What makes a keyword a GOOD keyword?

Guest Post by: Marcus

Back in 2005 when I first started online I couldn’t get this question out of my head. Every which way I turned I was told that learning how to do keyword research was an important part of the whole Internet marketing process, but even though I understood that point in theory…I really didn’t understand what a GOOD keyword was.

I’m not talking about any keyword in particular here…I just couldn’t grasp exactly what it was that made one keyword stand out more than any other – in any niche.

So I set off on a mission to find out if anyone could give me some answers, and along the way I learned plenty of stuff that made things a lot clearer. Things like…

Long tail, relevance, low competition, search volume etc…

They all struck a chord with me and definitely made the process of identifying keywords a lot easier.

I then began to question if that kind of knowledge was really necessary because let’s face it…the way keyword tools are designed nowadays, you only have to push a couple of buttons and within seconds they will spit out 100’s of potential keywords (And then some!)

But do they really help to find GOOD keywords?

Now at the risk of sounding a little cranky, I later discovered that no matter what I learned about the keyword research process…and regardless of how many whistles and bells my keyword tool had on it, I was only uncovering keywords that MAY have potential.

You see, things suddenly became clearer for me when I realized that…

A keyword only becomes a GOOD keyword when you learn how to do something good with it!

But really…just what the heck is a keyword?  Many people overlook the simplicity of it all,  and therefore fail to understand keyword research.

A keyword is simply something that people type into search engines when they are:

(a) looking for information
(b) looking to solve a problem
(c) looking to buy something
(d) bored…and again, they will be looking for info

So thanks to my collection of keyword tools I thought I had become something of an expert at spotting some amazing keyword opportunities, but in reality those weren’t good keywords that I was finding, they were just…well…keywords.

That was when I had my first ‘cart before the horse’ moment (one of many I might add), when I realized that keyword research means absolutely NOTHING if you don’t know what to do with what you find.

I’d already been busy with my hoard of keywords up until that point…ranking high in the search engines with articles on some pretty random keywords, and I regarded this as a pretty big success.

But was I able to MONETIZE them?

Well I won’t say ‘not at all’, but I will say…HARDLY.

All those hours of hard work that I’d put in – pretty much a total waste of time.

Then again, there was a major positive that came out of this whole experience, and for that reason I’m so glad that it happened. My brush with ground zero conversion rates had forced me to learn how to focus on the person behind the keyword and connect with them and their issue, rather than just hitting them with some loosely related content and hoping it would just do.

Let me tell ya…that was when EVERYTHING changed!

And it’s no coincidence that we talk a lot on here and at WA about building relationships with visitors to our websites/promotions (see Eddie and Jennifer’s posts), and it emphasizes the fact that how we use keywords is fundamental to our success online.

All successful marketers know and understand this point…but at the same time, most people struggling online DON’T.

Keywords allow us to open the door of opportunity in any market we choose, via any medium of online promotion. Understanding how to interpret and use them and understanding the person behind the initial keyword search is one of the most important skills that you could ever possess as an Internet marketer.

So if you ever found yourself wasting hour after hour scouring the Internet for those elusive keywords that you can dominate, think back to my early experiences and how I discovered that they didn’t really exist, without my own consideration for “people” behind the search. I promise that when you do, you’ll end up with more good keywords than you can possibly handle :)

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

Marcus

Why does google love my junk websites?

I really suck at building websites!Kyle @ Wealthy Affiliate

Honestly, I do.

Looking back over the years (wow, almost 8 years now…I am getting up there), I have built some of the funkiest, stinkiest looking websites around.

Graphics…bah.  A waste of time right?

A fancy template with lots of bells and whistles…I had no need for that.

An ugly (by conventional rules), bare looking “homemade” website with quality and relevant content. That is what I was interested in creating.

I didn’t enjoy creating graphics and good thing…I would have likely sabotaged my sites!

I know Carson spoke to you last week about the importance of a website in this day and age.  To be honest with you, I think it has always been important.  What is not as important is how it looks…sites that I created in 2003 are still effective.

In fact, sites without any “template at all” are still effective.  Flat white background with a small border around it with good sales copy, and relevant pages within still work.

So, if technology has produced so many killer ways to build websites with a lot of flare and a lot of graphics, why hasn’t the way people view websites changed?

Think about this for second…

If you were searching for a solution to “change your dodge caravans spark plugs” in Google and were taken to a revolving door to your solution, what would you HOPE for on the other side.

