The popularity of social networks and changes to SEO mean that there are new ways to attract traffic to a website, but getting your keywords right is still a very important part of Internet marketing. As well as helping to attract traffic to your site, selecting the right keywords can ensure you are attracting the right kind of visitors. If you ever find you’re struggling to write a blog post or article, a little bit of smart keyword research can bring a flood of ideas.
Google has made it very easy to carry out keyword research by providing some useful tools. The problem with using the Google Keyword Planner is that everyone else has access to the same information. For example, if I enter the phrase ‘best digital camera’ into the tool it tells me that the most popular related search terms are ‘best digital camera 2014’ and ‘best digital SLR camera.’ Anyone else planning to develop a website in this niche can also see how popular these terms are.
If you’re willing to spend some money there a number of independent keyword research tools available. Some of these have advanced features for finding miss-spelt keywords and seasonal trends. I personally prefer to use more creative ways to find long tail search terms and keywords my competitors may not be aware of.
Long Tail Keywords
If you want to find keywords with less competition it’s generally better to go for long tail keywords. For example, rather than ‘best digital camera’ I might go for ‘best digital camera for landscape photography.’ Yes there will be much fewer searches for the latter term, but there will also be fewer webmaster and Internet marketers targeting the long tail version. You also have the benefit that you can attract more targeted traffic.
One of the things you have to consider when choosing keywords is what do people actually type into a search engine when they are looking for something. What may seem obvious to you isn’t necessarily the search thousands of people actually make every week. Many people type questions into a search bar, and this is where long tail keywords can have an advantage. For example, someone might make the search ‘what’s the best digital camera for holiday pictures.’ The phrase ‘best digital camera’ is contained within this, but the longer keyword phrase can also be matched.
How To Find Ideas On Forums
Before the days of the Internet you had to join a club or meet likeminded people face to face to discuss your interests. Forums are fantastic for connecting with people who share your passions and who are willing to answer questions and share their opinions and expertise. Many forums have thousands of visitors asking and answering questions about a topic.
There are a few clever little tricks I’ve picked up for finding busy forums. An obvious way is to type your keyword and “forums” into Google. It’s also worth using the search terms “boards” and “powered by vbulletin” along with keywords related to your niche. For example, “photography powered by vbulletin” brings up some really interesting results. As well as listing a number of forums about photography in general the search results include one related to underwater photography and another specifically for users of Canon cameras.
The categories listed in a forum are great for finding keywords and ideas for articles. In one of the photography forums I note there are sections on ‘smartphone photography’ and ‘digital image editing’ for example. If you dig deeper into these categories you can find hundreds of topics giving clues to the types of searches people are making every day on Google. Of particular interest I note ‘how to use circular polarizers’ and ‘best photography mobile apps.’ I make a note of these when I’m doing keyword research and will later check what appears when I enter the phrases in Google. This is a great way of finding some real gems. You can quickly get an idea of the level of competition and decide if you’ve found some keywords worth targeting. The threads on the forum can also give you answers to questions and the outline of content for an article or blog post.
Other Great Keyword Sources
Expanding on the idea of people interacting and asking questions online, there are several other great sources I’ve found for spotting keywords. Sites like eHow, Yahoo Answers and Answers.com can give you great ideas if you spend a little time reading hot topics related to your niche. I found a popular discussion about the megapixel size of digital cameras for producing posters the other day, and this gave me several long tail keywords where competition is very low. As an experiment I ran related searches through the Google Keyword Tool and very few appeared, proving the value of this technique.
Another great way to find keyword and article ideas is to look in magazines and newspapers. There are magazines about thousands of hobbies and interests, and a quick flick through one should give you plenty of inspiration. Many magazines have a section where readers can write in and ask questions, and these are a great source of ideas for common problems related to a subject.
Most niches have a seasonal element, and this can be useful for generating keyword ideas. For example, if you have a website related to food and cooking there are topics related to Thanksgiving, Christmas and other times of the year we enjoy special meals. ‘How to cook a turkey,’ ‘vegetarian Thanksgiving meal ideas’ and ‘turkey leftover meal ideas’ could be great long tail keywords for attracting traffic.
Using Analytics To Find Keywords
One of the best ways to find keywords to target is to look at how you are currently attracting traffic. Using Google Analytics often throws up some surprises. One of my photography websites attracts hundreds of visitors each month from the keyword phrase ‘best Nikon zoom lens under $500.’ Once I spotted this I created a series of articles and social media posts using the phrase and have been able to double my traffic.