The Art of Keyword Targeting (Live Example)

Lynn Terry and Vera Raposo

In our ongoing Live Case Study with Vera, she has set up her niche affiliate blog and is at the point of creating content and building a readership.

Now it's time for the fun part: Keyword Targeting. :D I realize not everyone gets as excited about this as I do (lol) but it's fun once you get the hang of it.

In today's post you'll learn my "secrets" as we walk through it live with Vera. We'll look at keyword research (simplified!), how to select keyword phrases to target, the importance of examining the intention of those searches, and how to create blog post titles and content that get clicks and make sales...

What IS Keyword Targeting?

It simply means you're targeting specific keyword phrases that people are searching for online, by creating content that is optimized for those phrases. The goal is to make it easy for your target market to find exactly what they're looking for - ideally on YOUR blog or website. ;-)

Otherwise known as SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, but I take a more simplified approach that is both easier and gets great results.

Keyword Research - Simplified

Most people completely over-complicate the process of keyword research. Much of the data you get from various tools is completely useless in the current organic search results anyway. Particularly the "competition" data.

All you really need to know is what your market is searching for, and how they're searching for it - meaning, which words they use to ask specific questions. That's exactly what a specific search query is: a question. And your job, as a blogger or marketer, is to respond to that question or query with the solution. Period.

There are no magic numbers when it comes to search volume for keyword phrases. Your job (over time, of course) is to target them all, even those with very low search volume IF they are relevant or if they're commercial keyword phrases.

I don't use fancy software for keyword research. I simply use WordTracker. Click Here to learn all about WordTracker's Keyword Tool and how it works - and take it for a FREE test drive!

Choosing Keyword Phrases To Target

So how do you choose which keyword phrases to target if the competition data is pretty much useless and search volume doesn't really matter? Good question!

In the beginning, when you first start your blog or website, you want to target all of the "base" keyword phrases in your niche that will be important to your target market - particularly new visitors. To give you a live example, on my low carb blog I targeted things like: starting a low carb diet, how to figure out net carbs, low carb food list, etc. These posts are constantly being referenced - even two years later!

So the first step is to make sure you cover the core content, or the core topics, of your niche by creating "pillar" posts or pages that your readers most want/need. *If you didn't do this in the beginning, it's never too late. ;-)

From there you simply continue writing content that "answers" your market's searches - which is exactly what Keyword Targeting is: turning their "keyword question" (or search) into a "keyword response" (content).

This will all start with your WordPress Categories, which should be general keyword phrases. (See that link for a detailed explanation on setting up Categories and choosing Category Titles.) Let's say I have a Category on my low carb blog for "Low Carb Recipes". I just type in "low carb recipe" into WordTracker, and see what kind of recipes my market is searching for:

WordTracker

WordTrackerAt first you'll see very general results. The key is to drill down deeper and get into those specific queries. It's those highly topical blog posts that will bring in the traffic, and convert better.

Not only do "long tail keyword phrases" convert better, they're also easier to rank for in the major search results. The reason they convert better is simple: they're more specific, which means you can target a very specific need with a very specific solution. And "specific" ALWAYS converts better than "general" ;-) .

Using the example keyword phrases to the right, I see "low carb alcoholic drink recipes". This is a very specific search query. We know exactly what they're looking for.

Going back a bit, I find that "low carb drinks" is a keyword phrase, and would make for a great new Category on my blog. Why? Because there are tons of searches for different kinds of drinks! This would give me an opportunity to target ALL of those queries such as: low carb starbucks drinks, low carb energy drinks, etc - as well as the alcoholic drinks.

My next step is to outline a blog post for "low carb alcoholic drink recipes". It's easy enough to find a handful of great recipes to share from around the web, giving (link) credit to the sources of those recipes. Or maybe I have a few of my own to share.

What about the all-important Call-To-Action?

This is obviously an "informational" search. They are looking for recipes online. So 1) you can invite them to sign up for your mailing list for even more great recipes, and/or 2) I went to Amazon.com and typed in "low carb alcoholic" and found a whole slew of products and cookbooks specifically on this topic. BINGO! I could simply add a carousel widget with a variety of options to display in the post. :D

Intent - (The Key To Conversions)

You want a good mix of informational posts, engaging/discussion posts, and of course reviews/commercial posts on your blog. Making each of these posts work for you lies in the intent behind the keyword phrase you're targeting.

You'll have multiple goals with your content marketing: getting links/shares, getting comments & engagement, getting email subscribers, and making sales. You won't achieve all of these goals on each post, so it's important to use a Call To Action that matches the keyword phrase you're targeting.

I often use Keyword Modifiers when doing keyword research to specifically find commercial keyword phrases. By typing in "buy" when searching phrases about "almond meal" I find that people are searching "where to buy almond meal" - BINGO! I know where to buy it, so I create a post and tell them, using my affiliate link of course.

