Has your blog or site been #1 in google? What keywords do you rank well for in SERP’s? Where your site stands today helps plan better search placement tomorrow!

This post is part of the Tracking Your Blog’s Progress series!

I came across a situation the other day where I was checking various keywords and how I ranked for them and I found that for one phrase I came up #1 on google:

#1 google top spot keywords bans setup

I saw this a couple weeks ago – and at the time the page (I came up #1 for) was maybe 24 hours old. The fact that I made #1 for the keywords ‘bans setup’ is no big thing, that keyword combination gets very minimal search results anyway. What IS IMPORTANT is that I knew enough to check the status of my site in SERP’s in the first place.

If you’ve been reading my site lately you’ll see that the majority of the posts I’ve been writing all tie in together nicely. Like the last article in this series 5 Key Google Analytics talked about watching your traffic sources. I meant you should look for keywords and phrases that bring visitors to your site in search. My Keyword Research Cheat Sheet tells you how to find relevant keywords for your site. You want to combine these two activities a bit to not only make sure your keyword research is paying off, but also to build on strengths your site already has.

What Keywords Work Now

Unless your site is brand new, you are already getting some organic search engine traffic. Any decent web site statistics should give you the top keyword phrases people use as search keywords to find you. You could get these in google analytics, but I also like to watch my keywords in wordpress stats because you quickly see keywords from today and yesterday that were used. You might not like what you see here, or you might be surprised by the results. In any event, the results you get are one indicator of blog progress you need to take note of.

wordpress stats search keyword terms

The search terms in the image above were taken from one of my tech sites in my WordPress dashboard using the WordPress stats plugin. That site has a wide variety of posts centering around gadgets, computer and techie type stuff. I was kind of surprised that these were the top keywords in the last 30 days, becuase these are the keyword that seem to be working for this site now. Then I decided to look at the top content in google analytics:

top 10 google analytics urls example

The top 10 pages in this site pretty much matches the top 10 keywords table. Also, on this site search engines account for 80% of the traffic. I was glad these keyword are working (at least something is), but “why” are they the top ones? Why are ‘unbuntu’ keyword phrases most used in searches to my site? Good question. I head to the homepage see what keywords I was using and lo and behold there is no meta description tag at all. Wow. I looked at a lot of other pages and it turns out that every page on my site has no meta description tag. That explains why so many posts I would have thought would be in the top 10 weren’t. It turns out the wpSEO (WordPress SEO) plugin I’m using didn’t have description turned on (big mistake on my part!). So I fixed it, turned them back on – and now turn my attention back to the keywords. The reason I want you to find out what keywords work on your blog is so you can build on them and their success (if possible), and to find out how much more keyword research you need to do to bring your blog or web site up to the level of success you desire.

Now I take my top keyword phrase “ubuntu firefox flash” and pop it in google to find out I’m the #1 result. I begin to check out the other ones like flash plugin for ubuntu (#1), firefox flash ubuntu (#1), ubuntu flash plugin (#3), and a few more and I’m #1 for all but one keyword set. It’s understandable why that one page got 17% of all my traffic in the last month.

Interpreting Keyword Data

So now to decide what to do with the information I just researched. Based on what I’ve learned I have some action items to take care of:

  • The firefox flash page is a resource now, maybe I should feature it on the home page (with some other posts that were popular)
  • Append the article with my best related posts and write a little about each in a synopsis paragraph at the end of this post
  • Write more more ubuntu help articles to tie into this existing traffic
  • look for other ways to monetize this page if possible
  • work on specific “keyword campaigns” to build new high traffic pages for my top 10 spots

I’m more worried about that last point than all the others. While it would be nice to get some more traffic related to “ubuntu”, I’ve written a few gadget reviews and posts lately on that site that didn’t place in the top 10 at all. Having no descriptions on the pages didn’t help either, but now that’s fixed. I’m going to perform a few searches for keywords related to my last few posts to find out where I rank with those. For the keywords “wireless bluetooth usb” I’m on the first page in google. Not bad considering I’m competing with engadget, amazon, and geeks.com for top spots. The next one is “wireless hard drive review” where I come in #3. Wow, not bad out of 400,000 results. The next one is “ip cameras guide” and I’m #1 in google for that. Last with “network storage drives” I’m #1 on the second SERP. Based on these results alone I’m doing a great job at SEO. Based on my top URL’s and search terms these awesome google SERP pages aren’t working well at all.

Connecting the Keyword Dots

You can probably already see the handwriting on the wall. I went to Trellian’s free keyword discovery tool and typed in the keyword phrases I ranked well for in SERP’s and just take a look at what I found:

wireless bluetooth usb – 15 searches per month
wireless hard drive review – 0 searches per month
ip cameras guide – 0 searches per month
network storage drives – 0 searches per month

Ouch! I wrote some great articles that nobody will every read! Granted these posts have been read by many people from my existing traffic – but none of the four pages are getting any google traffic at all! I want YOU to LEARN from MY mistake! I came up with some good posts and (what I thought were) killer keyword combinations. I failed to take the time to come up with relevant keyword phrases for my posts that actually get lots of search traffic!

I’m trying to get you to think about every page and every post you write like an advertisement. Be sure to take the time to write relevant original content for your blog, but the title heading and first few sentences are like a classified advertisement in a newspaper. It needs to be catchy enough to make people want to read it, BUT if it’s not in the right category nobody will find it. Few if anyone will find your advertisement for a used car in the pets section. The heading and title keywords you use are that kind of categorization for google – much like the card index at your local library. If you want to get the most traffic for your blog you have to do a little research before you hit “publish”. I already told you how to make your previous posts profitable, and what I’m about to tell you will not only help with that effort, but you should be doing this for every single new post or page you create – if you want to maximize your efforts and drive more traffic to your site.

Beyond Linkbait: Creating High Traffic Posts

Crafting a good title and description laden with quality linkbait is one thing, but as I pointed out if nobody sees it – your time was wasted. I’m going to rework one of those failed pages right now to show you how to create a better title that will not only entice people to click but draw more traffic. There are many ways to do this with many tools, but right now my preference is the free keyword discovery tool at Trellian I spoke of earlier.

I’m going to rework this page. As you can see I’m #1 for the phrase “network storage drives” in google.

google result for network storage devices

external hard drive keywords Using the keyword discovery tool I enter some related search terms that come to mind like “external hard drive”. It turns out that keyword phrase gets 13,335 searches per month. That’s a lot better than ZERO! I do some more searches and get network attached storage (714), network storage (623), storage area network (600) and network storage solution (65). I decided that the best term to target on this page is “network storage” so I changed the title, description, and key areas of the page to feature this keyword phrase. I’ll see in the coming weeks how well this actually worked to get search engine traffic to this page.

What you Should Now Do

Based on this article you should now:

  1. Check your web site stats to see what keywords are working for you
  2. Determine if you are successful or need new keyword campaigns to work on
  3. Search for your top 10 keywords in google SERP’s to see where you rank
  4. Search for keyword YOU WANT TO rank for in google SERP’s and see IF you rank
  5. Find keyword phrases that get LOTS of searches per month
  6. Write new posts (and rework old ones) to use THOSE keywords to bring maximum traffic!

Once you’ve tried this plan, please come back here and comment on whether you were successful or not!