We've been talking this week about managing content to attract search engine traffic. In its simplest form, this is an easy concept. You figure out what someone who might be looking for your post would enter into the search engines to find that information - then you use that search term in the title of your post and in the body of your post.
But how do you know what your potential readers are REALLY searching for?
If you've been blogging for awhile, check your stats, and find out what search terms have been successful for you in the past, then build on that. If you're new, or if you're starting a new blogging topic, you'll have to be more creative.
Luckily the search engines are happy to help you out with this. If you'll go to Google, for example, and start entering your topic, Google will make suggestions in drop-down menu form, based on the most popular searches on that topic.
You can also use the social networks. If you go to search.twitter.com, and enter your topic, you'll see tweets on that topic, and you'll get an idea of the vocabulary the "twitterverse" is using when talking about that topic. That might give you some ideas. Also, if you go to Facebook, or Ning, and do a search for your topic, there may be pages or groups formed around your topic, and this will also give you a better idea of the exact search terms people are likely to be using when discussing your topic.
There are software programs that can be used to suggest keywords for you, but in my opinion, they are a "lazy" and ineffective way to go about this process for most webmasters who actually want to build relationships with their readers. You'll never really get inside the heads of your readers, because the software packages are saving you the time of having to do that. Also, unless you're trying to attract website traffic in the hundreds of thousands (to attract enough random visitors to build ad revenue), you'll probably be spending money on something that you could fairly easily do yourself for free.
What are your ideas for more effectively using keywords in your writing?
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking.