In the end, keyword research has nothing to do with SEO. It goes way deeper than that …
Will anyone actually read the online content you create? It’s a terrifying question, but an important one.
If you’re committed to building a popular and profitable media property, you’ll have to write, read, and talk about your topic almost every day for the next several years. You’ll invest thousands of hours, quite literally gambling with your time.
The question is, how will you approach it? Will you start writing and hope someone notices you?
Or will you carefully research your niche, looking for the precise angle and language that will make your content irresistible?
In this 11-minute episode you’ll discover the answer to those questions. Plus:
- The simple, everyday secret to good online writing
- Advice from a copywriting legend about keyword research
- The surprising reason it wouldn’t be so great to rank for keywords like beer, Katy Perry, or trumpets
- What the ideal audience keyword looks like
- Demian’s humble apology to anyone named Gasper Hicks
- How to join the campaign to change the phrase “keyword research” to something more sexy
- Why you should focus on rare search terms
Listen to Rough Draft below ...
The Show Notes
- Keyword Research: A Comprehensive Guide
- Breakthrough Advertising
- How to Do Keyword Research
- Authority Rainmaker
Keywords: Your Love Affair With the Language Your Audience Uses
Demian Farnworth Hi, welcome to Rough Draft, your daily dose of essential web writing advice. I’m your host, Demian Farnworth, Chief Content Writer for Copyblogger Media. And thank you for sharing the next four minutes of your life with me.
This is episode five and it’s called “Keywords: The Love Affair With User Language.” It’s brought to you by Authority Rainmaker, a carefully designed live educational experience that presents a complete and effective online marketing strategy to help you immediately accelerate your business.
This live event will be held in May this year, in beautiful Denver, Colorado at the stunning Ellie Caulkins Opera House.
The lineup of speakers is equally as stunning. We’ve got author Dan Pink, punk legend Henry Rollins, fascination aficionado Sally Hogshead, the omnipresent Chris Brogan, Sean D’Souza, Pamela Wilson, our very own Brian Clark, Sonia Simone, and Jerod Morris and, so on.
And not to forget the secret sauce of it all: building real-world relationships with other attendees. Get all the details right now at rainmaker.fm/event, and we look forward to seeing you in Denver, Colorado this May. That’s rainmaker.fm/event.
How to Join the Campaign to Change the Phrase “Keyword Research” to Something More Sexy
Now let me just confess: every time I hear the phrase “Keyword research” I want to stick a fork in my eye. What such a dry, boring phrase. Who wants to spend their time researching keywords?
It’s unfortunate that what I find a very fascinating discipline has such a dull name. It’s like meeting the most interesting person in the world and find out there name is Gasper Hicks.
My sincere apologies to every single on of you out there named Gasper Hicks.
So maybe what I’ll do is create a campaign to change the name of keyword research … In fact, give me a holler in the comments if you have any suggestions.
What the Ideal User Keyword Looks Like
Keyword research is a fundamental part of online marketing, and is especially relevant for freelance writers, online publishers, and bloggers.
Search engines love to crawl and index content and deliver good, original, relevant content to search users — so the way to get there — your first concern is to use the words your ideal reader are actually interested in and actively searching for … that will lead to good traffic for your site. Google will send good traffic to your site.
But the value of keywords goes well beyond SEO copywriting. In fact, close your eyes for a moment and imagine a world where search engines don’t deliver traffic at all.
Would keyword research still be valuable?
The answer is yes. And the reason is keyword research, at its essence, is market research. It tells you what people are interested in, and in what relative numbers. Better yet, it reveals the actual language people are using when they think about those topics, which provides you with insight on how to talk to them on your blog or website, because in the end good writing is really a conversation between you and the reader.
That information is worth its weight in gold.
Advice From a Copywriting Legend About Keyword Search
Long before the internet. Long before computers. Copywriters understood the value of keyword research … they understood the value of market research.
Eugene Schwartz said, “One hour a day, read. Read everything in the world except your business. Read junk. Very much junk. Read so that anything that interests you will stick in your memory. Just read, just read, just read… There is your audience. There is the language. There are the words that they use.”
And that is what you after: the words they use.
At the deepest level, keyword research has nothing to do with SEO. It’s about knowing your audience so well that you learn which words will grab their attention, earn their trust, and persuade them to subscribe to your newsletter, download your book, buy your product.
Why You Should Focus on Rare Search Terms
When it comes to keywords, here’s the mistake that we make. We obsess about those high ranking keywords. A single word or short phrase that gets 15,000 searches a day. Beer. Trumpets. Katy Perry.
Wouldn’t that be glorious to rank for those terms. Imagine the fame.
Well, to be honest, there are a number of reasons it wouldn’t be great.
Those won’t work. The mindset of someone who searches for beer, Katy Perry, trumpets. The inquisitive stage. If however, the search term was “Where to buy Katy Perry B sides in Manhattan” … has a very specific motive in mind.
For another, those top ranking terms only make up about 30% of the market.
Think of a graph. You have your vertical (number of monthly searches) axis and then your horizontal (number of keywords) axis. Top one hundred keywords would be in the millions of searches. As the graph moves to the right, it slopes down as the top 500 get fewer searches and the top one thousand even fewer, until you are in the keywords that get a thousand, maybe a hundred, more like 10 searches a day.
The other 70 percent are tied up in what we call long tail searches. And it’s these long tail searches that will get you BETTER traffic.
“In order to know which keywords to target, it’s essential to not only understand the demand for a given term or phrase, but also the work required to achieve high rankings. If big brands take the top 10 results and you’re just starting out on the web, the uphill battle for rankings can take years of effort. This is why it’s essential to understand keyword competition.”
But it’s those rare searches that will convert better. They will lead to more subscribers, more downloads, more sales because you match content with precise user intent. You are using their language.
“Books on how to become a better writer” is going to outperform on the simple term “writing better.” The latter is pre-research phase. The former is interested in buying.
The Simple, Everyday Secret to Good Online Writing
Let me close with this: Will anyone read the online content you produce?
It’s a terrifying question, but an important one. If you’re committed to building a popular and profitable site, you’ll have to write, read, and talk about your topic almost every day for the next several years. You’ll invest thousands of hours, quite literally gambling with your time.
The question is, how will you approach it? Will you start writing and hope someone notices you? Or will you carefully research your niche, looking for the precise angle and language that will make your content irresistible?
I recommend the latter.
It’s never possible to know for sure whether people will like your content before you create it, but keyword research lowers your risk. You can see how many people are searching for your topic in the search engines, and you can use it to compare different topics to each other and gauge their popularity.
In future I want to talk about links, and the value search engines give them, but first I want to continue this thread about content that uses the language of your audience — and we will also talk about keyword research tools you should use. Because if you write to humans, you will write to search engines.
And before I let you go I need to ask you a quick favor. Please jump over to iTunes and give this show a rating, a review, leave a comment. It would mean a lot to me.
Vicki Fisher says
I loved loved the audio …especially the part about ‘keywords’. How about ‘surfwords’ instead of keywords. 🙂 Everyone would be looking for next big ‘wave’ 🙂 #justathought
Demian Farnworth says
Vicki, I LOVE that idea. When do we start campaigning? I think we need t-shirts … 😀
Great, basic information, well presented!
Demian Farnworth says
Thank you, Patrice, so glad you are listening!
Jeff Krimmel says
Very nicely done, Demian. Your passion is apparent and engaging. Thanks for sharing with us.