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Choosing the Perfect Keyword

You have something you want to say online. Maybe it’s a message you want to get out to the world. Maybe it’s a product you want to promote. Either way, you want people to see it, hear it, and act on it. But first, they have to find it.

You are going to help them find it by choosing the perfect keywords. The right keywords are those words that people interested in what you have to say will be typing into the major search engines like Google. The right keywords are also those words that don’t already have a million pages targeting them. In other words, you want low competition so that your message can get to the top of the search engine results page.

This article is going to show you how to help people find your site by choosing and using properly targeted keywords.

1. Get specific

Do you remember having to choose a topic for a research report in elementary or junior high school? Do you remember the little exercise you went through in order to narrow your topic down to something you could comfortably write about? Let’s suppose you wanted to write your report about insects. With the help of your teacher you quickly saw that was way too broad a topic. You had to narrow it down, so you decided to write about honey bees. Even that topic was still too broad so you narrowed it further and decided to write about the life cycle of a worker bee, or the special way that young queen bees are raised.

You go through a similar process in choosing the perfect keywords–those keywords that will put you on the top of the search engine results page and help people find you. First, you consider the broad keywords you want to write to. For example, let’s say you want to write about golf clubs. You can narrow down that topic by writing about putting golf clubs, discount putting golf clubs, discount putting golf clubs made by a specific manufacturer. You could also add the word “buy” in front of your phrase. This ensures that the people who type in the keyword you are targeting are very interested in exactly that topic.

2. Research your competition

This simply means you find out how many results a search under a given keyword turns up. Once you have selected your keyword idea, enter it with quotes into Google. After Google runs the search, it will indicate the number of results just under the search box.

For example, I wanted to write this article about choosing keywords. When I enter that exact phrase, “choosing keywords,” into Google it returns almost 32,000 results. This means that there is a lot of competition for the broad keyword “choosing keywords” and it will not be easy for me to get my article listed on page one.

So I decided to try different phrases and see how they looked. In the case of this article, I changed “choosing keywords” into “choosing the perfect keyword.” When I type the exact phrase into Google I find there are 1,560 results for that keyword. This means that anything I write targeting that keyword “choosing the perfect keyword” is likely to show up on the first page when someone types in that exact keyword. The fewer results the exact keyword phrase turns up when searched, the lower your competition in trying to target that keyword. Aim to choose keywords with fewer than 2,000 results to give your result a good chance of showing up on the top of the search page.

Here's something to be aware of as you use Google to research your competition. The algorithms Google uses are proprietary and they change from time to time. One of the recent changes is that Google no longer returns 100% accurate information on how many results exist under a quoted search term. It's still useful to use but consider the answer to be an estimate rather than an exact count.

There is a way to use Google to get a more accurate idea of how many sites are actively targeting the keyword you're after. Many sites will come up under a given keyword just because the keyword happened to get randomly thrown into the content. On the other hand, when a webmaster is actively targeting a keyword, he uses the keyword in the title and he uses the keyword in an anchor text link on another site. For the purposes of keyword research, here is how you learn how many websites are actively targeting your keyword. For this example, I'm researching the keyword “Make money online watching TV.”

In your Google search box, type: intitle:“make money online watching tv” inanchor:“make money online watching tv”

The results you get are just the web pages that use the keyword in a title and have anchor links using that keyword pointing to it.

At the time of this writing, of all the thousands of results that come up under the keyword “make money online watching TV,” only one page is actively targeting that keyword.

This means that if you actively target that keyword, meaning you use it in your title and you build anchor text backlinks using that keyword, it won't be too difficult to get your content on page one of Google.

I learned about the intitle inanchor search from a blog post on Google keyword competition (http://retirerichroadmap.com/blog/google-keyword-competition/). It's an excellent explanation of why this works so well.

3. Get more ideas

Sometimes it can be difficult to think of specific long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are phrases consisting of three or more individual words. If you are stumped, Google Adwords has a great keyword research tool (https://adwords.google.com/o/Targeting/Explorer) that you can use to generate ideas. You can start by entering your broad keyword ideas and see what additional ideas it generates. For example, typing in the phrase “golf clubs” suggested “left handed golf clubs,” “mizuno golf clubs,” “ping golf clubs for sale” and 797 other ideas. Choosing the perfect keyword becomes much easier when you have some suggestions to look at.

4. Estimate search volume

The above mentioned Google Adwords tool also estimates how many monthly searches each keyword generates. A general rule of thumb is that keywords with high search volumes are also keywords with a lot of competition, but that is not always the case. If you find a high volume keyword that is specific to your message, definitely look it up and see how many results it generates. If it turns out to be a low competition keyword, you have hit the keyword jackpot. The most likely scenario is that you will need to target several low competition, relatively low search volume keywords to start generating traffic to your web site.

For example, the exact phrase “choosing the perfect keyword” turns up zero search volume in the AdWords keyword tool. In that situation it's a good idea to write the same article again, publishing it to another hidden page on your website, only targeting a slightly different keyword, such as “nail down winning keywords” instead of “choosing the perfect keyword.”

Choosing the perfect keyword can seem like a daunting task but it's very simple when you break it down into several steps. These steps involve focusing your keywords to specifically match your topic, researching the competition on each keyword, getting additional keyword ideas, and estimating search volume. All of these steps can be done easily using your imagination and readily available online keyword research tools.

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