When you have learned a bit about SEO you are constantly monitoring your rankings for various keywords. It can be quite stressful -- particularly nowadays. That's because keyword positions in the SERPs are more volatile than ever.
Almost every time I log in and check my rankings for this site, for instance, I see a slightly different position. For example, I was in position two for Aussie searches for the keyword phrase "SEO tips" for a long while. But over the last nine moths or so, the position has been moving up and down quite often. This variability seems to have been at its greatest over the last couple of months. Some days I'm in position eight or nine, then the next day I'm at five. Then I'm at three, then down to nine again. I've seen a similar level of volatility in my rankings for a couple of my other sites.
This can cause you a lot of angst because you see a huge fall in traffic if you drop out of the top three results
. And there's even a substantial difference between positions one and two, and between two and three.
It's not a huge issue for me since I'm not depending entirely on income generated from my sites. But for business owners who had become accustomed to holding the top spot in Google for a targeted keyword phrase, the present volatility must be making them nervous wrecks!
I think this phenomenon is due mainly to the increasing sophistication of Google's algorithms. It's clearly becoming increasingly human-like in its ability to asses the quality and relevance of a web page.
So, how do you deal with this issue? Of course you can do things to lift your rankings, but it's increasingly difficult to dominate them consistently. If you're a webmaster, the whole issue is largely out of your hands. I think the best policy is just to not worry about it so much and accept things.
You should also remember that as long as you've done the fundamentals, there's a good chance that you'll reclaim your previous position eventually or at least not fall too far down the list.
That said, there's always a chance that a webmaster has decided to knock you off your perch for a certain keyword and will just keep plugging away until he does this. In that case there's not a lot you can do.
So, just keep adding quality content, sharing on social media sites, building and most importantly earning
links. If you keep at it you will be rewarded by the search engines eventually, even if it's not in exactly the way you'd like.
I've been reading a lot of blogs about blogging lately. And there seems to be a consensus that bloggers should write timeless or evergreen content rather than topical stuff.
Now, there's no denying that if you can rank fairly highly for your evergreen content then it will have the best long term effect. But remember that there will be a much greater number of bloggers competing over those keywords -- particularly if you're in an already crowded niche. In that case it could be almost impossible to rank for some generic keyword combinations, even long tail ones. That could be very disheartening.
That's why I'd recommend putting some topical stuff in occasionally amongst the evergreen stuff. It's so much eaiser to rank for. And it can still be highly relevant. So, keep an eye out for developments related to your niche being covered in the mainstream media. Look out for highly specific keywords such as the names of individuals, organizations, locations, companies and products. Put those in your blog titles and write thoughtful, opinionated or even downright provocative posts about them. Chances are you'll be seen by quite a few people, and you may score the odd backlink to that topical content as well.
And it should be remembered that some topical content can end up drawing visitors for a surprisingly long time. I've found this with a couple of my political blogs. I've kept an eye out for news makers who weren't very well known at that point. I've put their names in the post titles and written some thoughts on stories related to them. Because I got in early and received some comments on those posts, they've ended up high in the SERPs and stayed there. When these people have popped up in the news some time later, my content has continued to appear high in searches for them.
It's almost like being a talent spotter. In that game if you find someone early, before they're famous, then represent them, you can reap the rewards for many years.
So that's another thing to consider. An example might be a person in your field of interest who is slowly gaining a strong profile, or maybe a local landmark, business or organization that is becoming more widely known than before. Write about many such topical subjects and some will bring short terms surges of traffic. And a few may well end up drawing visitors over several months, even years.
