SEO Writing Tips: Keyword Ranking

If you are new to SEO writing, or are looking for a way to boost your online business, I have a million dollar tool for you. Imagine if you could travel back in time and snatch up desirable domain names, like Business.com, Loans.com, or Sex.com, before anyone knew they were valuable. You’d be a millionaire billionaire, right? Well, there are keywords out there that will be just as valuable in 20 years, we just don’t know what they are yet. That million dollar keyword could come from your website if you only knew how to market it properly and could accurately predict future consumer trends (or you could invest in a crystal ball and hope you get lucky).

Not interested in fame, just the fortune? Want a more realistic plan for online business success? You could concentrate on making the best of your website with SEO practices. The right keyword is a powerful tool. When carefully selected and put to work properly, it holds the potential to make your online business an instant success.

The Honeymoon’s Over

Selecting the perfect keyword phrase for your website is pretty anticlimactic. You sweat, cry and bleed over the keyboard for days, researching different keyword combinations. You finally find the perfect keyword for your niche with good search traffic, a decent PPC return, and a low page rank. You snatch it up, register a domain name, sit back, and scratch your head. Now what?

Well, lots of SEO blogs will tell you to run right out and hire an SEO writer to incorporate your new found treasure into your website before Google launches you out of the Sandbox. But the truth is, that may not be the first thing to do. In fact, your primary keyword phrase may not even show up on your website.

What You Talkin’ Bout Willis?

SEO experts have shown that it is possible to rank highly for a given keyword that rarely or never shows on your website. That means, in theory, you could select “Ice Cream Dream” as your primary keyword phrase for your Dairy Queen knock-off website, but not list it in your meta description, headers, domain name, or content, and still rank in the top ten for that phrase. How? Through inbound links.

Search engines currently place great value on anchor text. (That’s the blue text that is highlighted when a live link is displayed on a website.) With that in mind, imagine what would happen if you invested two hours a day sowing quality backlinks containing your primary keyword phrase as anchor text. Excited yet?

Have you ever gotten a comment on your blog that reads: Jamie Simmerman- SEO Writer, and wondered what the heck possessed that girl to post her name like that? Well, Ms. Simmerman is sowing her keyword phrase on your website to help boost her SERPs.

Now, before you feel used and offended, keep in mind that if someone is sowing backlinks on your website, they feel your website has something to offer them. You either have quality traffic, quality content, decent page ranking, or a heck of a lot of potential for them to invest their time in leaving a link. It’s a lot like putting a seal of approval on a website- they like you and think you’re cool enough to hang out with the popular kids at recess.

On Your Mark, Get Set…

So where the heck do you put all these lovely backlinks? You find websites that relate to your keyword and you join the discussion on their latest blog post, or even an archived blog post if you like. Websites with higher page ranks are obviously a natural choice, but any relevant site will do if the content is regularly updated and they draw traffic. (We’ll talk about how to determine those qualities in a later post, so don’t worry if you don’t know how to check the profitability of a website.)

That means commenting on your competition’s website is a definite plus. If you sell ice cream, you want to comment on every post Dairy Queen publishes. You also want to locate other blogs that talk about making ice cream, list ice cream facts, websites that sell ice cream, hate ice cream, or have ice cream fetishes. You want to place your name and backlink any place your target audience is likely to visit or congregate.

You may also want to spend some time finding higher Page Rank websites of any topic that allow backlinks, even if they are REF=NoFollow. (But you still have to follow etiquette and abide the rules below.)

STOP!

What you don’t want to do is contribute to the huge amount of worthless content floating around on servers and clogging up an otherwise good system. Only comment if you have something intelligent or helpful to say. Comments like “nice post” or “you suck” are inevitably destined for the spam file. If you can’t participate in the discussion, do some research or read along for a few days until you catch on. This not only helps build your SERPs, but your online reputation as well.

Always play nice. If you can’t say something nice, then keep your fingers off the keyboard. If you have a legitimate gripe or an opposing view, be responsible and state your comment without attacking or belittling anyone. You don’t always have to agree, but you don’t have the right to give a complete stranger a tongue lashing Internet-style either.

GO!

If you read the blogs of your friends or family members on a regular basis, ask them about backlinking before you post. Explain what you’d like to do and ask permission first, it’s considered polite to bring it up if you have a personal relationship with the blogger or webmaster. With that said, you should know that Blue Duck posts all backlinks, as long as they are not spam-y or offensive. Feel free to link to your heart’s content. 😀

Keep in mind that it might take an obscene number of backlinks to see the results you want. Be patient and remember that every link counts.

BONUS SEO TIP: If you haven’t seen results in several months, you may need to rethink your keyword phrase. It’s possible that too many other SEO savvy bloggers are competing for the same phrase.

We’ll post another SEO writing tip next week, so stay tuned. And if you have an SEO writing related question, feel free to drop us a line in the comments section of this blog, via the Blue Duck contact form, or in an email.

12 Responses to SEO Writing Tips: Keyword Ranking
  1. Writer Dad
    March 27, 2009 | 1:43 pm

    Great tips Jamie. I know a lot of the work I’m doing now will pay dividends later. SEO is like that.

    What about page rank? How often is that updated and what kind of difference will it make? If a website with a PR of 0 has solid SEO, what will happen with an update?

    Oh and, “What you talking about Willis?” was awesome.

    Writer Dad´s last spectacular blog post..Petals Papered Our Lives Walls

  2. Writer Dad
    March 27, 2009 | 8:43 am

    Great tips Jamie. I know a lot of the work I’m doing now will pay dividends later. SEO is like that.

    What about page rank? How often is that updated and what kind of difference will it make? If a website with a PR of 0 has solid SEO, what will happen with an update?

    Oh and, “What you talking about Willis?” was awesome.

