided to stick with Choosing Keywords, as it is more directly in line with what the user intent would be.
I also came across the term Google Keywords.
Since this term has low competition and 40,500 global monthly searches, this would seem like the ultimate term to target.
However, once again when considering user intent, one discovers that the users searching for this term are simply trying to find the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Almost every single searcher will just click on this tool when it comes up on the results page, and ignore all other results.
After analyzing Competition, Traffic, and User Intent using the Google Adwords Tool, I finally decided that “Choosing Keywords” would be the better choice.
At the beginning of 2011, many internet businesses went down the drain after Googles Panda update. If you want to keep your internet business afloat, it’s a good idea to optimize your site with Panda in mind, so it is less likely to effect you (as will any further future Google update).
It is well known that over time Google has placed increasing emphasis on rewarding high quality sites that provide a good user experience, and Panda is simply an extension of this desire. So logic dictates that the main way to satisfy Googles Panda is to give your users the best experience possible.
How Does Panda determine a good user experience?
Panda has several ways to detect a good user experience, and it is necessary to be keep these in mind during your SEO campaign.
Just remember though, that it all boils down to having a high quality webpage. This is the best way to get Panda to like your page. Anything implemented on your site should act as a compliment to your quality content, not instead of it.
Time Spent On Site
If the visitor spends more time on your site, it shows two things.
- One is that it must be a high quality site, and hence worthy of high rankings. If a large number of people click away from your site after a few seconds, this will now hurt rankings under Panda.
- Two, it shows that your site is relevant for the term that was searched for. The more people who find your page for a particular term and click away straight away, the less relevant Panda will see you site for that particular term, and the less likely you will rank for it. This goes to show the importance of thorough keyword research.
So try to keep users on your site for as long as possible.
Average Page Views
The more pages the visitor views, the better Penguin sees your site. If many of the visitors who go to your site view a large number of pages, than this is determined by Panda as a site that provides a good user experience. If the visitor leaves your site after viewing just one page, then this is determined as a not-so-good user experience.
Average page views can be increased by having a good internal linking structure.
Google is able to track IP’s, and if many of your visitors are returning to your site many times, then it stands to reason that you site is providing them with a good experience.
Social Media Sharing
The importance of social media in determining rankings has been on the increase, and Google’s Penguin is a further increase of this importance. Users will share content that they like. So the more social share/likes your webpage has, the better the possibility of being favored by Panda.
If your page takes half an hour to load, then naturally this will provide for a terrible user experience. So refrain from frustrating your users with a slow loading time, and Panda will favor your webpage
Increasing user experience is the best way to get around Googles Penguin, not finding loopholes in the system. So make make you visitors happy, and keep a smile on that Pandas face!
Just for good measure, here are some more Ways to Increase User Experience and keep users on your site:
21 Ways to Make Your Blog Or Website Sticky
The main purpose of Googles Penguin was to prevent sites from showing up on the SERP that Google perceives as spam. While it did not have as much impact as the loathed Panda update, many sites were still effected. So it is a good idea to cater your SEO strategy for this update.
Simply put, Google has been cracking down on those webpages who spam and try to game the system, and penalizing them heavily. Penguin is simply a further crackdown on these tactics.
How “spammy” Does Google See Your Site?
Logically, the key to optimizing your webpage for Penguin is to make it so that Google doesn’t see your site as spammy. You don’t need to “beat” Penguin, as the title of this post so sensationally states. You need to make your site agreeable with Penguin, so Penguin will LIKE your site…or to rephrase it a way that is probably more accurate – Make your site so that Penguin does NOT HATE your site.
How to get Penguin to “NOT HATE” Your Site?
Increase Your Awareness on unnatural linking patterns
As stated in the SEO Guide, Google wants external links to be built naturally. So for example, if you get 300 links for your site in a single day, this will be seen as suspicious. Google has been cracking down on unnatural link building processes in the past, and Penguin is simply a further crackdown.
Undesirable linking practices are, in fact, the main purpose of Penguin. Many webmasters are now hiring specialists to get them unlinked from undesirable linking sources, because these links are now hurting their rankings.
When buildings links, remember the age old adage that “slow and steady wins the race”, and don’t use such link practices as purchased lnks, link trading, and from blogs set up for the sole purpose of gaining links.
Be Aware of Your Anchor Text
Many sites were also penalized for the way they used anchor text in their link building strategy. Basically they used the same anchor text each time they set up a new link. Google now sees this as spam.
Now you must mix up your anchor text, and make it seem like it is written more naturally.
Don’t force Keyword Into Your Text
Google has cracked down on keyword stuffing in the past, and Penguin is a further crackdown. Any mention of your main keyword should sound natural and not forced into your text. Also use words that sound similar to your main keyword, and integrate it naturally into your text.
Have Original, High Quality Content
There is now more emphasis placed on original, high quality content. There is no more mass submissions of poor quality articles to poor quality directories to attract links. Now it is better to only submit high quality articles to a smaller number of selected directories.
