Saturday SEO Secrets #2: Finding the Right Keyphrases

by Amber on August 18, 2012

Last Saturday, we started talking about SEO. SEO for blogs, run by bloggers who don’t have the time to make learning about SEO a full-time job. Did you see the post?

SEO Secrets Lesson 2If not, go read it right now. You’ll need that background for today’s post.

Are you back? Good. Okay, let’s get on to today’s lesson:

Lesson #2: How the heck do I find good keyphrases?

The short answer? Do a little brainstorming. There’s a longer answer, but we’ll start there.

Open up a fresh word doc, get out a pen and paper, grab a crayon and your kid’s sketchpad – whatever.

Now. Put yourself in your readers’ shoes. If you were looking for whatever you’re about to post about, how would you search? What would you type in?

And remember, there’s no point in trying to think like a robot. The web crawlers (i.e. Google) spend all their time trying to get better at thinking like people. So, since you are a person, you have a giant advantage.

Keep going for as long as you can. Write really specific terms. More general questions. Think about what you’d search for if your first search didn’t work. Or how you’d filter your results if what came back was too general.

Hopefully, by the time you’re out of ideas, you’ll have a nice long list.

Got it? Good. Now it’s time to ask a robot.

Meet the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Your new best friend.

Don’t be nervous. It’s easy to use. Just click on over to the Keyword Tool (that link will open it up in a new window). And breathe.

Still with me? Good.

Alright, now you know that list you brainstormed? You’re going to enter it into the box labeled “Word or Phrase,” one term to a line. When you’re done, it should look like this:

A list of keyphrases in the keyword tool search box
The results page that comes back might look a little scary. But don’t worry. I’m going to help you translate it. Here’s the big picture.
Adwords search reults
So. Your keyphrase is highlighted in blue. In the next column, you’ll see three different words: low, medium and high. That refers to the number of sites that would be competing with you to rank for that term. Low competition is good. Medium competition is okay. High competition is bad news bears.

The competition column in Adwords results

The other two columns are global and local monthly search results.
Local and Global search results in Adwords

Global is, of course, the whole planet. Local, for our purposes, is the United States.

Now, ideally what you want is a term with lots of search traffic and very little competition.

Obviously, we don’t have that in the example I’m showing you. The post I was searching for was quite specific. It was about making a three-dimensional owl cake using Pyrex bowls. I wrote it because I couldn’t find anything online to tell me how to do what I wanted to do.

Therefore, I chose 3D owl cake as my keyphrase. It’s super specific, without a ton of traffic, but it seemed to do the best job of getting the idea across (at the time).

So. I named my post How To Make a Kick Ass 3D Owl Cake. And I get all of the search traffic for that term:
Google results for 3D owl cake

Not only do I have the number one spot for this very specific term, my daughter is in one of the pictures. And it’s been that way for a year and a half now.

That’s how you make the Keyword Tool work for you.

Well, at least, that’s how you find the right keywords. Next week, I’ll show you how to use ‘em to get the results you want. If you didn’t go ahead and subscribe last week, you should probably do that now. You wouldn’t want to miss it, after all.

Questions? That’s what the comments are for. Fire away!

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea August 18, 2012 at 2:14 pm

pssst. Your Keyword Tool link is broken. It’s missing an l at the end!

And I love this and am still reading and learning!
Andrea recently posted..Go find me …

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Amber August 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Thank you! I’ll go fix that!

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Laural Out Loud August 18, 2012 at 5:58 pm

I’m so glad I have a place to ask questions! I have two.

The first one is about WHERE to put the keyword phrase. I thought you were supposed to put it in the URL, but you put it in your post title. Does it matter? I guess it’s not an issue for people that use the same URL as the post title, but I often change my URL to be shorter, etc.

Second, do you put all the keyword phrases as tags after you pull the best one for the URL/title? Do tags matter?
Laural Out Loud recently posted..The Morning My Mother Accused Me Of Leaving Heroin On The Kitchen Counter

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Amber August 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm

You need to the key phrase in lots of places. the URL, the head, the content….there’s a lot to talk about, so I’ll go into more detail about that next week…it could really be a couple of posts. And yes, use them as tags too. It can’t hurt.

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Rebeccah August 18, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Would you be surprised to know that I still have no idea what is going on? ;-)
Rebeccah recently posted..Mama Bear Surprised Me

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Amber August 19, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Hmmm, well, that’s okay. At the end of the day, the best Seo tactic is just towrite good content, which you do!

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Chloe September 10, 2012 at 12:25 am

Amber, I just wanted you to know that I haven’t commented very post, but I read each one like it’s the Bible. Great stuff. Thank you for writing this series.
Chloe recently posted..A Bird in the Grave is Not Worth Even One Story About My Bush

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Amber September 10, 2012 at 10:09 pm

I’m glad you’re enjoying it!

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