    Writer Dad´s last spectacular blog post..Petals Papered Our Lives Walls

  3. Jamie Simmerman
    March 30, 2009 | 4:19 pm

    Hey Sean,
    My email “ate” this reply. Literally, sorry it took so long to find it.

    Page rank: well, if you are talking about Toolbar page rank (the number that shows on your google toolbar in your browser) it gets updated 3-5 times a year. (Some just say quarterly)

    But your “real page rank”, meaning the level of importance that Goggle assigns to your website, is updated continuously. Every time your page gets crawled, your page rank may change.

    So even though your Toolbar says you have a PR of 0, you most likely have a higher pr according to the SERPS. The best way to gauge this is to run a search for your primary keyword phrase and see what page ranks are assigned to the websites that rank higher than your website. That will give you a ballpark of where you actually stand.

    Comprende, amigo? Or am I talking in circles, as usual. 😀

  4. Jamie
    March 30, 2009 | 11:19 am

    Hey Sean,
    My email “ate” this reply. Literally, sorry it took so long to find it.

    Page rank: well, if you are talking about Toolbar page rank (the number that shows on your google toolbar in your browser) it gets updated 3-5 times a year. (Some just say quarterly)

    But your “real page rank”, meaning the level of importance that Goggle assigns to your website, is updated continuously. Every time your page gets crawled, your page rank may change.

    So even though your Toolbar says you have a PR of 0, you most likely have a higher pr according to the SERPS. The best way to gauge this is to run a search for your primary keyword phrase and see what page ranks are assigned to the websites that rank higher than your website. That will give you a ballpark of where you actually stand.

    Comprende, amigo? Or am I talking in circles, as usual. 😀

  5. Debbie Torres
    March 30, 2009 | 10:06 pm

    Hi Jamie,
    Thanks for the info. I am new at this – so my question may seem elementary. How can you determine the page rank of a website? Recently, I wrote copy for a website and hopefully improved its ranking. I would like to track its progress in Google to be able to share with my client and future clients how my budding knowledge of SEO can help them. Please let me know how this is done.

    “What are you talking about Willis” made me laugh too. I can still see Arnold’s lips when he said that! (I think his name was Arnold!)

  6. Jamie Simmerman
    March 31, 2009 | 12:25 pm

    HI Debbie,

    Determining the actual, real-time page rank of any website is done by estimating. You can compare it to other websites that rank for the same primary keyword phrase and get an idea of where that website stands with Google. (To determine real-time PR, you would have to have access to Google’s current set of search algorithms.)

    Another way to check PR is to download a Page Rank Toolbar function. These are available directly from Google (by enabling it when you download Goggle toolbar), or from popular sites like SEObook. This function displays a page rank value for each website as it loads. However, this page rank toolbar value is only updated by Google every 3-5 months, so it is not always an accurate indicator of the actual page rank of a website at any given time. Depending on how the algorithms change, some websites have seen a drastic change in Page rank (seemingly overnight).

    For example, a website with a PR=4 may “suddenly” drop to a PR=0, causing quite a stir on SEO discussion boards. In reality, the website’s PR had likely been dropping for several months as the algorithms evolved, but the PR Toolbar did not reflect this.

    I think this serves to create some of the “mystic” surrounding SEO, when in reality, it’s not mysterious at all. It does serve some SEOs well, in that it confuses so many prospective clients that an SEO who can decipher where a website stands against its competition appears to be an expert. 🙂

  7. Jamie
    March 31, 2009 | 7:25 am

    HI Debbie,

    Determining the actual, real-time page rank of any website is done by estimating. You can compare it to other websites that rank for the same primary keyword phrase and get an idea of where that website stands with Google. (To determine real-time PR, you would have to have access to Google’s current set of search algorithms.)

    Another way to check PR is to download a Page Rank Toolbar function. These are available directly from Google (by enabling it when you download Goggle toolbar), or from popular sites like SEObook. This function displays a page rank value for each website as it loads. However, this page rank toolbar value is only updated by Google every 3-5 months, so it is not always an accurate indicator of the actual page rank of a website at any given time. Depending on how the algorithms change, some websites have seen a drastic change in Page rank (seemingly overnight).

    For example, a website with a PR=4 may “suddenly” drop to a PR=0, causing quite a stir on SEO discussion boards. In reality, the website’s PR had likely been dropping for several months as the algorithms evolved, but the PR Toolbar did not reflect this.

    I think this serves to create some of the “mystic” surrounding SEO, when in reality, it’s not mysterious at all. It does serve some SEOs well, in that it confuses so many prospective clients that an SEO who can decipher where a website stands against its competition appears to be an expert. 🙂

  8. william
    May 8, 2009 | 2:11 pm

    nice tips, will make use of them since my blog has gone down in ranking in the past few days 🙁

    thanks

    william´s last spectacular blog post..UK Bank holidays and British Summer Time

  9. william
    May 8, 2009 | 9:11 am

    nice tips, will make use of them since my blog has gone down in ranking in the past few days 🙁

    thanks

    william´s last spectacular blog post..UK Bank holidays and British Summer Time

  10. Debbie Torres
    January 6, 2010 | 8:16 pm

    Hi Jamie,
    Thanks for the info. I am new at this – so my question may seem elementary. How can you determine the page rank of a website? Recently, I wrote copy for a website and hopefully improved its ranking. I would like to track its progress in Google to be able to share with my client and future clients how my budding knowledge of SEO can help them. Please let me know how this is done.

    “What are you talking about Willis” made me laugh too. I can still see Arnold's lips when he said that! (I think his name was Arnold!)

  11. SEOP.com
    May 27, 2010 | 8:08 am

    Thanks for the tips. This will really help me with my content writing.

  12. Anonymous
    June 30, 2011 | 7:02 pm

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