Using Keywords to Kill Crickets; Help the Right People Find Your Blog–A Lot More People

January 7, 2015
 / 13 comments

Using keywords

You want readers. Desperately.

So you start out emailing your friends and sharing your blog posts on social media… Mom, uncle Bob, and your BFF subscribe and leave a “great job” comment.

Then you hear crickets.

Now what?

How do you get more readers? Answer: Get real close and personal with something called keywords.

Begin Where Everyone Starts: a Search Engine

When people want to find something about fashion, or travel, or food, whatever the topic, they go to Google or Bing. Next, they start typing words or phrases into the search engine like this… using keywords Or this.. using keywords Or this… using keywords Keywords and key phrases are the words and terms people are using to find specific information. Do you know what keywords your blog needs to help people find you?

Example: How Using Keywords Can Help a Food Blogger

Using the “escargot recipe” photo above to illustrate, one obvious keyword for a Foodie Blogger would be recipes…but that word alone won’t help you get found in a search engine nearly as powerfully as “escargot recipes.” Do you see why? Just think about how many web pages and blogs are using “recipe” as a keyword…billions, right? So when you expand that keyword to a short key phrase like “escargot recipes”, getting more specific helps narrow down the amount of competition that will show up in search results. Thus, helping people find YOUR escargot recipe. Think about the person you are trying to help find your blog…someone who WANTS to find your escargot recipe is going to get 251,000 results if they type the singular “escargot recipe” into Google, and they will get 222,000 search results if they type the plural “escargot recipes”. Yikes. Granted, a couple hundred thousand is better than the 484,000 results you get when only “recipes” is searched in Google. (363,000 when you take off the “s” and search “recipe”.) Yet, your escargot recipe page is still going to be hard to find. You see, most people never even click on the 2nd search results page when they’re looking for something. This is why you want to get even more specific with your keywords by adding more to them, which turns them into long tail key phrases. Take another look at the “escargot recipes” photo above…do you see how it drops down from “escargot recipes” and shows you “escargot recipes with cheese“, “escargot recipes without shell” and “escargot recipes puff pastry“… Google is letting you know that these key phrases are the most searched phrases next to “escargot recipes.” So, to continue the example, if you post an escargot recipe without the shells, to help your post get found, you might want to use a long tail keyword phrase, perhaps one like this: “quick and dirty escargot recipe without shell using south American snails”, the result would look like this: using keywords As you can see, when you search for this more specifically, not only did the page count get drastically reduced, you can also see by the first page of the search results that there really isn’t anyone else who has posted this specific recipe using a similar long tail key phrase. So if this really is a specific recipe people are interested in (I’m not a French cuisine expert so I’m not sure, I just made up the part about south American snails for the sake of example), your blog could be ranked on page one of Google. Wouldn’t that be sweet? This is why its important to have at least a rudimentary understanding of keywords. These keywords, when used effectively, will help people out there in cyberspace find YOUR blog before they find someone else’s blog. Keywords help your ranking in search engines because they give out signals that your site is credible, reliable, and worthwhile.

But Matt, I’m still not sure what a keyword is?

In a nutshell, keywords, or key phrases, are terms that help a search engine identify your web page or blog post. Without keywords or key phrases, your article might as well be tied to an anvil and thrown into the sea because nobody is going to find it. This all works on basic common sense connecting of topics and terms. To drive this home, here’s another example: you would expect a book about lawn care to contain the word “grass” a whole lot, correct? The same applies online. Since you’re not selling an actual book made out of trees, and instead are wanting your blog to be read, you must use keywords to help people find your “book” (blog.) A blog devoted to lawn care is going to have the word “grass” on it many times. This one word alone helps search engines categorize and identify the site, but that one word alone isn’t enough to bring in the RIGHT people to the blog. For example, someone doing a search on “grass” might not give a flip about lawn care at all….they might be looking for information about cannabis or studying electronics (specifically the small variations in amplitude of an oscilloscope display caused by electrical noise.) So, you’ll need more keywords than just “grass.” See how this works? A lawn care blog or any blog is going to need a large batch of key words and key phrases to help form the metadata needed for the search engines like Google to label and categorize the blog, which of course, helps people find what the blog offers. Another way to see this–your keywords are working to help you convince the search engines that your blog is credible, valuable, and deserving attention. For example, someone with a Foodie Blog is going to want their website to be categorized as such, so doing this beginner’s exercise below will be beneficial.

