Often when people talk about SEO, one of the main things they talk about are keywords.
First off, what the heck are they? In order to understand keywords, you need to think backwards. You need to think like a consumer, and not like a blogger for a moment.
When I’m researching online for a new recipe for my cooking blog, I don’t do a search for waffleking.com (is there even such a thing?? And if so, do they have waffle recipes??). I put into google “waffles” or “waffle recipe.” If I’m looking for something really specific, I’ll use “overnight yeasted waffle” or “buttermilk waffles.” The “recipe” part may or may not be implied–and usually Google is smart enough to figure that out.
The science of keywords and SEO is figuring out which keywords people will use that lead to your blog or individual posts on your blog. Next week, we’ll use a tool called Google Keywords Tool to get to level two of this discussion, but today, we’re going to look at what you can learn from your own blog about keywords.
If you have Google Analytics installed on your blog, you can use that for this exercise, but ideally, you want to use your blog’s own built-in analytics (this is because Google is not giving up keywords easily these days).
If you are on WordPress, as I am, you should install Jetpack’s Site Stats. It’s basically exactly the same tool as what you get with a WP-hosted blog. You’ll find this information under Dashboard–>Jetpack–>Site stats if you are on a self-hosted WordPress blog, or under Dashboard–>Site Stats if you are WordPress hosted.
When you arrive at that page, you’ll see a graph of your daily visits. But below that, there are four boxes: referrers, top posts and pages, search engine terms, and clicks.
Today, we’re going to have a look at search engine terms. Click on the hyperlinked “summaries” option in the upper right-hand corner of that box.
Now, WordPress gives you the option to look at your search engine terms over time. The last 7 days is not very useful information. We’re interested in getting a much bigger-picture idea of how people end up on our blogs, so use either “quarter,” “year,” or “all time.”
Now, it’s time to put your detective hat on! Can you recognize any trends in the top keyword searches?
In this case, 6 out of these top 14 keyword searches are being driven by a few posts on my blog–those to do with Criollo Liqueur.
Why? If I were to guess, it’s because it’s a relatively new product on the market, and there aren’t a lot of other blogs that have recipes on them using that kind of liqueur.
Now what can I do with this information?
1. Make sure the posts in question are keyword optimized. Your first job is to go back to the posts that were the ones that people found on your site by entering in those top keywords. Make sure that those keywords are in your “tags” section. If they aren’t, add them.
2. Write more blog posts that riff on those keywords. I did a blog post that was a martini recipe using that liqueur, and a quince tarte tatin. In an ideal world, I’d want to make more recipes that included those ingredients, and therefore, included those keywords. Perhaps another cocktail recipe, because that seems to be something that drives traffic to my blog.
There are other ways to use keywords in your blog, as well, but I’ll cover those in future posts!