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A Keyword-Fueled Approach to Online Marketing

Several years ago our firm, Hinge, decided to take a good, hard look at our blog. Although our blog content was well written and useful, our blog subscribership was brutally low and web traffic was going nowhere fast. We were blogging with little to show for it.

Some market research we were conducting at the time helped us to determine what successful content marketers were doing differently, and by the end of 2010 our content strategy had taken a sharp turn for the better. The key? We systematically began incorporating keyword phrases into our blog posts. Here is a look at our search engine traffic growth in the year after we found keyword love:


 

Within 12 months, our website traffic from search engines increased by over 200%. This was a direct result of our new blogging efforts. Our keyword-rich blog posts were being indexed in search engines for important words and phrases, and many of them — thanks to careful keyword research — were beginning to rank well in Google.

The following chart illustrates our keyword traffic growth from search engines:


 

Because our content was addressing a variety of highly targeted keywords, the number of phrases driving traffic rose by over 160%. And the growth didn’t stop after the first year. By the end of 2012, the number of keywords had grown by 381% and traffic by 726%.

So what’s our process?

2 Steps to Keyword-Rich Blogging

In almost every blog post we write at Hinge, we focus on a single important keyword phrase. By zeroing in on one specific topic we increase the chances of ranking well in Google. Each time a writer sits down to draft a post, he or she does two things.

1. Select the Right Keyword – Ongoing keyword research has become a part of our content culture. We are constantly brainstorming different topics and issues that relate to our service offerings and industries. We compile lists of words and phrases that we believe our target visitors may be searching for in Google.

As we compile this list, we use specialize SEO tools (such as the Google Adwords Keyword tool and the SEOMoz Keyword Difficulty tool) to evaluate the viability of each phrase. The data looks something like this:

For each keyword phrase we are looking to balance two factors:

  • Difficulty – How hard would it be to compete for this phrase in Google results?
     
  • Volume – How many people are actually searching on this phrase?

In the example above, “lead generation tactics” would be a good term to blog about because it has a low difficulty and a decent volume. The other phrases are either too difficult or do not have enough volume. (Your difficulty threshold depends on how much authority your website has earned in the eyes of the search engines. But that’s another article.)

Once this data is compiled, our bloggers can search the list and pick out the phrase that best represents their blog topic. Typically they will write on topics hat relate directly to Hinge’s service offerings, as these types of keywords attract high-quality prospects.

2. Implementing the Keyword into the Post – Once we’ve chosen a keyword, we’re ready to write the blog post around it. Many people believe that a random sprinkling of keywords is enough to optimize a post. As it turns out, there is a bit more to it.

Content that is tightly focused performs best because Google strives to deliver useful educational results to specific queries. When you write about a single topic, you are creating a piece that Google searchers will find highly relevant. And most people find that the blogging process is easier if they have a keyword phrase in mind before writing.

Here are some rules of thumb for integrating a keyword phrase into a post:

  • Include the phrase within the title of the post
  • Include the phrase 3 – 4 times throughout the text of the post
     

This should be enough to let search engines know what term you are targeting. Avoid stuffing the phrase into the content (e.g., 15 times) because Google will know that you are trying to over-optimize.

A Steady Organic Build

As you begin to publish these new posts, check your web analytics for small jumps in keywords and traffic. Not all of your posts will produce results, but the ones that do will add up over time.

At Hinge we strive to implement keywords into at least 75% of our posts, and this discipline has significantly increased the number of visitors we’ve attracted in a just a couple of years.

Blogging without a strategy can be more trouble than it’s worth. If you write without considering keyword data, you may be writing content that nobody is searching for. At Hinge, we’ve accomplished a great deal with just a few tweaks in our strategy. So consider developing a keyword habit. You’ll be a smarter blogger.

Sean McVey

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