It was all too easy. You didn’t need to sign in … you didn’t need an Adwords account … and you didn’t get bid suggestions when you didn’t want them. It was an easy, ultra-credible source of search traffic statistics directly from the source – Google.
Replaced by the Keyword Planner, the Google Keyword Tool is no more. So we have to move on without it. We have to find new ways to find the best keywords for our Internet marketing efforts. And, in my opinion, there’s no better way to do so than going directly to the source once again – Google.
Google Keyword Planner
Yes, although the new Keyword Planner is slightly more complex and geared toward people interested in starting online ad campaigns, it still serves a purpose for those uninterested in ads.
We can still get all the monthly traffic and competition data we received with the Keyword Tool. The main difference between the old system and the new Keyword Planner is that, with the latter, your results page is muddied with bid suggestions. Also, more steps are needed to get to the information you want.
But you still get the information – the most dependable variety — from Google. Without a doubt, this is information worth taking a few extra steps to get.
When using the Keyword Planner, here are some things to keep in mind:
- You’re given four options instead of one on the main Keyword Planner screen. To get results similar to those produced by the Keyword Tool, choose option 2 – “Get search volume for a list of Keywords…”
- As you did with the Keyword Tool, use [brackets] for exact match and “quotations” for phrase match. Broad match is standard.
- Use the first option to get keyword ideas, as you automatically did with the Keyword Tool.
As you can see below with Keyword Planner, with keyword ideas absent on the main screen, the display of information is less obtrusive. The only information we don’t care for is located in the last 3 columns – suggested bid, impression share and “Add to plan” options. To break it down simply, the retired Keyword Tool was more consolidated and the new Keyword Planner is more broken up.
Note: You must create a Google Adword account before you can begin using.
Created in the UK, Keyword Eye embraces a fun, minimalistic approach to keyword research and is the easiest keyword tool to use. It’s also 100% reliable. Powered by SEMrush, it delivers keyword search volume, PPC competition and relevant keyword ideas. Also, if you do some tests, you’ll see that it produces information nearly identical to that produced by the Keyword Planner.
According to the website and confirmed by me, the free version includes:
- 10 keyword searches per day
- 10, 50 or 100 keyword suggestions per search
- 10 Google country keyword databases
Referring to this last point, since Keyword Eye is based in the UK, the search results for it are automatically based there. All you have to do if you’re running reports in the U.S. is switch results to “Google US” before you begin your search.
Having the ability to only choose results for one country per search is the tradeoff you make for the simplicity and freedom of Keyword Eye. And, of course, the ability to only complete 10 searches per day. But if you need to run a country-specific report in a quick, efficient manner, Keyword Eye is what you want.
When I mention the Internet and danger, I’m not referring to explicit content; I’m also not referring to the addictiveness of Netflix or the questionable sources of premium TV shows I don’t have to pay for. What I’m talking about is textual content that’s sloppy, uninformative and produced with the sole intention of acquiring higher search engine rankings, not of educating and engaging online users.
As a creative web writer, I can’t think of anything more dangerous than lackluster textual web content. Or maybe the right word is disgusting.
Yes, when I read blog posts, whitepapers and articles written without care, attention and passion, it disgusts me. But that’s beside the point, because I realize that not everyone is a web writer or shares this attitude. However, almost everyone is an online reader and, as such, is affected negatively by valueless web content. The reason that content written for the purpose of obtaining higher search results is dangerous is because
- it often gets the facts wrong
- it offers nothing to the reader except wasted time
- it pollutes the Internet like toxins pollute the atmosphere and our bodies
This is the kind of content my fellow WebiMax writers and I stay away from. Instead, we produce web content that’s SEO-friendly primarily because of its user value – not because of how many keywords it squeezes in between filler text.
Because of writers like us and the brilliant world of search engine technology, the Internet is becoming less polluted by poor content.
We’re Fighting the Good Fight
When I read an article on the Internet, I expect it to be either informative, interesting, entertaining or a combination of the three, and I’m sure the entire WebiMax writing team agrees with me on this. Actually, I know they do because we’re taught to write content that we’d actually want to read ourselves. And after I read anything produced by my peers, I leave the page feeling informed, excited, entertained or, more often than not, a combination of all three.
