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Since purchasing my new tool – Long Tail Pro – a few weeks ago, and being given the privilege of testing out the beta version of Long Tail Platinum, I can’t stop doing keyword research! It’s like an obsessive addiction and I just can’t get enough. I’m finding myself doing keyword research, just out of curiosity, for other websites that I visit. Most of these sites are blogs, and I just can’t get over how overlooked and under-used this entire concept of keyword research for blogging is. It has become my new obsession to get the word out to the blogging community. My mission is to show bloggers how they could and should be taking advantage of some pretty simple tactics to drive as much search traffic to their sites as possible.
Keyword Research Made Simple
Keyword research the free way (I like to call it the dumb way) isn’t as simple as it seems. Read my post about all the dumb things I did and the mistakes I made when I first started doing keyword research. Thankfully, I finally made the decision to purchase Long Tail Pro during the free beta test period for Long Tail Platinum. One of the features within Long Tail Platinum makes keyword research extremely easy. Now any dummy can effectively find low competition keywords that should be easy to rank for.
The Keyword Competitiveness (KC) feature in Long Tail Platinum is what makes keyword research so easy. In fact, I will admit that I totally sucked at keyword research until I bought this tool. Once I saw for myself how easy it was to analyze keywords simply by looking at the KC score – I was hooked. I explained the entire process in detail in this previous post – with screenshots. I’ll give you the nutshell version here…
It’s pretty simple. Look at the average KC score in Long Tail Platinum for a specific keyword. The lower the number, the easier it will be to rank for in Google. If you find a good keyword with a low enough number, click on it to view the current top 10 Google search results within the Long Tail Platinum software. It spits out a separate KC score for each result. Look for at least one, or preferably a few, of the results to have an extremely low KC score. If they do, you should be able to write a blog post and optimize it for that keyword and have a good chance of getting it to rank on the first page of Google. This is the #1 goal because nearly all search traffic comes from results that are found on the first page.
Long Tail Platinum to Optimize a Post on a Less Established Blog
I sort of picked on some unsuspecting bloggers, without fair warning, in my previous post. To be fair, I should probably use one of my own sites as an example for this one. I started my Pay Off Credit Card niche blog on October 22nd, 2012. I started off using a curated content strategy, and have now morphed that together with this keyword research strategy. My new writing process involves entering in at least one seed keyword into Long Tail Platinum every single time I write a blog post. I then scan the results to find a good keyword to target with each post.
For one of my recent posts, I wanted to produce an article about how credit card companies screw their card holders. I entered the following seed keywords into Long Tail Platinum: screwed by credit card company, credit card abusive practices, screwed by banks, credit card company profit. I then set some filters. 500 for minimum local and global searches and 2,000 maximum for both. (Click on screenshot to right to enlarge) For a start-up site like this, I don’t need to go after keywords (yet) that get many thousands of searches. At the same time, it would be a waste of time and effort to optimize for a keyword that gets only a few searches.
Long Tail Platinum spit out 46 keywords based on my seed keywords and the filters I set. I quickly scan the results to see if any would fit into a title of an article about credit card companies screwing their customers. The keyword being in the title of the article is very important. For the ones that catch my attention, I click on the Calculate button in the KC column. I then scan these results to see which have the lowest KC score. In this case, the keyword major credit card companies had the lowest KC score at 37.
Note: at the time I originally did this research, this data was valid. On the date I am writing THIS post, the Avg KC score for this keyword has gone up to 42.
Next, I click on either the keyword itself or the KC number to get to the Competitor Analysis screen. This screen shows the top ten results in Google and all of their stats. Here, I again scan the KC column to see if any of the results have really low scores. For a small start-up site like mine, with very little authority and low rankings, I am looking for KC scores in the low 20’s or less. I am ecstatic to find 2 within the top 4 results! (Click on screenshot to right to enlarge) With proper SEO and hopefully some natural links (I don’t really do very much manual link-building), I think I could get an article to rank in the top 10 for this keyword.
I wrote the article, Major Credit Card Companies Screwing You?, and posted it on November 27,2012. As of today, December 8, 2012, the article is already ranking #145 in Google! Check out the screenshot below from the Rank Checker – which is a feature available in both Long Tail Pro and Long Tail Platinum.
