Editorial note: Believe it or not, I haven’t forgotten about this series or the DaedTech blog. I just let it all languish for like 6 months to prank you, dear reader. Gotcha!
In all seriousness, I realize I’ve created a bit of a ghost town. I’m hoping to remedy that, but it will have to happen on a pretty shoestring budget, in terms of time.
In my last post, I introduced you to the basics of keyword research. This included the essential pillars of difficulty, volume, and segmentation. You’ll need that backstory because today I’m going to build on those concepts to create an intermediate-level treatment of keyword research.
My aim here is for you to come away with a thorough understanding of how keywords relate to one another.
You’ll need that knowledge in order to start thinking of your site and your traffic holistically, rather than simply as a mish-mash of posts addressing a mish-mash of keywords (searcher questions).
More content today, in keeping with a cadence that one can only describe as “halting, at best.” But, in spite of my failings, on we go with the SEO for non-scumbags series.
Defining the Important Terms
Last time out, I introduced the idea of keywords, focusing on searcher psychology as the foundation. In this installment, I’m going to get more into the nitty-gritty of keyword selection.
But before doing that, let’s define some terms of art. And I mean really define them, rather than just saying that “difficulty” describes how hard it is to rank for a keyword.
I’m listing these concepts in order of ease of understanding, from easiest to hardest. So, let’s start with a softball in the form of keyword “volume.”
Keyword volume is simply the approximate number of times per month that somebody types this keyword into the search engine and examines the results.
I say approximate because none of the tools you’ll use will know the exact number. And, even if they did, they’d know historical numbers and, obviously, not be able to predict the future. As for why “per month” is the standard denominator convention for this, I must confess, dear reader, I do not rightfully know.
Mystery conventions and approximation aside, searches per month does give you a sense for the traffic potential to your site, should you write content targeting this keyword. (Recall from the last post, “targeting the keyword” really means answering the question that you deduce the searcher is asking with this keyword.)
As you brainstorm keywords, I definitely suggest tracking them and their stats with a spreadsheet. When you do this, you’ll acquire enough data to view the keyword volumes in relative terms which, I would argue, is more important than the actual number, per se. In other words, the value in recording keyword volume comes less form the actual number and more from having a sense of “high volume” and “low volume” keywords.
So far in this SEO for non-scumbags series (first post and index here), I’ve spent two posts making the case for SEO to a skeptical audience and laying some strategic groundwork. Now it’s time to talk specifics and move to the more tactical.
In this post I’m going to cover what I consider the most crucial aspect of SEO, but one that people largely ignore in favor of stats about keywords. I’m going to talk searcher psychology. Specifically, I’ll talk through which keywords you’d want to tackle and why.
What is a Keyword?
First, though, some housekeeping. The word “keyword” sees a lot of play in SEO circles, but what, exactly, do we mean by keyword?
That part is simple. A keyword is the term that someone types into the search engine (or URL bar) when executing a search.
Editorial Note: this post is part of my SEO for Non-Scumbags series, which I began here.
It might seem a bit aggressive or presumptuous to write off an entire discipline as tactical. But, I guess, here we are.
I’ve spent the last 4 years absolutely immersed in the world of SEO, largely with one simple goal in mind. I’ve wanted to make Hit Subscribe’s clients happy by bringing well qualified traffic to their websites.
My effort has done two things:
Exposed me to enough digital content about SEO that the electrons in it probably add up to a metric ton.
And during all of that time, I can’t recall ever seeing anything that actually rises to the level of strategy. The entire SEO world just seems to be a person blundering into a tactic that works through trial and error, doubling (tripling, hundred-ing) down on it and taking advantage of a brief arbitrage before the entire rest of the field rotely copies the tactic. Then, repeat.
Editorial note: hi folks! Thanks for your patience as I’ve been getting my life settled enough to start creating content again. We’ve done some hiring for a few roles, backfilling me, so I’m actually seeing a light at the end of the tunnel for creating DaedTech content.
Today I’m going to start a blog post series that fits into the broader “business of freelancing” category. But I’m going to give it a secondary tag, called “SEO for Non-Scumbags,” and spend some time in this post explaining why that title isn’t just me being flippant.
People have been asking me to talk more about marketing for freelancers. And I’ve been demurring, saying that you need a niche before you can meaningfully market yourself. But you don’t need a niche yet to learn about SEO and search traffic, so that you’re prepared to capitalize when you do identify your niche.
So let me teach you about that. In this post, I’ll talk about the scumbag way and the non-scumbag way to do SEO, so that you understand there’s a way to do it benignly. In the broader series, I’ll walk you through how to execute the non-scumbag playbook.