By producing content we’d actually read, we’re making the Internet a prosperous space that can be trusted — not just by search engines, but by anyone with access to the Internet who is ready to open his or her mind to the seeming infinity of online space.
When we write with purpose and passion, we obtain the best results for our clients. By taking their unique business ideas and combining them with our writing skill and knowledge of what’s relevant, we attract organic traffic, social signals (likes, tweets, shares) and, consequently, the attention of the most powerful search engines. You could say we help to redefine what SEO copy and content writing really are every time we write. With this approach and the help of smarter search engines, we put worthy content at the forefront of search and bury the garbage content far beneath.
The Evolving Search Engine is Helping Us
Google’s objective is to lead search engine users to websites that fulfill their needs and desires, not to unhelpful content. This ethic is great for online users and, additionally, makes it harder for soulless SEO “writers” to succeed at ranking high in search. Google’s recent Hummingbird algorithm update is a testament to the company’s ongoing mission to deliver useful results instead of keyword-focused rubbish.
In addition to Google, there are other promising new search engines focused on providing online users with awesome content.
Blippex is a new kind of search engine that ranks websites based on bounce rate instead of keywords, phrases and links. If this isn’t a sign for web writers with old habits to change their strategies, I don’t know what is.
Do you know of anything (or anyone) else that’s making the Internet “less dangerous.” If so, drop a line!
Gone like a home run – not into the abyss.
Recently, I came across two great articles by Neil Patel, co-founder of KISSmetrics, and Brian Gardner, founder of Studiopress. They both had one word in common – LONG. They also confirmed what I already believed to be true: 1) long form content dominates search rankings and 2) long tail keywords promote higher quality traffic.
Long Form Content: Brilliant When Necessary
When Neil Patel says long form content converts more than short form content, he’s talking about high quality web content. He’s talking about a page that powerfully expounds on one specific point – not a page that’s unfocused and comes across muddled. Remember, even though Google is a machine, it’s a damn smart one.
More Quality Content = More Social Signals = Higher Rankings
Google is smarter than ever because it now reads social signals. That means the more tweets, likes, +1s and other social shares that your page has, the more authority it receives in search engine rankings.
And guess what receives the most social shares? Long form content.
In Patel’s article about content length, he uses one of his own famous blogs, Quick Sprout, to test word count’s effect on social metrics. To do this, he took the 327 blogs he’s written for the site and separated them into two categories: 1) blog posts under 1500 words and 2) blog posts over 1500 words. He then took the average number of tweets and Facebook likes received in each category and made a handy graph.
After crunching the numbers, Patel concluded that his posts over 1500 words received 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more Facebook likes than his posts under 1500 words. This is just one small example, but it’s consistent with others I’ve come across during my time as a content writer at WebiMax.
Think about this: Google gives high quality long form content an advantage over high quality short form content published on the same day (assuming that each hosting website has similar authority). Because long form content ranks higher, more people are bound to look at it — and because the quality of the content is high, more people are likely to share it. This means higher rankings.
Recent evidence that the use of long form is growing: Google’s recent launch of in-depth articles.
Long Tail Keywords: It’s as Simple as Adding “What Is”
If you use any keyword tool, you’ll see that shorter terms have more competition and longer terms have less. Because the tools show that WAY more users are searching for the shorter terms, people are often tempted to try to rank for these.
Unless your website has superior domain power, however, it could take years – even decades – to rank on page 1 for a short, specific term.
You read it right – decades.
For this reason, SEO companies and web whizzes like Brian Gardner are targeting long tail keywords – keywords three words or longer. In Gardner’s article about long tail keywords, he confirms something that I discovered during my time working for a local BMW performance shop in Manayunk, Philadelphia: adding something as simple as “what is” to a popular term can have amazing results.
My own experience: As a marketing assistant at the performance shop, I developed the company’s content marketing strategy by using old school SEO tactics. I would write articles and post them on every article directory I came across: Ezine, Sooper Articles, Article Snatch, and others (recognition of my SEO ignorance at the time).
