"Hi Lynn, I have a quick question. In order to have a successful blog, do you have to target keywords? I'm blogging mainly to give information, but it would be nice to profit from it as well.
Do I need to target certain keywords in my posts in order to acquire traffic, or is posting frequently good enough? Do you target certain keywords in your blog posts to gain traffic? Say if I submit a post to my blog about extra curricular activities... do I have to target certain keywords about that specific post in order for traffic to start rolling in?
Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it." - Scarlet
This is a great question. Most of the people reading along will expect a solid "yes" in my response. And while I will say that yes, you need to target specific keyword phrases when writing content, I want to give you a more detailed answer than that.
If you do not intentionally optimize your content (blog posts, articles, forum threads, etc) for a specific keyword phrase, and intentionally get backlinks to that content, you will still get traffic and readers.
This is true for two reasons:
First is "accidental SEO". Whether you intentionally choose and optimize with a "keyword phrase", your content may still come up in the major search engines for an obscure search term. This is how I first learned about SEO (search engine optimization) and the importance of keyword targeting.
I checked my stats one day (this was 8-10 years ago) and noticed certain archived pages of my site were getting substantial search engine traffic. There were certain phrases or a combination of words in the content, and the search engines deemed those pages relevant to those searches.
It was then that I started targeting my pages to specific searches, by optimizing the pages for specific keyword phrases. This gave me more control over the type of visitor I attracted, better rankings for better search terms, and a stronger "message to market match" between my targeting and my call-to-action.
If you would like to attract a specific type of reader, the type that is highly interested in your content, then you'll want to target specific keyword phrases for the content you publish on the web. This will give you much more traffic, and more targeted traffic, and also result in higher profit potential.
The second reason is because there are other traffic sources, outside of the major search engines. You might attract readers through interviews, networking, personal recommendations from others, social media, offline exposure, etc.
You would be wise to accept the first, have a strategy for the second, and also intentionally optimize your content to attract highly targeted visitors to your pages. Ignoring the major (keyword-driven) search engines would be like an offline business (a plumber, for example) ignoring the Yellow Pages.
Also see: How to Increase Blog Traffic Fast