Be aware that Google has increasingly wanted high quality webpages that provide the user with a good experience to rank, not “spammy” sites that game the system. Penguin is an extension of this desire.
It is great for SEO to receive external links, and it is also a good practice to link to other sites and insert internal links in your webpage. But one thing you should consider is the anchor text. This is the text actually used to make the link.
Through time there has been less importance being placed on anchor text. Webpages were once able to rank well by making the anchor text that links to their page exactly the same as the keyword. Many of these sites got hit by the Penguin update.
So make sure that you don’t overdo your anchor text. In most cases it must say ACCURATELY what is on the page being linked too, both for USERS and GOOGLE. But if you do that too much you risk penalization. Don’t make your anchor text the same in every single link. Mix it up a little bit, and in this way you avoid suspicion.
Here are three examples of the anchor text I could use to link to this blog post from another post/page within my site.
This is an example of a phrase that is not relevant to the topic of the page being linked too. This blog post is about “anchor text”, yet the phrase being used to make the link has nothing to do with anchor text.
The phrase “Click here…” tells Google absolutely zilch about the topic of this page. This sort of anchor text was once a very bad SEO practice. But nowadays it is better to have a fair number of your backlinks in this format to avoid your site being seen as suspicious.
This anchor text in this link is an exact match for the keywords of the page being linked too. It was once very helpful in rankings to make every single link so that it had the exact same anchor text like this. But Google is getting smarter.
Exact phrases are now seen as unnatural and spammy, and Google put a stop to them with it’s Penguin update. Many sites were penalised and dropped in rankings.
It is still good to use the same phrase that you are targeting with the page, but use it a little bit more sparingly. Now you need to be a little bit more creative, and mix up your words from time to time.
This is probably the best way to have your anchor text – make it so that the phrase is relevant but natural. But make it so that it still tells Google what is on your page.
To make things simple for yourself, just don’t try to force certain words into your anchor text. Instead use a phrase that fits in best with the natural flow of your writing. Write for the reader, not the search engine, and Google will love you. A phrase exactly the same as the keyword is fine, as long as it flows naturally. Any phrase at all is fine, as long as it is not forced into the text.
There is no better way to rise in the Google rankings that to gain some links from other webpages. This is called external linking.
But not every link is created equal. How much you will rise in the rankings is based on QUALITY and RELEVANCE of the external link. The better the site is that links to you and the more related it is to your subject matter, the more value will be placed on the link.
A single link from a site of high value can be worth a lot more than dozens of links from site that are considered poor quality.
If, for example, SEOMoz linked to my site it would drastically increase my ranking potential. Since Google sees SEOMoz as a large player in SEO, it would also see my site as high quality if it had a link from SEOMoz.
When, on the other hand, I link to SEOMoz it doesn’t mean very much at all, because Google doesn’t see my site as one of the big players in SEO. It still helps of course, but a single link from a small player doesn’t help much (but it helps when they all add up).
A single link from a site of a related topic area holds more weight then a link from a site with a totally unrelated topic area.
A link from an average quality site about SEO would be worth more than a link from an average site about web design. A link from a high quality site about motor cars would probably be worth even less.
The HIGHEST number of QUALITY backlinks wins. Poor quality links from unrelated webpages can actually hurt your rankings.
The best link for my site would be from a high quality site about SEO. The best link for your site is a high quality site on your topic.
Implementing a blog into your site is an effective way to help with Google rankings. Indeed, a blog post is thought to have more weight than a regular page on your website.
A blog allows you to be able to constantly update your site with FRESH CONTENT. Not only does this improve the user experience and keep them coming back to your site, it also helps you to rank and increase your presence on Google.
Google really likes fresh content. Indeed, fresh content can rank higher for a particular keyword than a page that has existed untouched for a while. Continual updates shows that you have an authority site on you topic area.
But here are some other benefits that a blog can have for your SEO campaign:
Rank for various Keywords
A blog increases the number of search terms your site could possibly rank for. The more you post, the more keywords you can rank with, and the more likely you will be found by potential customers. To put it a different way, a blog increases your presence in Google.
Attract External Links
Google places a huge emphasis on external links in determining its rankings, and with regular fresh content, a blog provides many opportunities to attract such links. Attracting external links should be one of the MAIN purposes of your blog (though not the single purpose).
You can also easily provide links to others webpages, which in turn they may one day provide a link back to your page which will help rankings.
Attract Social Media Sharing
A regularly updated blog also increases the potential of social media sharing, and with the increasing importance of this sharing in determining rankings, a blog is a good long term strategy for your webpage.
- Link to your webpage from your blog post, because Google likes internal linking as well (notice the links I have done on this page to other pages in my site?)
- Make your blog about a single topic that you are passionate about…one that you can regularly write posts about without losing interest. This is less likely to turn visitors away. It keeps you focused on your material, so you can rank for keywords within that material.
