Regardless of what anyone tells you, if you want to make money online you’re going to need to be in the top search engine rankings for the relevant keywords for your niche. Quality content, killer videos, and being sociable on Twitter and Facebook will help. But people still have to use keywords when they conduct a search. And if your site isn’t in the top 5 index results, all that other stuff won’t even matter.
Look, everything you read these days talks about engaging your readers and making a personal connection. And they’re right, you should be concerned more with your readers than you are the search engines. But, what about people who’ve never been to your blog before? Not everyone hangs out in social networks, waiting for a friend to tell them which blogs to visit. How are new visitors going to find your blog?
Most people will still be coming to your blog from a search engine. Which means they used a keyword. Which means you still need to be worried about ranking for keywords. And you still need to be doing your keyword research.
Here’s the key though. If you want to make money with your site, then you’re going to have to rank at the top of the search engine for more than one keyword. You’re going to have to rank for as many keywords as you can find.
Let’s say you have one of those famous dog training blogs that we all like to use for an example. When you’re doing your keyword research you’ll see keywords that had 1000 searches last month, or 1200, or 800 or even 200. Those are all important keywords and if you ranked well for all 4 of them you would potentially attract 3,200 visitors to your blog in one month.
But that’s just ‘potential’. And what if you only ranked well for one of those keywords? You might only attract 200 searchers. And what if you didn’t use any keywords at all? What if all you worried about was being ‘authentic’ or ‘engaging’? You’d be missing out on all of that search engine traffic.
Those search numbers come from people who entered keywords directly in the search engine to find the information they were looking for. It doesn’t count the people who followed a Tweet or a Facebook link. If the bulk of your traffic is coming from the social networks and your RSS feed, then you’re missing out on the search engine traffic.
To better understand what I’m talking about, look at your main keyword using the Google Keyword tool and see how many total searches there were last month. For the keyword ‘dog training’ there were 74,000 searches. The next 5 keywords accounted for another 140,000 searches. Did 210,000 people visit your blog last month?
So How Do You Get Those Search Engine Rankings?
When researching your keywords it’s important to see if it’s even possible to beat your competition. Look at the links at the top of the index and check their PR and their incoming links to see if you can compete. In the beginning, you’ll want to choose the keywords with the least amount of competition so you can rank as quickly as possible.
Eventually, though, if you want the traffic, you’re going to have to go hand-to-hand with some of those top dogs and that’s why link building comes in.
- On-site content: You’ll need quality content on your site, first, that uses the keyword you’re trying to rank for.
- Article marketing: Write articles using relevant keywords and use the same keywords to create anchor text links back to relevant articles on your blog.
- Guest blogging: Submit guest posts to relevant blogs. Use the keyword you’re trying to rank for in an anchor text link back to relevant content on your blog.
- Blog commenting: Leave value added comments on blogs and use anchor text keywords to link back to your blog.
- Web 2.0: Create quality Web 2.0 properties to link back to your relevant blog content.
What about quality and authenticity and all that feel-good stuff?
There shouldn’t even be a question about quality content anymore. It’s a must. Your content must be written for the reader – not the search engines. If you have to, if it makes it easier, write your content first and then go back and put your keywords in. But that quality content you’ve been providing is what’s bringing in your traffic from your RSS feed and the social networks. And you want to keep that traffic happy.
These days, with all the competition out there, if you want to make money online you’re going to need those top search engine rankings – for every keyword you can lay your hands on. But don’t sacrifice the quality of your content. That’s what keeps those searchers coming back for more.