CONTENT on how to change your spark plugs.

If the content is of quality, you could care less about the picture of the caravan in the banner, the moving image on the right, the beautiful detail that went into the table layouts and graphics….YOU WANT CONTENT.

People search Google for content.

And marketers that deliver the “sought after” content are those that succeed.  And that leads me to the idea of…

The Backwards Website Model

What if you were to build a website in reverse, based on what works (meaning, what earns you money).

Where would you begin to start?  What lead to all your conversions?

For those of you that have been able to achieve success online, you are likely putting your hand up right now and shouting out the answer.

The answer is:  THE CONTENT, THE STORY, THE SALES COPY, OR THE OFFER

All of these relate to writing, and none of them relate to graphics.   If you reverse engineer any successful website out there, the graphics would be the last component to come.  The content would be the first as the content is what leads to success.

And so goes the QUALITY of the content…

Ethics are still important.  Content is only content if you are doing it simply for displacing money.  IE, earning money without offering adequate “stuff” in return.  That leads me to the fact that although websites are key, you need to think of the bigger picture when creating your content….who is reading it?

BUT…Aren’t Websites Important?

Yes, websites are key.  Google no longer has love for people that direct link  They don’t care for people that do redirects.  In fact, they don’t even care much for affiliate link.  The reason being is there is a huge gap they are seeing a need to fill between their paid advertisers and their top search engine optimized sites.

The content quality has always been much better for “natural listings”.  Just a few years back, Google implemented what we call the Quality Score algorithm to try to increase this quality.   I remember back in the day seeing things like an ad being listed under a a keyword like “weight loss” that was for “making money online”.

Now, this was not cool for someone doing a search within the search engine that was faced with getting an irrelevant result for their search.  In order for Google to sustain their search market share, they needed to improve this.

So Quality Score came.

People then learned to “game” Quality Score.  Creating relevant pages, with little or no content Quality.

What marketers would do is simply stuff in a couple of relevant keywords, and then drive their traffic to click affiliate links…in which they would earn a commission from.  It worked…and people made a ton of money.

But Google Caught On!…

They found this loophole within their own Quality Score calculation and have recently stuffed a massive hole in these marketers game.

Stuffed a hole to the tune of anywhere between 100,000 and 200,000 Google Adwords accounts being shut down without warning.  To the tune of advertisers losing all their Quality Score rank and having their sites red flagged.  To the tune of million dollar marketers completely losing their businesses overnight!

Google now wants, really, what it should want.

Quality content. Relevant content.  Enough content. AND no greasy salesmen.

Google basically wants their user experience (people searching for stuff) to be the best possible.  Google wants marketers to have their own website and to put some thought into the content they write…for it to be unique, and for it to be adequate enough for a decent experience.

So, the rules of the NEW AGE are:

(1) Having your own website (a must)
(2) Having adequate content
(3) Having relevant content
(4) Having unique content
(5) Not trying to trick Google by stuffing keywords in your site
(6) Not being a smoke and mirror salesperson

You follow these rules, you are cool with Google and your are cool with me.  What worked for me worked back in 2002 when I was starting out.  Not because I knew some secret strategy then, I always put myself in the “searchers” shoes and aimed to make the search experience as good as possible.

BTW, I have ad groups that I have not touched for the last 6 years and are still effective.  They follow the convention and if you work forward using the “user experience” model,  you will have a safety shield from any major Google slaps, dances and punches.

The Internet has changed, but the ideology of website success has not.

Let me say this again in another way…

The Internet has NEW RULES, but the SAME OLD WEBSITE STILL PREVAIL!

Take it easy,

Kyle
Wealthy Affiliate
www.wealthyaffiliate.com

PS.  I love to get feedback…so if you have any comments, please feel free to leave them below.

Yahoo/MSN vs Google Pay-per-click

So here’s my rant about the state of the Pay-per-click marketing industry.  First of all, let me mention what’s currently going on with pay-per-click and the search engines.

Google Adwords has been slapping affiliates around left right and center like helpless rag dolls,  making it difficult for the untrained Internet marketer to place an ad in the search results.  There are online reports that state Google has shut down over 80,000 Adwords accounts and this is still growing on a daily basis.  I’ll get to the reason for this in a minute.

First though, lets chat about one of Google’s only paid search competitors (a viable one), Yahoo Search Marketing (YSM).