- Make sure the posts are of high quality. If not, then both Google and your visitors will not like your posting.
A static webpage without a blog gives you far less options in regards to SEO. With a static webpage you can not easily come up with new keywords, make new pages, and rank for these words. With static pages you can not attract links and social media sharing. With a static webpage, your SEO possibilities are vastly reduced.
So, say NO to a static webpage, get creative and implement a blog right now!
I haven’t told you this before, but I have another blog where I share my thoughts about learning and travel. So far I have not done any SEO on this site. It is simply a personal blog which I use as an outlet for what goes on in my mind (hence the name Eagleminded).
So anyway, I was looking at the search statistics through Google Webmaster and was amused to read some of the terms people were using to visit my site:
I most definitely did not actively target such terms as Singapore sex and subliminal sex. I simply made a mention of them in a different context.
This just goes to show the sort of traffic you receive if you don’t make use of thorough keyword analyses. This is not so important for a personal blog like mine. But for a webpage that is to be used as an actual business where sales are made, targeting the correct keywords is one of the most important things you can do in SEO.
It’s also worth noting that for each of these phrases I got less than ten visitors. So not only does my traffic come from low quality visitors who won’t stick around, the traffic is not even large to begin with.
Well I better get going now, so I can start on a massive keyword campaign for my personal blog! Wish me luck!
One year ago SEO was shaken by the Panda update, which can be difficult to understand. Luckily the people at Search Engine Land have an infographic which describes it very well. It sure aided in my understanding!
Search Engine Land has a wide range of infographics which make SEO concepts easy to understand.
In fact, infographics themselves are en effective SEO tactic. People love them! This in turn makes people link to them, which increases rankings.
Black Hat Tactics are methods that attempt to rank high on Google by cheating, instead of ranking naturally like Google wants you too. Here are examples of six such tactics that you should NEVER use on your webpage. Using these techniques will only lead to penalization.
1. Keyword Stuffing
The target keyword of this page is “Black Hat Tactics.” If I wanted to use the keyword stuffing tactic, I would simply write out this phrase thousands of time on this page. Webpages in the past used to obtain high rankings by doing this. Thankfully, Google put a stop to it.
A target keyword should be used no more than 7 times for every 100 words. But as little as 3 times is more than sufficient. Anything over 10x is almost certain to hurt rankings. Go to the Webconfs Keyword Density Checker to check the density on your pages.
The easiest way is to not dwell on keyword density too much. Just remember the main aim of your page, and that is to write for humans.
2. Hidden Text
Highlight the text on the following table:
|This is an example of hidden text|
Notice how the text is the same color as the background? This is hidden text. It’s visible to the search engines, but not to site visitors. This is done to trick Google, so the user ends up being displayed a different page to the term they actually searched for.
Since Google wants users to see the same content that they search for, hidden text will be penalized if found out.
Cloaking is any attempt to make your site so that what visitors see is different to what Google sees. Hidden text mentioned above is one of the many examples of cloaking – Google sees the hidden search term, the user sees something different.
There are too many cloaking methods to explain here. Again the message is simple – to avoid penalties, don’t do it.
4. Doorway Pages
Click on the following link: A quick page about Dogs
Notice how irrelevant it is to what this whole page is about – Increase Your Google Ranking?
If I was to target the keyphrase “quick page about dogs” and rank that first page high on Google, this would be an example of a doorway page. People looking information about “dogs” are instead brought to this site, which is about “Google rankings”.
If searchers are given irrelevant results, this undermines the quality of Googles product, so Google will therefore try to put a stop to it. When someone searches for a webpage about dogs, Google wants them to be brought to a webpage about dogs.
If I did manage to get the above doorway page ranked high for a term to do with “dogs”, I could then make it so that page automatically redirects to my homepage whenever a searcher clicks on it from the SERP.
Again, this gives the searcher an irrelevant result to what they search for, which goes against what Google wants for their users.
6. Fake Linking
When a webpage is linked to a lot, this can help rankings because if a page receives so many links, then it must be a high quality page. But Google prefers the links to be natural.
If I was to create 1000 other webpages, and link to this page from every single one, this would be fake linking. This would give Google a false perception of the popularity and quality of this site, and if found out it would be penalized heavily.
Another tactic that is frowned upon by Google is Buying Links. Again, it is unnatural and may get your site panalized.
There are whole forums dedicated to black hat tactics, and some of them may work quite well if implemented. However, logic dictates that such tactics have a short life.
Google hates these tactics, and therefore constantly tries to find ways to stop them. Any tactic that still works will eventually be found out and stopped, and it can have disastrous consequences for your rankings.
But even if Google itself does not find them out, you can still get reported by one of your competitors. So either way you can’t win.
I strongly recommend against black hat tactics. Instead, I recommend you try to implement White Hat Tactics at all times.