Do you know how to exploit the landing pages search function of Google’s keyword planner tool? Did you know that using underscores in the URLs of your website pages (for example blog posts) could potentially be costing you search traffic? Interested in learning ways to drive traffic to your website that don’t involve SEO (Search Engine Optimization)? Find the answers to these three questions in this week’s #FridayFinds.
Creative Uses for the Google Keyword Planner Tool:
When Google first eliminated their external keyword tool and replaced it with the Google Keyword Planner tool, there were a lot of bloggers who were upset. To be able to access this tool, you have to login to your AdWords account. (Of course, this means if you don’t already have a Google AdWords account, you have to sign up for one.) Many bloggers perceived Google’s action as simply withdrawing a previously free public service while continuing to make it available to advertisers.
While there are alternatives to Google’s keyword research tool, this week, I came across the article Google Didn’t Want Us To Use The Keyword Planner This Way. But It Works Nicely by Dan Shure on AdvancedWebRanking.com. This article is definitely a worthy read and Dan has inserted lots of screenshots that he’s mocked up to show you how to put his suggestions to work . (You have to really drill into the data to get insight.)
I’ll highlight the bullet points here to give you a flavor of what Dan has shared (but this does not do his article justice):
- Exploring Wikipedia
- Finding out the keywords your competitors use
- Using Pinterest for ideas
- Researching Reddit topics
- Finding industry forums
- Accessing Dmoz data
- Exploring Freebase categories
While Dan has included several ideas to start us thinking creatively about keyword research, he also says:
“I want to stop here and remind people. Keywords are a bridge to understanding the psychology of the searchers. They’re a window into the mind of your potential site user. I’m not saying we would choose “find cell towers” and solely use that as a singular keyword target. We would use that as a springboard to further content ideas and research.”
Note: Be sure to read the comments for additional ideas too.
The Impact of Punctuation on Search
This week, I came upon Why Punctuation Matters: Dashes vs. Underscores in Your Site’s URL by Anca Bradley on Fruition.net. (For those of you who don’t know, I became a huge fan of Fruition’s Google penalty checker last year – after I lost a significant amount of organic search traffic due to Google’s algorithm changes.)
It turns out that there is a significant difference between using underscores and dashes in our URLs. According to Matt Cutts. Google’s head of webspam, the difference goes back to the early days when Google’s engineers were focused on coding. (You can watch this video for Matt’s insight):
Bottom-line, use dashes not underscores for the best results. To quote Anca:
“Still, even if you have an established website, it might be worth it to actually rewrite your top 100 pages’ URLs if they utilize underscores. Google has come out in favor of the dash, although according to Cutts, they don’t influence much. But it could turn out, however, that using underscores has a greater impact than we know.”
Alternatives to Driving Traffic without SEO
I’m leaving you with a more “fun” read SEO Is Dead. Link Building Is Dead. Your Pony Is Dead by Ana Hoffman on TrafficGeneration.com. Ana’s Slideshare presentation and her graphics are bound to make you grin and (as always) Ana shares several great resources for developing ways to increase your website traffic without relying on the search engines. (For example, one of her resources is a case study of a Slideshare presentation that went from 0 to 243,000 views in 30 days.)
To Quote Ana:
“Build a better business, NOT search engine rankings.”
Over to You:
What keyword research tool do you use? Have you ever used any of the tactics that Dan Shure suggests? Did you know the difference in the potential impact of using an underscore in your URLs versus a dash? Do you agree with Ana Hoffman that SEO is dead? Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts and ideas. – As I always, say, we can all learn from each other.