Informational keyword phrases are great too, particularly for how-to content that gets links & shares, or as inspiration for info-products and/or freebies & opt-in incentives.

The bottom line is: people DO buy online, so target those keyword phrases they are using when they have their credit card in hand. People also search for information online, which is a great way to build a readership and your mailing list.

Knowing which to do when lies in the "intent of the search" - so get in the mind of the person searching that phrase. What do they really want? Deliver exactly that when you target that phrase, and follow up with a strong call-to-action! ;-)

Writing Blog Post Titles Around Keyword Phrases

Your blog post titles are extremely important. Not only do you want to include the keyword phrase you're targeting, with the words in the exact same order, you also want the title to be engaging or compelling enough to get people to CLICK on it.

If you struggle writing Post Titles (ie headlines), try this free tool from Advanced Marketing Institute:

http://www.aminstitute.com/headline/index.htm

This free tool will help you come up with more engaging titles, which will improve your Click-Through Rate - not only in the search engines but on Social Media sites and other places around the web where people see your link.

Let's do some live examples for Vera's blog. In my last post, I said:

"Choose five keyword phrases you want to target, and let's examine the intention of each phrase. I'll help you come up with Blog Post Titles that include those phrases..."

Vera replied with these keyword phrases she chose, that relate to her new blog at FaithAdventurist.com:

  • walk by faith
  • leap of faith
  • hope and faith
  • have a little faith
  • picture verse faith hope and love
  • faith hope and love gifts
  • wall art with faith hope and love

At first glance you might just start writing a blog post around each of these keyword phrases. But again, "intent of the search" is the most important factor. You can get a good idea of the "intent" by looking at the related keyword phrases in your keyword search results.

When you search "walk by faith" you find that some people are looking for tattoos, others are looking for lyrics to a song by that title, and some are looking for the meaning of the bible verse. By this you can determine who (or which intent) you want to target specifically, and it may give you ideas for related blog posts as well.

Looking at the keyword results, I would target the longer phrase "walk by faith not by sight" which includes the shorter phrase but also broadens your reach by targeting both the shorter and longer phrases together in your title.

For Vera's blog, I recommend a post titled:

"How to Walk By Faith, Not By Sight - 3 Fun Ways To Practice"

A title like that would get my attention and make me curious about the three ways I can practice this age-old advice! As for a call-to-action, given this is an information search, it's a great opportunity to invite readers to subscribe by email for more fun "faith adventures" with her.

The keyword phrase "faith hope and love gifts" that Vera chose is obviously a commercial keyword phrase - which means a buyer is searching for a product to buy!

This immediately makes me want to go research "Christian Gifts" - which is a good keyword phrase, and would be a great new Category for Vera's blog. There are a lot of more specific keyword phrases in that list that would make for great blog posts, such as: Christian baby gifts, Christian graduation gifts, personalized Christian gifts, etc.

Vera's post for "faith hope and love gifts" can go in this Category of course.

Good title options include:

- Where to Buy Faith Hope and Love Gifts Online
- My Favorite Faith Hope and Love Gifts
- Faith Hope and Love Gifts with Free Shipping
- Personalized Faith Hope and Love Gifts
- Best Deals on Faith Hope and Love Gifts

Actually, Vera could write all five blog posts, featuring different sources/merchants and products in each post, as it relates to the title!

Another keyword phrase Vera chose was "hope and faith". This is an informational search, but Vera could easily recommend her "gift" posts above in this post since it's highly related. Example titles targeting this keyword phrase could be:

* Eye-Opening "Hope and Faith" Bible Study To Share
* Hope and Faith In Practice - Try This Today

We've covered a lot of ground already in this lengthy tutorial, but there's SO much more I could share with you in regards to keyword research, combining keyword phrases, content marketing, and of course increasing traffic & conversions using smart keyword targeting...

Hopefully this post has given you some insight into the process, and some practical tips you can go ahead and start applying immediately, though.

Click Here to learn all about WordTracker's Keyword Tool and how it works - and take it for a FREE test drive!

I would love to hear your thoughts...

Have questions? Leave a comment below. :D

Enjoy this post? Be sure to share it with your friends! ;-)

Best,

p.s. I'll be teaching a very detailed "Keyword Targeting" class soon if you'd like to tune in and learn the finer details of this strategy so you can boost your traffic and sales dramatically. Make sure you're subscribed by email (below) to get notification on the upcoming interactive class full of live examples.

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...moreĀ»

Discussion

  1. Great post, packed full of info! I think I will be reading this post more than once. Thank you!

    Lynn
    Lynn Hasty recently posted..The Coffee DressMy Profile

  2. Lynn

    I cannot wait to see how this case study turns into ROI... keyword research is definitely the core of a niche blog start up, however, without bottom line profit, no site is worth investing in, unless you're truly passionate about it, and don't care about dividends, right?