One day, I wrote a post on walnut shell blasting – a practice used for cleaning the intake valves of vehicles. Before writing it, I looked for a keyword using Google’s old Adword Keyword Tool. “Walnut Shell Blasting” had high competition, while “What is Walnut Shell Blasting” had very low competition.
Long story short, I added the “what is.” Now you can find my Ezine article about walnut shell blasting at #1 on Bing. I imagine if I posted the piece on the company’s blog instead of on multiple article directories, it would have been close to #1 on Google, too. However, as you probably know, Google has very strict duplicate content rules.
Gardner’s experience: A while back, Gardner wrote a post on email marketing – its definition, how people use it, etc. Like me, before writing it, he did some research and found that he had a better chance ranking if he added “what is” before “email marketing.” As he expected, Google rewarded him with highly targeted traffic.
When Gardner wrote his article on long tail keywords, he noted that “what is email marketing” ranked #14 on his keyword referrals list for Google Search. Pretty impressive.
According to Gardner, “the majority of searches performed are of the long tail search variety. Rather than typing in a generic word or two and sifting through pages of results to find what they’re looking for, searchers are much more likely to type in longer phrases to immediately find the specific information they need.”
Evidence that the use of long tail keywords is growing: SEO companies like WebiMax are focusing on long tail keywords’ enormous potential for highly targeted traffic to increase rankings for new and existing clients.
Imagine the online recognition that could be achieved by combining long form content with long tail keywords.
Vast like the abyss. Awesome like a home run.
It was pitch black back then. But after joining WebiMax and expanding my copywriting skills, I began to see the proverbial light.
I look back at what I wrote then and what I write now and I notice a major difference in the quality and tone of my writing. Before it was good. Now, it’s better than before. And the most exciting part is it will continue to improve as long as I continue to pull from the great resources I’ll be discussing below.
I’m convinced my improvement as a writer resulted mainly from one thing: the wisdom and information in the newsletters I started reading a little over a year ago.
Benefits of Reading these Free Online Newsletters
Taking a few hours out of your week to read them will help you to dramatically improve your writing and business skills. You’ll also become more passionate and confident when the time comes to exercise your opinion. Topics covered in these newsletters include:
• Traditional copywriting and SEO copywriting
• Traditional marketing and Internet marketing
• The business of giving a lot and receiving more in return
• Perseverance, consistency and passion
• Healthy living for a healthy business
I believe that 20% of people are truly passionate about the industry they’re in. The other 80% are either complacent, apathetic, or wishing they were somewhere else. I’m confident that reading these newsletters will make you part of the 20%, if you’re not already part of it.
Whatever percentage you’re part of, find comfort in these newsletters. As you’ll learn, they’re rich with experience, intelligence and a genuine concern.
The Best Online Newsletters Currently Available
Copyblogger is the authority in content marketing. The company that specializes in producing content marketing software and other valuable marketing resources started out as a little blog about 7 years ago. The founder, Brian Clark, wrote two blog posts a day about the importance of content marketing. Eventually, Copyblogger became an empire and defined the true value of having a blog with fresh content.
In the Copyblogger newsletter, you’re going to get the latest on content marketing, social media marketing, SEO and more. In addition to receiving updates every time a new post is published, you’ll also have access to 13 free ebooks that individually dissect topics like landing pages, keyword research, email marketing and SEO copywriting.
Early to Rise
The Early to Rise newsletter is released every weekday morning around 7 a.m. like clockwork. You can always expect it and always expect it to be great. Craig Ballantyne, copywriter and self-made entrepreneur, is the editor of the newsletter. He writes about 1 post per week and brings in professionals in various industries for the other days.
The writing styles these newsletters employ have had a huge impact on my writing. Their content makes me a better businessman while their style makes me a better writer. All newsletters are clear, engaging and concise. I especially love when Bob Burg posts. He writes about the benefit of giving and how it applies to business.
Leo Babauta is an author, minimalist and deliverer of peaceful practices. The ZenHabits newsletter has over one million subscribers.
