Your target audience may not even know your blog exists. Many bloggers stuff their posts with “key words” thinking this will help steer that audience toward their blog. Most blog readers, however, neither know nor care about key words. They care about whatever specific issue or problem led them to type a phrase into Google’s big search box. In other words, they aren’t looking for “key words” — they’re looking for answers. Solutions. Results.
In order for bloggers to guide readers to their blogs, they must stop thinking like a blogger and think like a typical reader — and there’s often a big difference. How can we know how readers think? Good question! Here are some ways to mind meld with a typical reader:
Monitor your site’s search strings.
I wrote a post recently titled, “Five Things Your Mother Never Told You about Twitter.” It’s basically a lesson for online marketers with tips on implementing Twitter into their social media marketing strategy. But, when I looked up my search strings (located under Webalizer in your domain’s cPanel), one of the listings was “Twitter uses mothers.” Some mom was out there, possibly with a sticky-faced two-year-old on her lap, wondering what good is Twitter to her (problem or issue). When she typed in those three little words — viola! There I am on PAGE ONE of Google (solution). And she went to my site — otherwise, the search wouldn’t have shown up in my results.
Look beyond Geeky SEO Master sites.
There are dozens if not hundreds of sites for bloggers to analyze which key words to use in order to reach their niche market. These are excellent tools, and many, such as Google’s Keyword Tool, are free. But — the problem with some of these sites is that they’re designed for use by, well, Geeks. There, I said it. Now, I’m 71 percent Geek, (Seriously. I took a test.), but normal people, the mom & pops of the world, think like consumers — not marketers. And marketers who can think like a consumer will become very, very successful.
So, let’s go shopping (consuming). When you get to the home page of Shopping.com (you didn’t think we were going to Wal-Mart did you?), you’ll see a lot of fun things. Holiday decorations, cell phones, espresso makers, laptops, shoes — you name it, Shopping.com has it. Now, scroll down past the fun stuff. Way down to the bottom to those little rows of tiny gray type just above the copyright symbol. Find the “Top Searches” link. Click it.
Here’s the cool part. Suppose your blog is about pets. There are tons of pet blogs, and pet owners are a passionate group. (I’m willing to buy almost anything if it’ll make Miss I’m-too-cute-and-adorable-to-potty-outside stop pawing my leg and go play somewhere else while I’m trying to write.) Lots of blogs makes it easy to get lost in the crowd. Click on “Pets” in the long list of Shopping.com’s categories. This list gets more specific. These are actual searches (those search strings I mentioned earlier) from Shopping.com’s stats. It’s crazy that they even post it online, but since they do, make good use of it.
You can see the information (results) pet owners are seeking by browsing this list. And, when you fill out your SEO key words field (see this post for explanation), including specific phrases, such as “electric pet nail file” or “peticure” (Peticure? You’ve got to be kidding me!), or “kitty washroom” (I told you pet owners will buy anything!) will tie your blog into your readers much more than a broad phrase such as “pet owner tips.” (Note: “Pet Owner Tips” yielded just over 1.2 million results on Google, whereas “Peticure” offered 27,000 sites.
You can browse through those results to niche down your post topic. No one wants to hurt Fluffy while they’re trimming her toenails, so if you include the phrase “Peticure safety” in your key word field, that’ll get you deeper into your reader’s mind. When I typed “peticure safety” (in quotes), only 180 sites displayed. That’s MUCH easier to compete with than 1.2 million. Yes, your post will be about tips for pet owners, but more specifically, it’ll be about using a particular product for a particular purpose (Problem – Solution).
It’s important to note that readers who typed in these search strings were poised to purchase, otherwise, they wouldn’t have visited a shopping site. Most people who browse the Internet with a specific question not only want an answer, they want it NOW. So, if you have a product or service for immediate sale on your site (such as an ebook: How to Use Peticure Products Safely), there’s a good chance by thinking like a reader that you can convert that reader into a customer.
One more big tip for Ranking Well (i.e. — getting your reader’s attention)
Use video. It’s not that hard to create a YouTube video. We know video is fun & engaging, but when you’re competing in a huge market, such as our previous “pets” example, your blog’s posts won’t likely make it to the front page of Google. However, video, (especially YouTube since it gets preferential treatment from its big brother Google and are often indexed within TWO HOURS), often gets posted at the top of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Have someone video you using the Peticure toe-trimming tool and discuss safety tips while you’re clipping Fluffy’s nails. Upload the piece to YouTube, and embed it into your blog post, labeling your SEO fields like we mentioned earlier.
Because fewer people create video promos, there is less competition and you can often rank well and, therefore, get noticed quicker. Besides, people (i.e. your readers) love video. (Hint: Add a bit of humor and you’ll get tons of hits, too.) Your blog may not be about tips for pet owners, but apply these principles to your niche and see how well your post ranks. Please share your results in the forums or comments section.
Until next time,