First Keyword Exercise: Create a List of Keywords and Key Phrases for YOUR Blog

Now comes the fun part, where you get to roll up your sleeves and do some work. Yep. Becoming an All-World Blogger takes some effort. Is this really work? If you’re excited about your blog niche, you’re going to enjoy building your keyword list. Basically, you’re going to take your laptop to a coffee shop or your tablet to the beach and do some fun brainstorming. What you want to do is make a list of topics that you would want to talk about on your blog because other people are going to be searching for this information. You want to come up with at least 5 to 15 topics or categories. For example, if you are starting a travel blog, you would come up with some topics like Continents, Airlines, Hotels, Beaches, Jungles, Saving Money on Vacation Tips Next, start jotting down keywords and long tail key phrases for each category. For instance, a travel blogger might come up with these keywords/phrases for the Saving Money on Vacation Tips: Saving Money at Disneyworld, Tips on Finding the Cheapest Hotels in Europe, and How to Eat on a Budget in Germany.

Fun Brainstorming Activities that Help You Find Keywords

A) Use your marketing personas – Have you created your own marketing personas yet? I can help you do this here and this exercise here will help you come up with keywords using your personas. B) Visit Forums related to your niche – By reading what others are talking about in your niche, you can glean a lot of keywords doing this. Naturally, you can use Google to locate these forums by typing in “your niche” + “forum.” Example: “Foodie Blogger” + “forum”. Or you can use this specialized search engine for forums called Board Reader dot com. using keywords     You will then see a list of forums that provide you with a bunch of niche markets… using keywords Then dig deeper by checking some of the threads on each forum.  I clicked on the sgforums dot com (the second one above) and found some keyword phrases… using keywords I now have keyword phrases Foodie Lunch pics, Foodie Singapore and Foodie marriages C) Use Wikipedia Search – many use this site for research, but overlook its ability to provide some great keywords. You can use it like this: Wikipedia 2015-01-06 17-05-10 Next, you can check out the links under Contents on the Foodie page… using keywords   You can also dive into the References section to find more great keywords… using keywords

The Goal of Lesson 1

The Point of this first exercise on Keyword Research is for you to collect as many keywords as you can, without over-thinking things. This is all about finding phrases that you think potential blog readers will be typing into a search engine to find what you have on your blog. One of the parts to the next lesson is going to be showing you how you can then cut down your list so that its more focused, potent and easy-to-use. I’m intentionally taking you through this process step-by-step, so as not to overwhelm you. I suggest you not read Lesson 2 until you have finished this lesson first. (At the moment, Step 2 isn’t up yet, so you can’t anyway. 🙂 What you want to end up with is a good mix of both short tail and long tail key words. Usually the short tail phrases are much more competitive, like the examples above demonstrated. yet a short phrase of two to three words can provide short-term success, so don’t rule them out.

Using Keywords Wrap Up

If you put some time and effort into this first exercise, you can avoid the sound of crickets over this next year. Spending time wrapping your mind around keywords will pay off for you if you ACT on this free teaching. At a minimum, you should spend at least 3 to 4 days on brainstorming your keywords. Don’t feel bad if you end up spending a week or more on this. One week is nothing when you’re prepared to run a marathon with your website. Blog success is a long game. Getting into a routine of keyword research will contribute to your future blog success years from now. Please do yourself a favor and DO Lesson 1 here. Blowing this off only hurts yourself. If this post has you motivated, excited and ready to kick tail, be sure to share this post with your friends. I would greatly appreciate it. And tell me about how you’re going to conquer new blogging mountains in the comments. If something is not clear to you, I want to hear from you! Don’t be shy! Leave a comment below! Oh, if you want to make sure you don’t miss Lesson 2 on keyword research (coming soon), subscribe to my email newsletter in the sidebar or footer. Now go kill some crickets.

