This is a more complex blogging strategy that incorporates a keyword hierarchy for long-term SEO success. If applied correctly, & combined with proper, ethical backlinking tactics, this strategy can ultimately place you in the position to take over any major keyword phrase, regardless of competition.
The good news is, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is relatively easy and you don’t need to be an SEO blogging master like Stephan Spencer, to reach #1 in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Page) for even highly competitive keyword phrases. In fact, blogging with WordPress alone has already given you an advantage since many SEO features come integrated. I’ll be honest, I don’t go overboard with my SEO tactics. Instead, I tend to stick to a few tried and true long-term strategies that result in consistent, repeat traffic that increases over time with little additional effort. The first of these strategies is keyword research and implementation… a strategy my peers have collectively nicknamed my big bang theory.
First steps in Keyword Research…
Do your keyword research. The keywords you choose can make or ruin your blogging efforts. Most bloggers know this but surprisingly, the majority of bloggers I coach, (both beginners and experienced bloggers) don’t know that how you apply those keywords can also make a huge difference in your blog’s traffic.
There are several keyword research tools available these days (you youngsters… I remember back in the day when we didn’t have anything other than Yahoo’s advertising keyword tool, which quite frankly sucked for this purpose.) I know bloggers who are happy with Market Samarai, however, I prefer the simplicity of Micro Niche Finder by James Jones. Not only does it allow you to quickly research keyword trends but also features stats for estimating per click earnings, commercial opportunity value, etc. While these stats can fluctuate, it’s still helpful to decide if you’d rather target “Kimora Lee New Baby” which estimates $.60 per click or “Kimora Lee Simmons New Baby” which estimates $2.00 per click. Nice huh? As I said, these stats can fluctuate, but if you’ve been blogging about something for a long period of time, these stats can help you know your keyword phrases inside and out, giving you an edge over the ‘competition’ in the long run.
If you’re not ready to pull out your credit card and buy your keyword research software, there are other options. Google AdWords (which, by the way, is where MNF pulls data to formulate its stats) and SEO Book’s Keyword Research Tool, for example. While these won’t give you all the statistics of MNF, they can be used to guestimate your options until you’re ready to move up.
Implementing your keyword research:
1. Learn to identify the right keywords. Let’s say there are 50k monthly searches for the phrase, “Kimora Lee New Baby.” Now let’s say, as an example, that there are next to no searches for “Kimora Lee Simmons New Baby.” You are better off writing your post to target the keyword phrase “Kimora Lee New Baby.” It should go without saying that if you’re writing about this topic, you would NOT want to write “KL’s New Baby” since chances are, no one is specifically searching for those words. This is an easy example, but believe me, when I say, I talk to plenty of bloggers who are writing the equivalent of “KL’s New Baby” when going for “Kimora Lee New Baby” as their keyword target.
2. Make a list of your targeted keyword phrases. Main reasons for doing this: A: You can track these over time, (I keeping date-titled exported excel sheets from MNF.) Sometimes it’s helpful to be able to review keyword stats over time, to see if spikes in traffic are permanent or temporary. After all, maybe the 50k monthly reader stats for “Kimora Lee New Baby” was only the result of an E-News Special last month. It’s also helpful to see when trends are shifting- maybe “Kimora New Baby” is rising in stats and about to take over “Kimora Lee New Baby.” Love it when this happens- Time to place yourself in position for #1 before anyone else even knows what’s going on. B: It’s easy to refer to your list of targeted keywords for the following tactics.
3. Take that list of keywords, and create a category for each in your blog. With similar keyword phrases, select the most highly searched phrase rather than listing all.
4. For this next step, it’s important to know that web pages rank with search engines, not websites. Once you understand that, you know why it’s important to create a hierarchy not only of all your pages but particularly within your blog posts. Why? Many reasons- 1. You want incoming links from both the web and within your own site, all telling the search engines, “Hey, this is my number one page for this particular phrase.” Make sense?
How to: Write one post for each keyword in your list (go ahead and save the post’s URL in your keyword list- you’ll need that shortly.) These are called, pillar articles or primary posts. Drop each one in the appropriate category, or multiple categories if appropriate. Title it exactly as it reads in the list- even if you have multiple keywords that are closely related. Schedule these to be published sporadically to avoid “Kimora Lee New Baby” being published right after “Kimora Lee’s New Baby.” I will actually create an empty post, with just the title and my SEO details filled out to get the ball rolling. I then go back later and write the actual article. We all know Google loves fresh content and this includes updates- I believe regularly updated pages score well with Google so I like to keep an updated list of all my primary posts, or mark them somehow and update them now and then. From this point on, your goal is to get each of these pillar articles to rank #1 for their keyword phrase.
5. Interlink your blog’s pages to push your pillar articles to #1. To date, I haven’t come across a plugin that does this exactly as I would prefer but a quick plugin search for “SEO Links” brings up a few that come close. Take your keyword list and add these to KB Linker, making each of the list’s pillar articles the URL link. Now, each time you use these keywords in a post, they will automatically link to the appropriate pillar article.
6. Supporting articles. Your pillar articles are good to go- now it’s time for all those other posts, which we’ll call supporting articles or supporting posts. Supporting articles are not named exactly as the keyword phrases, but instead, are named preferably with the same keywords as the pillar articles but titled differently. Example: “Kim Kardashian’s New Baby Named Cutest Baby of the Year!” All keywords are in that post, now the related keywords from your list are used within the article and automatically pointed to the pillar article, helping it to rise in the SERPs.
7. File your supporting and pillar articles under the appropriate categories. Remember your categories and Pillar articles will have the same names. Category pages, Tags, etc, should all be made up of words from your keyword list. Remember, when a category is created, it is its own page- giving you yet another page with the appropriate keyword phrase in the title. Since this page also contains links to your pillar page, this is just an example of how well your site will now be interlinked. In actuality, it is creating what I call a pyramid strategy, with the pillar articles at the tip of the pyramid for each keyword.
This is just a starting point for SEO’ing your blog. From here, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of ways to maximize your SEO efforts efficiently. Really, this allows you to both divide and focus Divide, meaning you can go for dozens of keywords easily and hundreds or even thousands potentially. Focus, meaning you are not seeing every page on your site, but rather only the pillar articles. I recommend reading, “The Art of SEO” which was co-written by SEO authority and my dear friend, Stephan Spencer and Eric Enge. Be forewarned, this book is not light reading but these guys do know more about SEO than anyone in the industry.
I realize this is a bit of a pretzel strategy. Believe me when I say I could have made it more complicated by adding more If this is at all confusing for you, especially if you’re a beginning blogger, by all means, feel free to ask for clarification in the comments below. If you’ve got it down and want to hear more… stay tuned- I’ll cover backlinking for this in the next post. Brilliant blogging!