Keywords SEO optimization is the basic knowledge you have to solve if you want to be visible on search engines.
You’ll find a tremendous amount of resources when it comes to using keywords for search engine optimization. In this website alone, I’ve written a number of articles on this topic.
In spite of these, there seems to be a lot of confusion with regard to keywords SEO optimization. The common belief is that to get ranked by search engines, and consequently, spur visitor traffic, you have to master your keywords alone. This is not totally true.
My advice to beginners in this affiliate operation is not to immediately equate keywords SEO optimization use with rank because that would be oversimplifying it.
The truth is your search engine does not use ‘keywords’ as SOLE indicators of ranking. Apart from the presence of keywords in your content, there are other considerations for ranking such as the overall quality of your content and real website traffic.
This is why I decided to come up with this easy ‘Dos & Don’ts’ list to guide you, especially to those who are just starting out. I’ll be using actual examples to demonstrate each of my points, so that, hopefully, you’ll be able to understand them better and apply them with considerable results.
So, let’s get this show on the road!
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Keywords SEO optimization – some helpful dos and don'ts
DON’T: Do not take the results ‘literally.’
DO: Contextualize results from your keyword tool.
A keywords SEO optimization tool is just that, a tool. It does not necessarily mean that because you use this tool and follow what it’s telling you to the letter, you will be assured of excellent ranking.
Let’s debunk this now, shall we?
As I pointed out earlier, the statistics provided by your keyword tool only serve as guides for your content writing. Do not accept the implications as absolute bases for what to write, what not, and how to construct your article.
Here’s the truth. Your search engine evaluates your post in its entirety, not just through your keywords but also the authenticity of your content, real traffic, and many such factors, to match it with the right user.
So, if you’re not using a keywords SEO optimization tool, but focusing on producing compelling articles instead, you’re not doomed! You will still have an excellent chance of being ranked and profiting from it.
I hope I’ve driven that point well enough because I’m now going to show you actual examples.
Your keyword tool will show you statistical results such as the following:
coffee ketogenic diet 115 30 30 Great 96 .com.net.org
coffee keto diet 240 52 42 Great 95 .com.net.org
coffee diet weight loss 122 32 48 Great 97 .com.net.org
decaf coffee beans diet 97 5 4 Great 98 .com.net.org
In this example, you will see ‘coffee diet weight loss on the third line with a medium traffic volume (122) vis-à-vis competition at a low (48) and think that this is your keyword. Hang on. Let’s figure first if this will make sense when you craft the title.
Do you actually think using ‘coffee diet weight loss’ would make a reasonable and compelling title? First of all, I’ve not heard of a coffee diet.
The purpose of utilizing a keywords SEO optimization tool is so that we would have references regarding content composition for our affiliate website. The results do not necessarily dictate the exact words to use.
We still need to qualify the results vis-à-vis human logic and scale of interest. The statistics will also let us know what words would figure low in rank so that we are able to reformat our keywords accordingly.
The keywords probably turn up because people were interested in knowing whether drinking coffee is compatible with losing those extra pounds. That is the intention and that is what the search engines were targeting, hence, the results.
So, to further qualify these numbers, you further research using the phrase that focuses on the intention of the search and type this instead, ‘drink coffee, lose weight.’ You’ll find that the results are similar as well as the traffic turnout. In this case, you’ve now confirmed this and can then craft an article addressing this particular intention.
In other words, you must figure out the intent first before deciding on your keywords SEO optimization more reasonably, and in this instance, we can adopt the title as follows: ‘Does coffee make you lose weight?’
Doesn’t this title sound much better than all the other phrases that appeared on the search results? Definitely. Knowing the intent gets you going now with how to fill your post with useful advice on losing weight not just with coffee but on what coffee combinations actually work as well.
Also, you can target other words that appeared on the search results to broaden the scope of your article because you know that your target audience are those who are into losing weight, which implies numerous other options in terms of the effects of coffee to your health.
With this in mind, you’ve opened a world of content options with regard to how caffeine affects your body metabolism, what the myths are to debunk regarding coffee drinking vis-à-vis weight loss, organic coffee drinking, calorie counting with coffee drinks, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. It’s all up to how creative you can get with your content.