Over the years, Yahoo has never been able to take advantage of their Search engine to effectively compete with Google.  One reason is that they don’t have the earning power Google does due to their lackluster pay-per-click framework/platform.

When I started out PPC’ marketing back in 2002, Yahoo’s search traffic was managed by a third party company, “Overture”.  They ruled the net and were the “only” place to go to put ads online.  Then along came Google Adwords and before long Overture was working in the shadows of Google.

Microsoft has tried to revive their poor search engine presence by releasing Bing (bing.com).  Bing has actually started to gain some traction due to their heavy advertising and brand awareness, however people are moving back to Google as it is better choice for finding the information you want.. NOW!

Recently however, there has been a big mix-up in the world of Pay-per-click marketing.  For Internet marketers this is a big thing.

Yahoo Search Marketing has recently partnered with Microsoft to manage all ads under one roof.  The “Yahoo! & Microsoft search alliance” as they call it is going to shake up the search marketing industry yet again.  This will equate to a much more powerful option.

I’ve been a Google supporter for years as they really do provide the highest quality traffic and conversions.  That said, the inconsistencies of their regulations, sub par support, and wish-washy guidelines have made “other options” much more appealing.

Why is Google making it so difficult to place an ad in the search results?  They have always had a vision that (and a good one) that delivering the best and most high quality websites to their searchers is key to their success.  We all know that when you search for something in Google, you find what you’re looking for.  This means that they need to monitor their paid advertisers to make sure they follow certain guidelines to deliver high quality and relevant sites.

This is great!

But…

Google had taken things a bit too far and does not seem to be following their policies at all times.  Something that works for one person, may not get approved for another. For someone who is new to pay-per-click advertising this is very frustrating because you have absolutely no idea why your ads aren’t showing. In addition, your account at Google could get shut down with no prior warning.  This is the stage of Adwords currently and is why so many people are having difficulty placing ads.

I’m all for quality…but let your advertisers know what “Quality” is.  Let advertisers improve if they need to.  Rather than slapping an advertiser in the face and telling them they can’t place an ad on the network, give them a chance to improve their ads, their websites and their offers.

What does this mean for you as an Internet marketer?  It means that you need to play by Google’s rules and advertise in a way that puts you in their “good books”.  If you’ve been slapped, or are having issues with Google, sometimes the only option is to look elsewhere for traffic and this is where BIG opportunity lies.

Starting in 2011, Yahoo Search marketing and MSN Adcenter are going to be under one roof, and this means access to 577 million web searchers world wide.  Many PPC’ marketers already use Yahoo, and MSN Adcenter alongside their Google Adwords ads, but will this new alliance cause a swing in momentum?

Here’s my take..

Google is going to continue “peeving people off” by making it difficult to get an ad placed on their network.  To be honest, it this continues too long, they are going to lose too much money and realize that their quarterly earnings are not what they could be.  97% of Google’s quarterly revenue derives from advertising!

Google is basically funneling Internet marketers from Adwords, straight into the hands of Yahoo and MSN.  When the new search alliance is made public and you can manage a single advertising account to have your ads placed across the entire Yahoo and MSN networks, there is going to be division between which network to choose.

I like the new idea of only having to manage TWO Pay-per-click networks.  Google on one hand, and Yahoo/MSN on the other.  Let’s not get too excited though just yet.  Google still offers the best PPC platform and they still rule the search engine market.  What I’m saying is that having both Google, and the Yahoo/MSN alliance in your arsenal will extend your reach substantially.

…And having the added competition is going to make both Google and Yahoo more advertiser friendly.

I’m not going to take sides.. why would I?  Is Adwords better than Yahoo Search Marketing?… um… yes. Is Adwords better than MSN Adcenter?  Yes… Is Adwords going to be better than the new alliance?  Yes..  Am I going to miss out on a massive chunk of daily searches by sticking to Google only?  No…

There are no signs that Google is going to lose any traction in its hold on the search engine market, however it is already losing many of it’s Adwords advertisers to Yahoo and MSN.  This merger will hopefully wake Google up and have them revert (or at least solidify) their unpredictable advertiser policies they are currently enforcing.

My bottom line is that The Yahoo and MSN search alliance is a small move in the right direction for PPC marketers.  It won’t change the way we work online, but it could have an impact on where are advertising budgets go.
Until next time,

Carson