I wrote earlier about how you should apply keyword selection principles to social media
. I've often seen how this works. For example, if I tweet a lot about a a particular subject and those tweets contains certain keywords (often with hash tags, of course) I'll see a surge of new followers that have accounts closely related to them. It's pretty clear that they have been using Twitter as a search engine and have found me via those keywords. The correlation is too strong for anything else to be occurring. And here's another little example: I've only recently started a Facebook Page for this site, SEO Tips Australia. I just gained a new fan. I looked at his likes and saw that he was liking lots of pages with the words "SEO" and "Australia" in the title. So he must have found mine by searches for those keywords. That's actually a very popular search on Google, so it makes sense that someone would be searching within Facebook for it also.So, there's confirmation that it's worth using Google's free keyword tool to get some ideas about the best keywords to target on Facebook. Then you should put those in the name of your Page. And you should also be mindful of keywords when writing updates, because people do search for them in public posts. Sure, the FB search engine is pretty unsophisticated right now. But it's sure to improve over time. And people will use it more and more to find pages to connect with. So those SEO principles are definitely worth keeping in mind whenever you are using the site.
I wrote earlier about how you can use Google's drop down suggestion box as a way to get good keyword ideas
. You should really play around with this because it can supply you with limitless possibilities, particularly if you want to get geo-targeted traffic.The key to unlocking its full potential is to do more than just typing in the keywords you want to target and seeing what follows afterwards. This is because your chosen keywords might be anywhere in a commonly used search engine query, even at the end.Use it constantly and you'll see that there are many general verbal templates that appear over and over again. Take "the best (insert keyword) in (insert keyword)", for example. People also look for the cheapest, the worst, the biggest
, etc. And that's just the start. Think of just about any oft-used phrase, with or without a question mark, and start typing it in. You're sure
to get numerous suggestions.
You'll often find ones related to your city or area. And even if you don't, there's still a good chance that people do make such queries from time to time -- just not as often as those that do appear as suggestions.
As I've written before, the real trend in Google's development is that it's becoming so sophisticated that traditional SEO techniques are becoming less and less effective. Another recent example of this is an update targeting EMDs (exact match domains). This algorithm change penalizes low quality sites that target a particular search phrase. I'm sure you've seen a lot of these, which often occur in spam laden niches. They'll just be pushed well down the rankings for those particular words.I don't think that this means you shouldn't put any keywords in your domain name. One or two is fine. It just means that you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. If you had your heart set on your domain name alone drawing constant tra
ffic then you're going to be disappointed.The best policy is to be mindful of SEO aspects such as keyword selection when building a website, but you shouldn't worry too much about it. The main thing is to keep adding unique, relevant information that will be useful to visitors.
One of the most important factors in drawing search engine traffic to pages is keyword selection. It is always a good idea to be mindful of this aspect when writing blog posts, for example -- particularly when it comes to the titles. While best results can be gained after using various free keyword tools for research, you can still benefit from acting on keyword hunches
. The whole concept is also important in social media. This is because people are forever using the search functions in sites like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. So you should always make a point of sprinkling relevant and popular keywords throughout your writing on these sites. Do that and you will be more findable by those searching within these sites for people to connect with. And because they are also indexed by Google, you might get some views via the search giant as well.Linkedin in particular is loved by Google. So you should really take advantage of this and insert as many traffic drawing keywords in the various sections of your profile as spossible (without keyword stuffing, of course).
As you crawl up the rankings for different keywords you notice how various spelling versions rank differently. For example, for this main site, I rank pretty highly for "SEO tips". That's because that acronym is in the actual URL, and because I've got a reasonable number of backlinks out there with it in the anchor text.
In recent months I started getting some Google traffic from the phrase "search engine optimisation tips" even though I hadn't targeted that at all. Presumably this was because the search engine is pretty smart and knows what the acronym stands for. But remember there are two ways to spell the word "optimisation" -- one with an "s" and one with a "z". And at that point I hadn't had any visitors arrive via searches for the latter version.
So I've done a bit of backlink building over recent weeks, alternating between the two versions in the anchor text. I'm now on page one for both of them, and getting a couple more hits a day on average. Sure, that's not much, but every little bit helps. And it will build as I keep chipping away.
So, there's definitely something to remember there. If you're targeting a keyword phrase, see if there's an acronym for it. And also look for different ways to spell it. Then build links using all those different versions. You could end up drawing in quite a bit of extra search engine traffic as a result.
