- by Mike
Quite a number of our readers have been asking us to elaborate on keywords. We will do that, before discussing the use of a keyword tool.
If you are a budding webmaster, you will need to understand keywords. We have found plenty of would-be online gurus who don’t. Not surprising, given that you could probably find a hundred or more explanations that are either wide of the mark, or downright misleading.
Why you need keywords
There's very simple reason.
Keywords are critical when search engines such as Google look for information to answer a query made by a user. If you use the wrong keywords, there’s a chance your post or website won’t come up, even if it exactly matches the information the person was searching for.
Be Rich: Where to use your keyword
Given you want readers to visit your website, you are probably writing on subjects that have some appeal for your target group. When you created your site and its niche, you would have done the research to determine the popularity of your topic.
If you are still struggling to find your niche, you might like to read our series on How to get Started in Affiliate Marketing.
Let’s assume you have begun to fill your website with valuable information that your readers will love. Your next article should be ‘keyword rich’. This does not mean you will use the keyword in every third or fourth sentence, but it should appear a few times in the article.
You should use your keyword:
– in the title
– in the first paragraph of your post, but not necessarily in the first sentence
–somewhere else in the post
– as alt text to one of your graphics
– once more, if the post is extra long
Now that you have figured out where you will place your keyword, you need to discover what the ‘right’ keyword is.
You have two choices: first, you can guess – not a very smart choice; or you can do some keyword research.
When people do a search, statistics show that they either ask a question or type in a few words into the search box. The idea is to choose a keyword to match the query they make. Your keyword is more likely to be a string of words rather than a single word.
If your post is about ‘exercise for expectant hamsters’, your keyword will be more than just ‘hamsters’, because that is just too broad.
But how do you narrow it down, for best effect?
If you are serious about this, you should use a keyword research tool, because you need to look carefully at three things:
1. Are people searching for your topic? The research tool shows you how many people are searching for your exact term. You are looking for some critical mass here, so less than fifty searches a month is too low for your needs. The tool will suggest some alternatives and you will be able to play around with your wording to find a bigger audience. Don’t discard smaller opportunities when you see big search numbers on other keywords. As Kyle from Wealthy Affiliate says, “take the bunt singles rather than always swinging for the fences”.
2: How is the competition? There is a metric called Quote Search Results (QSR), which you can find in the JAAXY tool. QSR allows you to determine the EXACT number of competing pages in Google; you are looking for a QSR of under 300. In fact, the lower the QSR, the better for you. Anything above 300 and you will most likely be blown away by others with bigger and more established sites. You might get listed, but Google could have you on page eleventy-eight, which is as good as useless.
3: Your keyword must make some sense. In using JAAXY or other keyword research tools, you might be attracted to variations that aren’t quite readable. You might get away with it in your headline, but how do you work it into your text without it appearing clumsy? Resist the temptation to go for the highest score and use a word string that makes sense. Always remember: you are writing for the reader, not for keywords.
In summary . . .
Your keyword should be a phrase that makes sense and has at least 50 searches a month.
The QSR should be less than 300.
Tip: If Search number is greater than the QSR, you might be on to a winner!
Take a topic or theme from your website and plug it into the keyword tool below. Follow the principles outlined above and you will soon catch on.