Let’s say you want to continue on your research because of some results that intrigued you and you want to clarify if it has some bearing on your potential keyword. You can then type similar searches for the same intent but varying the use of words. These will generate more results that will aid you in your decision-making.
Now that you’ve got your keywords SEO optimization, analyze your competition through the search engine results pages (SEPR).
For instance, we can further compare results if we type our keyword, ‘Does coffee make you lose weight’ and that of the competition such as ‘Lose weight and take coffee.’
We discover that each of these generated different search results so then we ask ourselves whether we want to stick with the original keyword or explore the other perspective.
In this crossroad, I advise that you compare which of the keywords are used mostly by existing sites. Check out the websites as well if they are already established domains or not. If these are, stay away from that keywords SEO optimization and opt for one that is not often used but still get considerable rank and traffic.
DON’T: Avoid using similar keywords.
DO: Focus on the intent and come up with distinct keywords.
When I first started out, I made the mistake of using almost the same keywords. In fact, I decided to push further by developing many sites based on the same keywords.
There was a time that I managed more than 50 domains that adopt almost the same keywords. It briefly ranked but after the change of my browser’s algorithm, my affiliate websites bottomed out and I wasn’t able to pick up the pieces since then.
Unfortunately, I still did not wise up and applied the same strategy in my next website. In fact, I’ve churned out a lot of content using these same keywords and subcontracted my content production.
I would produce a blog that says something similar like this, how to compose excellent titles for your article, and then produce a succeeding article that says, what make up excellent titles for your blog.
Of course, the titles never did very well in ranking and I’ve not also come across a ranking for both of my keywords. Now, I’ve learned this lesson well and choose my keywords wisely.
So, to illustrate, here are some examples:
Keyword Avg Traffic QSR KQI SEO Domains
train cat poop 30 6 5 Great 87 .com.net.org
train your cat poop 38 8 18 Great 90 .com.net.org
train your cat to poop 38 8 75 Great 87 .com.net.org
Looking at the above keywords, you can tell that there are variations. However, the traffic and other results turn up close to each other despite the differences. You’ll discover that the scores in QSR (competition score) reveal a huge disparity.
So, based on that, you’ll think that the best keyword is the one with the lowest competition score which is, ‘train cat poop.’ There must be something that you’ve missed because this keywords SEO optimization does not even appear correctly phrased, which is not the actual practice.
Another point is that there is such a thing as the ‘auto-correct’ feature so no matter how you key in the wrong phrase, Google will consider the phrase the same as if it were grammatically correct. So, let’s put that explanation aside then and ask instead, ‘what else could account for this disparity then?’ Keep digging. Here’s another example:
Keyword Avg Traffic QSR KQI SEO Domains
what’s the best car deal 37 7 1 Great 88 .com.net.org
best car deal 37 7 73 Great 87 .com.net.org
As you can tell, these are almost the same keywords vis-à-vis the search intent. You’ll notice, though, that the QSR has a huge disparity again, 1 vs 73.
You would expect that because the keywords are almost the same that these would garner the same QSR score or competition score. In this case, the one with the bigger figure is your competition.
In my several years of operation in this affiliate marketing business, I no longer mind these scores as much as I did because my goal is to build lasting authority in my niche. For newbies, though, this facet is vital in getting ranked and increasing visitor traffic.
In our example, it would almost be illogical to have only 1 for the competing keyword. So, if you were to consider competition, I’d say it would be ‘the best car deal’ is it.
That said, what’s the most suitable title then? As I mentioned, look for the intention and let it guide your decisions.
As beginners, do not use the broad title, ‘cheapest car brand.’ Instead, you may opt for a more specific one using the same keywords such as, ‘What’s the best car deal in North America?’
My emphasis is that if you encounter this situation in your research, do not treat them as differentiated keywords, rather pluck out the objectives behind them. If one search objective is different from the other, although the keywords are the same, then you’ve probably got two markets to target and much more content to write.
If you find that the objectives of the search are the same, then choose the one that commands more authority or drives more traffic or go with the one with the less competition. It depends of what is your priority.