There are many keywords and phrases that have had huge competition for a long while, so you've got Buckley's chance of ranking highly for them and there's no point in trying. However, if you just add the name of a country after them, as so many people do when Googling, ranking highly becomes a whole lot easier. Here's an example. Some months back I started building a basic "make money from home" site around a domain I'd bought ages ago -- originally to promote a particular real estate affiliate program. It's "oz-income.net". It's not a great domain name for the subject, but it's not the worst, either.I did next to no keyword research, and just wrote some pages that I thought were appropriate and relevant to the subject of making a supplementary income from home in this country. I've been pretty busy so they're all quite basic, and I haven't even written meta-descriptions for them yet. I have been building links, though, mostly with articles and lots of blog comments.Anyway the traffic is trickling in and gradually increasing. And the main domain is already on the bottom of page one (and sometimes the top of page two) for searches for "make money from home Australia".So, that's definitely something to think about if you have a website or blog in a very competitive niche. Just tailor it more towards Aussies, include the country name in your page titles and it should help quite a bit.
Anyone who's used Google will be familiar with the drop down suggested searches box. It's basically the search engine using its own data to do a bit of thinking for you and suggest the keyword searches that many other people have used.
So, as you type in each word, others magically appear below in the menu. The more words you type yourself, the more chance that you're using a completely one off, original search, and so the suggestions trail off to nothing.
This tool is extremely useful for webmasters and bloggers because they can be sure that if a keyword search appears, a reasonable number of people type that in every month. So, if you include such keyword combinations in your page and blog post titles and write lots of good unique content that's relevant to them you've got a good chance of ranking fairly highly for such searches, and ones like them. Targeted traffic will then follow.
That said, it's not always that simple, because some keyword searches have massive volumes and therefore huge competition. And that information is not included next to the words. Still, if you apply a bit of intuition it's not hard to find some keyword combinations with strong potential.
You can get pretty creative and find your own way of using this drop down suggestion tool. It's great for helping you get geo-targeted Aussie traffic too. One thing that people often do is type a country, state or city name, then their main keyword (or vice versa). Depending on how popular those keywords are, Google will then suggest many related, oft-used searches.
For example, if you run an employment themed website you can type in "Australia+jobs" and you'll get many suggestions. You can sift through them for ideas. And even some of the resultant three word searches listed will throw up still more that you can target.
Of course it's doesn't always follow that those typing in local location names are from Australia. However you can be confident that many of them are. Keep going with this technique - even if you don't do further research into exactly how many people type those particular searches and how many websites and blogs are competing for them - and you're sure to have some success before too long. Remember that a few such traffic trickles can add up to a flood over a year or so.
Not so long ago I wrote a post on my rant blog about the Australian federal election. Being mindful of keyword selection, I included the names of the main party leaders in the post title. Just as I'd hoped, a reasonable number of people were including those two keywords in their searches and I managed to sneak onto the first page of Google for it. That particular post has well and truly slipped down the list but it did manage to bring in scores, if not hundreds, of visitors
.Something similar happened today. I read about a point blank execution in Dianella, which was the suburb I grew up in. Compelled to comment on the changing nature of Perth, I wrote a blog post on the chilling event. I thought about what people would most likely include in their searches and titled the post "Shooting in Dianella". Again, more than a few people were typing in those exact words, or something similar. And I've had dozens of hits as a result. I know it's a pretty opportunistic, even ghoulish way to bring in some traffic. Still, there's no point in writing a blog unless you get people to read it, right? And the lesson from this (particularly for bloggers who write about current events) is that you should always try and think what people will most likely type into a search engine when seeking information and opinions. If at all possible, you should include those keywords in the post title. If the post is about topical information there's almost certain to be very little competition for popular searches related to it. And if your hunches are correct (which they're pretty much bound to be from time to time) you can end up getting some really nice spurts of traffic as a result.