    All my niche sites are pre-tested before I build them, meaning I ensure I always focus on products which should sell quite well, so out of 10 sites I put up, a significant number will generate a ROI within weeks, if not months...

    Hope it helps...

  3. Thanks for this post Lynn. Learn a lot from it. I do agree that long tail keywords are easier to rank for than short one. But I never before think that it also going to increase conversion (I put more emphasize on organic traffic). I think I need to explore more about it.

    Once again thanks for this post. I love case study, it easier to understand.
    Okto recently posted..How to Get Traffic from FacebookMy Profile

    • Definitely - the more specific the search phrase, the better it will convert. Why? Because those people know exactly what they're looking for, so they're closer to taking action on it. More general keyword phrases require educating the market on the problem and the solution in more detail, and more convincing that the time is right.

      Consider the difference between the two people doing these searches:

      - smoothies
      - best appliance for making smoothies

      That second search query tells you that they are ready to make a purchase. All you have to do is tell them what they want to know (which is best, and why) and show them where to get it!
      Lynn Terry recently posted..Confused About Internet Marketing Strategies?My Profile

    • Otko, I felt such a moment of freedom with Lynn's guidance on keywords. I used to absolutely dread keyword research because I was always afraid to focus on the wrong stuff first. This is really an awesome tutorial!
      Vera Raposo recently posted..Lifestyle & Biz By Design: Mailing List Homework, Keywords & More AdjustmentsMy Profile

  4. Nice post Lynn! It's been a long time since I've found useful information about writing a niche blog. I especially like the part - Adding a BUY to your niche to find people who are willing to buy.

    Thanks for the great tips!
    Smart Children recently posted..Handling Children In SchoolMy Profile

  5. Hi

    Love hearing that someone is making money doing this, thanks John Gibb.
    I have been having so much fun checking out keywords and other ways to search them.

    I have been following Vera's site go through its changes. So good to go through this with someone else.

    I have finally started spending more time setting up my WordPress site instead of working on my Blogger blogs. Unfortunately or fortunately I still have to spend most of my time working my eBay to put the food in my mouth.

    I live in a small town in AZ that grows to the 3rd largest town in AZ during the winter. They are mainly RVers so I have been working on a site for them. I have found several businesses for RVers that have affiliate programs. Our town also turns into a huge flea market, rock show, RV show & sales and much more so there is lots to write about. So I think my site will be successful. Just need to get the work done.

    I also have lots of other ideas that I have made files for with keywords so this article really helps how to build them up more.

    Thanks
    Lois

  6. Another helpful post Lynn. You really brought home the need for proper keyword targetting.

    This article prompted me to revisit my first ever affiliate site. I looked at some of the post titles, which I selected without keyword research... and cringed.

    Is it worth redoing these old posts with new titles, and if I do, what happens to the original posts?

    Cheers, Leon
    Leon recently posted..Stop Panic Attacks And End Anxious ThoughtsMy Profile

    • Hi Leon,

      This is something we work on almost daily in my private brainstorming group. I taught a detailed session on this which is recorded there - and I'll be doing a longer, more detailed series on it soon, so stay tuned for news on that! ;-)

      To answer your question - yes. It makes sense to "tweak" content you've already written vs writing new content, as that takes much less time. Particularly if it's great content that solves a problem or offers a solution, and has a strong call to action. Start with those posts in your archives that are "money posts" or that will bring in shares & subscribers.

      One point of caution though: you don't want to edit the permalink (the URL) of published posts. This will break links pointing to it, and links you have in the search results. If you DO change the permalink, you'll want to create a permanent redirect from the original URL to the new one.

      But yes, change the titles, even edit the post itself if you need to include wording, add a call to action, etc. The goal is to get more traffic and make more sales (or get more subscribers -whatever your specific objective). Your archives are a goldmine! ;-)
      Lynn Terry recently posted..The Truth About SEO In 2013My Profile

  7. When are you teaching the keywords class?
    Alyssa recently posted..Social Media and the Virtual AssistantMy Profile

  8. Dawn Stegall says:

    Lynn, I recently found my way back to this site and have been thoroughly enjoying the case study with Vera. Is this it? Is there more? I'm in a transition phase and getting ready to start my first niche affiliate site. (previously eCommerce with physical products)

    This series has been wonderful as at times I feel I'm doing some things right and other times I think "oh, I need some feedback/brainstorming/thoughts pulled out of me! Based on your comments, your mastermind group does this (from a complete blank slate)?

  9. Hi,

    Targeting and ranking for a keyword is most important for SEO purpose. By targeting, we make our ranking towards some words than the whole big title of the article. These keyword can be the people user query which comes to the search engine by the web surfers.
    Shathyan Raja recently posted..Instant Business Success with Keyword SearchMy Profile

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