Long Tail Platinum to Optimize a Post on a Well Established Blog
My next example will highlight a possible keyword that a more established blog, with high authority and high rankings, could go after. Specifically, I am going to look at an example for Financial Samurai. Sam, the owner and writer at financialsamurai.com, has been reading and commenting on my previous posts about keyword research and he literally asked for this. To give you an idea of how authoritative his site is, I punched financial samurai into Long Tail Platinum.
Financial Samurai dominates the top 8 results. I highlighted his stats on the top line just so you can see how high his rankings are. With a KC score of 75, it would be nearly impossible for any other site to take away the #1 spot for the search term, financial samurai.
Without Sam giving me any suggestions, I went ahead and did a little bit of keyword research that I thought could benefit him. I am a regular reader of his blog, so I know that he’s been writing a lot lately about mortgages and it is pretty obvious that he is an affiliate for Quicken Loans. I entered the following keywords into Long Tail Platinum: online mortgage, quicken loans – and set the minimum search volume for local and global to 6,000. In this case, I am (hypothetically) looking to drive much more traffic to a site that already gets a lot of traffic, so I am concentrating on higher search volumes.
Note: I always select Exact for match type. I’m not interested in Broad or Phrase results. I only care about what people are exactly typing into Google for this type of keyword research.
Long Tail Platinum came back with 112 results for those seed keywords and those parameters. I scanned the results and checked the KC scores for some that seemed relevant. I was not surprised to find out that the online mortgage niche is VERY competitive. Most of the keywords that I checked had KC scores in the mid to high 50’s or low 60’s. Even a high ranking site like Financial Samurai might have a hard time getting a single post to rank in the top 10. The screenshot on the right (click to enlarge) shows some of the results that I checked.
I did find one niche within the niche, if you will, that has a little bit lower competition. The keyword amortization chart had an average KC score of 38 when I originally did this research. I checked some related keywords and confirmed that amortization chart had the lowest KC score. It also gets a good amount of searches at 6,600 in the U.S. and 8,100 globally.
Again, this KC score has gone up slightly since I originally did this research. Today, when I click through to the Competitor Analysis screen for amortization chart, I see an average KC of 42. It is still a good keyword that Sam could go after on Financial Samurai. Results 4,5,6,7, and 9 all have KC scores under 40. I’m especially interested in results number 6 and 7. (Click on screenshot to enlarge) They are the lowest ranking sites, but likely made the top ten based on the fact that the exact keyword shows up in both the URL and the title. A high ranking site like Financial Samurai shouldn’t have any trouble at all beating out these sites for this keyword.
I suspect that the reason this particular keyword is less competitive in the mortgage niche is because it isn’t a very exciting topic to write about. Well, I’ve been reading Financial Samurai for a little over a year now, and I am of the opinion that Sam is one person who could write an interesting article on the topic. So that is my challenge to Sam. Write an article that has the keyword amortization chart in all of the suggested places as discussed for best SEO in my previous two posts (URL, Title, H2 Heading, Image ALT tag, WordPress Tag, etc). See if you can get it to rank on the first page of Google within a few weeks.
Say Sam takes up this challenge and gets his post up to number 4. Say he gets only 10% of the monthly clicks for this search term. That would be “only” 810 people per month visiting his site who weren’t visiting it before. That’s 810 new people each month who are going to see his affiliate link for Quicken Loans! I have no idea what his click through rates or conversion rates are for this affiliate. Using a keyword strategy like this may help improve these though. People who are searching for the keyword amortization chart are probably thinking about getting a mortgage or refinancing. By optimizing for a targeted keyword like this, he will likely be drawing in traffic that is more likely to convert.
Readers: Do these examples help you better understand how powerful keyword research for blogging can be if done properly? Do you see how you too can use keyword research to effectively drive more traffic to your blog?
All links and banners within this post that lead to Long Tail Pro or Platinum are affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase through any of these links, I will receive a commission. If you’ve found this post helpful and informative and do decide to buy, I greatly appreciate you doing so through one of my links. Thank You and happy keyword hunting!
Remember, there are several dumb ways to create passive income online, but only one site that is blogging about it! Dumb Passive Income… dot com.
Matthew Allen is a full-time trucker, part-time blogger, and imaginary entrepreneur. He is the only known trucker who is blogging about creating passive income online. He is also the co-founder and co-creator of the most popular WordPress plugin for Amazon affiliates – AmaLinks Pro.