This is a guest post by Sharon Robinson.
Welcome to the blogosphere!
You can now join 145 million (86 million Tumblr1 users and 59 million WordPress2 users) other bloggers give or take in trying to make a name, and a living, in the rapidly evolving world of blogging. And talk about rapidly evolving; the first blog was created in 1997 and we are already at 145 million blogs – sure is getting crowded out there.
So it augurs the question, why start a blog? There must be less competitive things you can do to try and earn a living. OK, there are plenty of benefits such as the ability to work from home in a challenging and constantly changing parallel universe, and yes the potential to make lots of money but those doing so are few and far between. For every HuffingtonPost, Perez Hilton, and TMZ there are hundreds of thousands of blogs doing nothing more than taking up the time of the blogger and bytes in cyberspace.
Making a Name for Yourself in Cyberspace
Therein lies the question – how are you going to make a name for yourself as a blogger? Be warned, great content is a start but it is definitely not enough. You must have a strategy and that strategy starts and ends with attaining the highest ranking possible in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) of Google. There is only a couple of small problems with this – there are only a few million other bloggers out there trying to achieve the same ends; and Google doesn’t provide a rule book as to exactly which criteria are used to compile these rankings. It’s like trying to play pin the tail on the donkey in a dark room the size of China with a few million other bloggers.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the industry that has developed around trying to maximize SERP. And it is the organic search results – those generated by the matching of search terms instead of paid advertising that will most benefit your ranking without breaking the bank. You see, non-organic search via paid advertising such as Pay Per Click (PPC) can raise your ranking, but at what cost, as the keywords used in the advertising cost money and the more popular the keyword, the more expensive it is. Consequently, as a new blogger with limited funds, the trick is to maximize SERP whilst minimizing non-organic search. So, how is this done?
Although not the be all and end all of SEO, keywords are a vital part of a successful blog strategy. Strong keywords will attract traffic to your blog, giving you the opportunity to increase conversion and maximize revenue from advertisers that want to be associated with you and other sites that want to link to you. Once you get on a role as a blogger, the momentum can be staggering…and so can the revenue generating opportunities.
Types of Keywords
There are two types of keywords – short tail and long tail. Short tail comprise up to three keywords used together and long tail comprise four or more keywords. As a rule, short tail are more competitive as they are more general than long tail, yet long tail receive less hits but result in better conversion. You should be using a mix of short and long tail keywords to generate optimal results. The use of mid tail keywords may provide a perfect balance between competitiveness and conversion. Similarly, you could use short and medium tail keywords to build links and set the stage for long tail keywords.
Generating Competitive Keywords
Although there is a range of software that analyzes keywords, you can check keywords on Google and the other major search engines, such as Yahoo! and MSN. Search using the following methodology:
intitle:[key phrase] and
allintitle:[key phrase]. The results will give you a strong feel for how many other people are searching for similar keywords.
When you perform these searches, check out how much advertising there is and if it has been configured with keywords. A lot of advertising configured with keywords is a sure sign that the keywords are competitive.
SEO for Firefox also generates useful keyword data as does Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Use the exact match Local Search volume and Approximate CPC to assess keyword competitiveness. Also monitoring your competitors’ blogs and the keywords they use can save you time and money when it comes to formulating your own keywords. It is preferable to use a VPN proxy when conducting competitor analysis.
The world of blogging is ultra competitive. The use of keywords for your blog is a hit and miss, trial and error, artistic rather than scientific pursuit. The use of freely available tools together with much of your own analysis can help you generate the best mix of short, mid, and long tail keywords. You can, and should, monitor your competitor’s use of keywords to save you both time and money.
photo credit: Dreamstime
1 About Tumblr.com. Accessed December 24, 2012
About the author
Sharon is passionate tech writer who enjoys sharing her tips and thoughts with the world such her recent discovery of using VPN proxy for competition research.