Author Bio:

Matthew Kaboomis Loomis is the owner of Build Your Own Blog. Connect with him on Google+ and Twitter

Photo: Cricket by Ryan Hodnett

13 comments

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  1. Paul Maxx says:    •   5 years

    Hi Matthew–
    Great stuff again. I knew what a keyword was, but never sure how to research and come up with the right ones for my blog.
    One question however. Are these keywords to be used in a squeeze page, or do search engines pick up on these words or phrases in ones pages, posts, free reports, and whatever goes up on your website?
    Thanks
    Paul

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   5 years Author

      Hey Paul, good to hear from ya.
      Good question here…the search engines pick up keywords on all your web pages, posts, etc. As for a free report that’s a PDF, no, the bots don’t pick up your words if they are not in HTML. They cannot read it. Just like audio and video. This is why folks provide transcripts of podcasts and even video. Also, bots cannot read pages behind registration or pay walls.

  2. Dan Hill says:    •   5 years

    OK, great minds think alike. On your last blog I asked about long-tail keywords and voila, here you go blogging about them! Paul had a good question about use so let me ask a follow up question: when using a long-tail keyword on the blog or web page, is it necessary for the string of words to be all together? For example, the long-tail keyword you used above regarding escargot recipe without shell, etc….does that entire phrase need to appear in the blog or page text? The results of that long-tail keyword search don’t seem to include that particular phrase.

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   5 years Author

      Hi Dan,
      I need to clarify in the next lesson that its best to use three or four word key phrases, and when you stick to that length, you can still use it in your headline so that it naturally flows when people read it. Good observation on the results…that key phrase was actually a little too unique. You want phrases people are looking for, but not looking too much, meaning tons of competition.
      Stay with my series on this. We’ll get the answers together. 🙂

    2. Amy Stevens says:    •   3 years

      I was wondering the same thing – thanks for posting this query!

  3. Rebecca says:    •   5 years

    Hi Matt,

    Just wanted to post a quick comment to say thanks so much for writing this post, it is SO useful especially for a total SEO noob like me! I’m currently learning about keywords, google adwords and meta blog stuff for my copywriting website and my personal blog, all things I’d never thought about until now. Thanks to this post, I feel like i’m finally starting to get it!

    Great stuff as always!

    Best,

    Rebecca

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   5 years Author

      Good for you, Rebecca….when I started blogging for my copywriting websigte like you (two and a half years ago), I didn’t do this. Would have helped a lot. Glad you’re following this series. More soon!

  4. Hugo says:    •   5 years

    Sorry but I still don’t understand where to put those keywords. 🙁

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   5 years Author

      Hey Hugo,

      Stay with me! That’s coming soon. 🙂

  5. Carol says:    •   3 years

    Hi, Matt, thanks so much for the lesson on keywords – helps a lot. Under your heading: “Fun Brainstorming that Help You Find Keywords” there are 2 links entitled “here,” but when I click on them it says Oops, page you were looking for not found. Can you update, or did I miss something? Thanks again, Carol

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   3 years Author

      Hi Carol,

      The links are working on my end. I’m sorry that you didn’t get to see the additional info. To help you or anyone else with this, here are the full domains to each article:

      http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/125-blog-buyer-personas.html

      http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/925-content-persona.html

      I like your blog, btw. Keep at it.

      Best,

      Matthew

  6. Amy Stevens says:    •   3 years

    This is a great post and made me realise that I should be expanding my keyword selection to include terms with several words, rather than the one or two I have been using thus far.

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   3 years Author

      Hi Amy!

      Yeah, we all use longer phrases when we search, things like “how to unclog a dishwasher” or “what are the healthiest foods to eat”…The longer the phrases the less competition you find in the results (generally)…Google’s keyword planner is a nice free tool that will help you determine what phrases are being searched and how competitive they are.

      I’m happy you found this so helpful. 🙂

      Keep us posted on how things progress.

      Matthew