The lowdown on keywords

by Desmond Menz posted in Info-Product Creation


Keywords! We're constantly told that we've got to do keyword research - for blog posts, for info-products, for articles, for content at our websites - and use these keywords strategically throught our content.

In the past, keywords have been important for all sorts of reasons - page rank, advertising, marketing, and selling, to name a few. But are they as important today as they have been in past times? 

This article explores some essential factors relating to keywords and whether they still have the clout that they once had.

I'll start by saying that I've already made a shift in my thinking and my action plan, but my purpose in this article is to alert others to what is actually happening now with the issues of keywords and search.

I'm going to target two key factors - SEO and long-tail keywords.

Why I've moved from keyword research

Several years ago I subscribed to a keyword research tool (actually it was a multiple keyword search and analytical system) - I won't name it because it seems that it has died a natural death, and I have respect for the dead. I couldn't find much evidence of it being alive during a web search.  

I used it back in my formative period of getting myself together online, but it was only for about a year until one day, after my use of it became less and less, I unsubscribed. I was wasting my money! 

Rational thinking demands swift action.

My need for a keyword research tool back then was also limited. I had other offline projects that constantly interfered with my online progress.

Today it's different. I'm headlong into my online business. I write, publish, and sell info-products in a range of different markets, and for different needs. 

But, I do keyword research only for getting long-tail keywords. And that doesn't happen all that much anyway.

It can be time-sapping! 

Sure, it's a good idea to see what the general search terms are that your target audience is using. Google Keyword Tool is fine for that. 

But integrating all those single term keywords you've found, including long-tail keywords, into your writings is a big time-consumer. Well, that's what I think anyway. 

Weaving those keyword-rich phrases into your content also requires a dose of skill ... and magic. Your article has to flow, it has to look natural, and it must not have errors or poor grammar.

The web-scape today is very different from just a year or so ago. 

In this article about Google Authorship, I said that your content will attain higher value if it's linked to your Google+ profile. All those algorithms that Google uses, and all those spiders that crawl all over your site - they are the things that have to be kept in mind all the time.

To complete the picture, I also wrote about Getting the edge with Author Rank. It's recommended reading.

Is it just about unique content?

These days, part of the story is about Unique Content. That's what Google wants and it's about delivering what Google thinks your reader wants. Value, relevance, quality.

Write naturally, and produce your content and products to inform, educate, and entertain. A simple formula.

But there's more to the story. 

SEO - Search Engine Optimization - used to be focused on keywords, and creating keyword-rich content and links that allow tracking from those keywords. There's now more to it than that. 

Encrypted search ... that "S" you see on the end of HTTP. S denotes "SECURE".

Now, rather than get into the nuts-and-bolts of this, it is clear that encrypted search - which was introduced by the main search engines about two years ago - is going to be used much, much, more because of privacy and security issues. You'll see a lot more of HTTPS in the near future.

What will encrypted search do? 

It will make the tracking of keywords, long-tail keywords, and phrases, less useful and they will decline in importance. (See Source #1 below for further explanation). 

What about long-tail keywords?

Long-tail keywords, although drawing in much less traffic and fewer searches, can be easier to rank for than competitive keywords, and are arguably more important given the way that search engines are driving changes these days. 

Let's now think about blog posts and web pages. Using certain keywords and keyword density should not be a primary objective today. I've been investigating this angle a bit more, and here's what I've come across.

The main target keyword (your competitive keyword) should be about 1% of a page's content. So, if you have a 500 word article then just 5 target keywords should be sprinkled throughout it. Not much is it?

So, where did I discover this? 

Well, I've been looking more at on-page optimization, and I think I've found the cutting edge of what we should all be doing. 

All that is coming up in the post "Is SEO the way to go?"

Sources for this post

#1 Is 2013 the year marketers lose keyword research

#2 The importance of long-tail keywords for SEO

Have your say. Do keywords play a vital role in your online business? What other strategies do you use?

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