DON’T: Do not use the keywords: ‘buy’ and ‘cheap,’
DO: Strive for rich intent-centered keywords.
By now, we shall have already decided to go beyond what keywords SEO optimization tool statistics seem to convey. Instead, we know that there is more to discover beyond the numbers and that we have to cross-reference these with reason, logic, and actual search experience.
Also, we’ve determined that uncovering the user’s intent is what our goal should be when we do keyword research. Once we unravel the intent, we can then better understand the statistics and make a wiser decision based on it.
This is exactly why I’m advising you to stay away from keywords such as, ‘buy’ and ‘cheap.’ Based on experience, you will be given some illogical results by your keywords SEO optimization research tool, just like my previous example, and also, when someone types in these keywords, they are most likely in search of product lists or sites to buy, and not a 1,000-word article about it. This may mean that your content will not rank very well with these keywords.
DON’T: Don’t go for brand leveraging if you can help it.
DO: Choose content-rich keywords.
Brand leveraging is one of the ways to get your affiliate website on page 1 of Google. Why? It’s because there’s already recognition and equity associated with the brand and if you use this as part of your keywords SEO optimization, you are benefiting from the brand recall.
Newbies in the affiliate marketing business fall for this because their sole aim is rank and want to get that top spot in Google. Sure, this poses some benefits because of the web traffic that results from it.
However, just like the ‘buy’ and ‘cheap’ keywords, there is only so much content that you can construct. Beyond that, you’re apt to post a lot of fluffy content that not only jeopardizes your website authority, but also, with the Google algorithm upgrade that evaluates content more critically, your website will eventually lose rank and then what will you do?
My suggestion is still to choose keywords SEO optimization that will empower you to post authentic and valuable content to your targeted market. Choose one that will also open a rich plethora of subtopics to write about. This will give your affiliate website a longer lifespan and a longer ranking with Google.
If you still think of going for brand leveraging because you are very much into a certain brand, then pursue it by all means. Who knows? You may have so much content in mind that the market may find valuable in their product selection.
DON’T: Stay away from model number-specific product reviews.
DO: Keep it real and focus on how to help your customer.
I once conducted reviews of several product models. I thought of breaking down my content according to the specific model number so that I could post a lot of articles about the product. I knew that the 50 model numbers of the product have only very slight differences in feature, but I still pursued this line of thinking.
After a couple of years, I found out that these articles did not do well in ranking. Sure, there were spotty sales, but it did not even reach breakeven targets.
For instance, I reviewed ‘Product A Sound Amplifier with model number 45672.’ The rank results for it came out as ‘Product A Sound Amplifier Critique.’
Eventually, it did rank in very few spots and made sales, but it wasn’t a success and did not hit my expected targets.
So, my advice to those of you who find yourselves in the same situation is not to be too focused on rank or content just for the sake of it. Instead, think of how you can really help your market choose. Since it is a product review, your inherent purpose is to assist the customer make the right choice.
In this case, what I should have done is compare and contrast two similar models that probably have different price points. This way, my review would have more valuable content to the readers and eventually get ranked well. With rank comes traffic and traffic equals sales conversions. Targets reached and you shall have achieved a better purpose at the same time.
DON’T: Steer clear from general keywords.
DO: Be specific and value driven.
I’ve mentioned this point many times in my previous articles, so I won’t go into detail with regard to this advice.
What this means is that when you decide on your keywords SEO optimization, the more specific they are, the better your chances of getting highly ranked. Also, using a longtail phrase does not necessarily make it specific enough.
For example, ‘How to landscape your yard’ may be a five-word keyword but the first two words can actually be considered as one thought. Also, this is too broad that your chances of being search engine optimized is very low. There are just too many websites talking about yard landscaping that you’ll lose out of the well-established competition.
Unless you are very knowledgeable about the subject matter and aims to develop a brand for your website, I suggest you ask yourself first what value do you want to offer your market with this type of content and then center your keywords SEO optimization around it.
For example, if you wish to provide your audience with ideas to landscape their yard using largely available foliage and fig trees, use this unique proposition instead to dictate your keyword decision. Also, check out competing websites and see opportunities to get ranked based on what the figures tell you.
