Hi everybody! Gary has invited me to guest post here about a nifty method I have discovered recently on how to improve the search engine rankings of your online ramblings and creative writings.
In case you are only writing for the love of the art, and are not interested in getting more eyeballs for your content, you might want to switch over now to one of Gary’s blog posts that would be more relevant to you, like his article about organizing and writing a novel in the way that works best for you.
If you are curious to know more about me before reading this article, scroll down to the bottom and read my short “Author’s Bio” there. When you’re ready to take a look at this method of getting more visitors to your online content, just grab your beverage of choice and tag along with this. I know it will be beneficial to you and your online writing success 😉
What Are Keywords?
Simply speaking, they are the words that people type into search engines. So, for example, if you are doing a search on finding the best collection of quotations on the phrase “When Life gives you Lemons,” chances are that you will end up on my HubPage about it. This is because my HubPage ranks fairly high in the search engines for this keyword and its relatives. (Editor’s Note: For those of you unfamiliar with HubPages, I am planning a future article all about that site and how you can use it as an online writer.)
Now, it is not difficult to do this, you just have to choose keywords and topics that nobody writes about, provide good content about those topics and keywords, and build a few back links and you’ll be there in no time. Only one drawback, you might discover that — nobody searches for the kind of things you write about.
So, in case you actually want to get some readers, other than your wife and your cat, to your blog or other articles you have published, you need to do a bit of research first. That doesn’t mean you should change your style of writing or write about something you are not even remotely interested in. It just means that you should bear in mind which things people do search for on the Internet.
But this guest post is not so much about keyword research before you start to write, it is more about how keyword research can increase the traffic to online information that you have already published and that is ranking some where in the “SERPentines” (Search Engine Result Pages).
To follow along with this method, you will need a blog or website where only your content is published. It does work also with content sites like HubPages and other Web 2.0 properties, but that requires a lot more manual work.
The first thing you need to do, is to put your domain name/web site address into the Google Keyword Research Tool and hit search. Now scroll down until you see ‘Match Types’ in the left sidebar and set this to “Exact” only. Unless you are monetizing your website or blog with AdSense, you are now only interested in the value in the “Global Monthly Searches” column.
Have a look at what numbers you see in the top half or so of the results. This can vary widely, depending on the topic of your site and how much varied content it has. As a rule of thumb, everything over 1,000 is great and everything between 1,000 and 500 searches per month is OK. But if your results are less, just take the top 50 percent and download the keywords for them. If you don’t have Microsoft Excel spreadsheet software, no problem, OpenOffice is an equally great (and free!) program to work with for the following steps.
What you have now downloaded is a list of keywords Google already thinks your site is about. And chances are therefore good that you are already ranking for them somewhere in Google and other, less important search engines. Now you have to clean up your spreadsheet a bit. Or, if you hate spreadsheets with the same passion as I do, just copy the results in a Word document (or the OpenOffice equivalent).
Make a table that shows in one row the keywords you have discovered, in the next row the potential search volume, the next you label “URL” and the last “Competition.” There is software available to speed the following process up considerably. One is the NicheRefinery Tool of The Keyword Academy and the other is called Market Samurai. The later one is a rather advanced tool for doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and keyword research. If you are interested in knowing more about how it works in this particular case, just head over to my original blog post “Ranking Better for Keywords You Are Already Ranking for.” For most people it might just be overkill, but it does have a free trial, then it’s your call as to which way you want to take. Below is a summary of the method to do this without any costs or software.
Here Is How to Get Results Manually:
By now you should have a nice list of keywords, sorted by search volume, either in your spreadsheet or in a table in a Word document. (Refer back to the process discussed above.)
Now you have to go to Google’s Advanced Search. Near the bottom of the page you see a field that says “Search within a site or domain:” and here you put in your domain name. And now the work starts. You will search for the keyword in your list one-by-one. Two important tips:
- Sign out of your Google account and opt-out of its personalized search.
- When it comes to search terms that have more than one keyword, put them into “this exact wording or phrase:”
Now you write down for each keyword which is your top ranking URL for it, and which are the next best ranking 3-5 URLs. Put this information into you spreadsheet or Word table.
If you want to know, additionally, how you rank in Google as a whole, go to Scroogle and select the Scroogle Scraper. Set search results to 100 and search the keywords again. (Use the “edit>find” function in your browser to find your own site more quickly.)
By now you should have a list of keywords that you are already ranking for, their estimated monthly search volume, the URLs on your site that rank highest for it, plus the overall position of them in the “SERPentines.”
The last thing you have to do now is to evaluate your competition. Use Google, with personalized search disabled, together with the Seo for FireFox extension. You want to see how strong the top 10 results in Google are. Granted, Page Rank is far less important nowadays than it used to be, but it is still a pretty good indicator for the strengths of a competing page. Now search the keywords in your list once again and make a note against each how strong the competition for it is on the first page of Google. Lowest competition would mean only PR-0 pages show up and the strongest would be if all results are PR-5 or above.
So, what do you do now with this wealth of information you have gathered? First, go through your now completed list and look at which keywords have the lowest competition and the highest search volume. Identify also the ones that you are ranking for at least in the top 100 in Scroogle. Basically prioritize the task you have now at hand, starting with the most promising candidates first.
How to Improve Even Further Your Blog Posts and Articles That Already Rank.
First have a look at your top ranking post. Can you update it with more relevant information? Can you improve it or tidy it up some how? Can you expand it with either more content or with pictures/videos, etc., that are relevant to it? Can you do anything more to make this really the best thing ever written since the dawn of the Internet about the keyword or topic in question 😉 ?
The next thing is even easier to do. Have a look at your 3-5 other blog posts that also rank for the same keyword, but rank lower. Tidy them up as above and add internal links in each of them to your top ranking post for that keyword. This way you show Google and other search engines that this is really THE article about this specific keyword/topic on your website. You can also write a new blog post that points back to the top ranking one and expands on the topic. This way, like with all internal linking you do, the search engines’ bots are more likely to crawl deeper into your website and to update their index of your older content.
Finally, build external links to both your top ranking article and to the supporting ones. Great places to do this are EzineArticles.com, Infobarrel and HubPages.
Is All This Work Worth It?
It really depends. For one thing, doing this work will show you what Google really thinks about your website. It will give you an idea on how keywords and rankings work with the help of analyzing a specific website — YOURS!
As for improving your rankings, I have done this over the last few weeks and I did really see an improvement in rankings and traffic to the websites in question. If you have a few hours to spare, it is really something you should consider doing.
My pen name nearly everywhere on the internet is “Hospitalera” and my personal blog is therefore, surprise, surprise, http://hospitalera.com. Apart from this, I am a rather private person who doesn’t like to put too much information about herself online. But I can tell you that I have been “living online” since roughly 2005 and that I do some SEO consulting in addition to building web sites and earning money online with those websites.
Oh, yes, more details I can add about me is that I am a married, a “40ish” woman, and I am owned by a cat despite being a dog person 😉