The truth is, a lot of us lose track of what’s truly important when we start following our dreams. Business and passion can make our minds race and hard to slow down. With the posts on ZenHabits, Babauta makes you stop for a minute and reflect.
He believes in simplicity and contentment and succeeds in helping you find it. Take a break from the biz, relax, and simply enjoy being present. Life is good.
American Writers and Artists Inc. (AWAI)
Mark Ford, the copywriter and entrepreneur who started Early to Rise, also created AWAI. I briefly mention my experience with AWAI in my previous .
Nearly every day, AWAI brings in a professional to write a single post or a series of posts about copywriting, freelance writing, graphic design and other marketing topics. If you’re trying to make your own in the freelance biz, definitely subscribe to AWAI’s The Writer’s Life newsletter. You’ll get amazing deals for awesome courses and news about upcoming conferences and events.
However, if you’re just looking for amazing content, go directly to the AWAI article library. I’ve learned so much from reading these. If you’re an aspiring copywriter, I recommend you read every post by Michael Masterson (Mark Ford’s pen name).
Comment about your favorite places for fresh content in the comments section below and let me know what you think about the newsletters mentioned above.
When something is easy to read, I read more of it.
I read more of it and, more often than not, reach the end of it. I reach the end of it and, if I’m on the web, find myself looking at a link. Sometimes a fancy link with cool effects that reads “BUY NOW.” Other times, a standard hyperlink that says “Learn more.”
And because I like what I read (simple text for a simple guy), I usually click on that link.
Find me someone who doesn’t like clear, concise, easy-to-read language on the web and I’ll hear them out. I’ll hear them out then give them a test. I’ll give them a page of web copy written by a writer proficient in SEO copywriting and a page written by a novelist who writes with lengthy paragraphs. I’ll then hook them up to my CIA-employed father’s polygraph and ask them a simple question: Which one was easier to read?
There are many things that make something easy to read – dialogue, tight wording and use of the present tense – but there’s one thing that makes a piece incredibly easy to read.
See what I did there?
How I Know Writing with White Space Improves Conversions
At the end of my college career, I started becoming interested in web writing, website design and search engine optimization. After creating a few of my own personal websites and reading various books on SEO, I discovered my true passion was for writing. Even though I appreciated the art of web design and SEO, writing lit a fire in me.
So I decided to look into web writing as a career. That’s when I came across a little gem of a writing course offered through American Writers and Artists Inc. – an online company started by one of my mentors, Mark Morgan Ford.
Mr. Ford, known in the copywriting world as Michael Masterson, showed me how to write clearly and concisely. He also showed me how to sell a product or service to a customer. The course offered me stacks upon stacks of successful sales letters and, in all these letters, I saw a common theme: religious use of white space.
Some writers of these successful sales letters preferred to use ellipses over hyphens, storytelling over fact-telling. But one thing remained constant in ALL of their copywriting styles: whitespace galore.
These great copywriters knew that people wanted something easy to read, so they gave it to them. There was no question about it. With paragraphs broken up into short, simple sections, readers could get the information they wanted quickly and easily. Their emotions were appealed to and they became better informed. Why? Because they were being talked to in a conversational manner – a cornerstone of great copywriting and web writing alike.
The sentence is the short breath. The paragraph is the deep breath. A paragraph refreshes the page much like a deep breath refreshes the thinking process of a conversationalist.
Start Using More White Space in Your Writing Today!
The great thing about whitespace is that it requires nearly no effort at all to implement. Unlike fixing grammar and swapping vocabulary, all you have to do is hit ENTER. No thesaurus or proofreading required.
As you continue to discover your writing voice, knowing when to use white space will come to you naturally. But, until that time comes, practice isolating the following with white space.
· Subtopic of an overarching topic
· Key points within those subtopics
· Important phrases and words with a lead-in (see how I used “White space” in the first section of this post.)
· Sentences that significantly impact the reader and deserve their own line
When you use white space more freely, your copy instantly becomes more readable and inspires more conversions, to secondary pages, contact forms and shopping carts.
Make your web copy more user friendly with white space and watch the fruits of your website’s readership multiply!