This said, you can instead opt for ‘Fig Trees and Foliage Landscaping’ and then develop your own YouTube video about how to do it. This way, your chances of getting ranked is higher.
Also, with this keyword phrase, you can compose a lot of potential valuable articles such as how to grow fig trees using organic fertilizer, DIY landscape basics with fig trees and foliage, how to fight bugs that ruin your foliage, or even do a product review of landscape implements.
DON’T: Eschew local keywords.
I haven’t figured how to resolve this problem about using local keywords and getting your affiliate website on a good spot in Google.
To find how to use these local keywords so that you get ranked well, I did some trial and error testing, but the results were not indicative.
Once, I searched for my local keyword phrase and landed on the third spot but when I slightly expanded the keywords SEO optimization, they did not even figure in Googles initial page. Instead, the ones that were ranked were Facebook and TripAdvisor. If you do figure this, let me know so I can add a ‘Do’ portion here for others to know.
Meantime, my suggestion in this case is to shun it and stick with the widely recognized and accepted keywords.
DO: Before you decide on your keyword, do a matrix.
For those of you who are quite good at compare and contrast tables, this is going to be your favorite tool. This technique in spotting the best keyword for you is based on determining the market segments to target in relation to your keyword so you get to see a wholistic picture.
The more differentiated your market, the more helpful this matrix will be because it provides different perspectives while uncovering varying intents to target.
For instance, when you focus on hair conditioner, you might want to do a matrix of the various hair types in terms of physical characteristics (e.g. thin, thick, curly, brittle) vis-à-vis the types of hair according to race (e.g. Asian, Caucasian, African American).
Your matrix will then look something like this:
Best hair conditioner for (thin, oily, Caucasian)
Best hair conditioner for (brittle, thick, curly African American)
Best hair conditioner for (thick, oily Caucasian)
With this type of matrix mapped out, you’ll easily figure the specificity of your keyword and determine where you can focus.
DO: Use longer keywords.
Speaking from experience, though pithy keywords SEO optimization may have less competition, I recommend that you use at least four words or more for your keywords because they get ranked better than those shorter ones.
My best explanation for this is related to my sixth point: the more specific, the better the ranking. Well, at least that is largely part of it. There is, of course, a part accounted by the competing websites as well.
Most less specific keywords which most probably have general scope are taken by huge sites and this will put a damper on your chances of landing on the top spots. Most likely, this situation will be for the rest of your website’s lifespan. If you get lucky, you can at least find a spot on the second page of Google.
So, unless you are fine with this possibility, go for the longtail, more specific, and less competitive keywords.
DO: Pick the keyword that does not show up in the stats.
Why not? If a keyword is not shown in the keywords SEO optimization tool statistics, it may mean that competition is just too negligible that there is so much room to shine!
If your niche is a popular one such as Healthy and Organic lifestyle topics which are huge trends these days, you’re sure to have tons of competition and not just a lot but a lot of those high-authority sites are on it. You may have Amazon, CNet, Wikipedia, or Forbes to compete with when you opt for a popular keyword. That would be bad news for your rank and traffic.
Surely, there are risks when you go this route but if, like me, your aim is to be an authority on your niche, this is a good place to start.
DO: Keep your eye on the authoritative websites in your niche.
One keywords SEO optimization research strategy that you can adopt is to check for those authoritative websites in relation to your niche. What kind of content are they usually using and then steer clear from those styles, unless you can effectively compete with them, which as a newbie, is highly unlikely.
For example, if you wish to focus on wood carving, you’ll see highly authoritative websites such as Pinterest, Wikipedia, the Met, and YouTube. Plus, they’re mostly image and video heavy. Unless you want to chase those kinds of content, you may want to expand your keyword, so that you are able steer clear of the competition and find your differentiated space.
DO: Evolve and keep learning keywords SEO optimization
Keep in mind that statistics change and so do ranking. Even if you enjoy excellent research results, these also do not assure you of good ranking nor of longevity.
So, keep on growing and learning through constant research.
Enroll in trainings or network with like-minded individuals to expand your reach. Do not rest on your laurels if you landed on top spots. Longevity and authority are built by persistence and hard work.