Leon followed up my recent video post where I talked about anticipating what people will be searching for as a technique for growing your blog’s readership with a question:
“How do you anticipate searches without sacrificing the quality of your posts?”
Good question Leon – I’ve seen a number of bloggers recently who I think this could be relevant for.
Recap – In my video post I spoke about how I discovered the power of anticipating what people are searching for by accident one day when I wrote a post titled ‘Australian Idol Winner?’ on a personal blog that I was writing at the time. Of course in the days before Australian Idol announced it’s winner this post attracted quite a bit of search traffic.
Stay Relevant to Your Blog’s Niche
The key with this type of strategy is really to keep things as relevant to your blog and as useful to your reader as possible.
The technique worked well for me in the example above because I was writing a personal blog that covered a lot of different topics. My original post ‘Australian Idol Winner?’ was a post asking readers who they thought would win and sharing some of my own predictions. It was a topic I’d written about before and something that my readers responded to.
The post worked for me on that blog both in connecting with readers and positioning itself for search engine traffic – however if I were to write the same post on my other blogs (for example ProBlogger or one of my Photography blogs) it would fall flat on it’s face and probably cause a reader backlash.
Perhaps in my video post I should have qualified my comments on this technique by encouraging readers to stick within their niche if they’re trying this topic.
So instead of just thinking in general terms about what the wider population will be searching for in a few weeks – think about the question in terms of your niche. This of course makes things harder for some blogs than others.
Don’t Compromise on Content Quality
The other thing that is worth considering on this topic is the quality of posts. I’ve seen a few bloggers take this idea and write posts that are stuffed with relevant keywords for a topic but which are of no use to their regular readers at all. The key is to create a post that is both well optimized for SEO but which more importantly is useful to readers by providing them with content that means something.
If you sacrifice on quality you’ll not only frustrate your current readers – but you’ll hurt your potential relationship with new ones when they search for information and then arrive at your blog post only to find rubbish. Provide them with great information and they’ll stick around and become loyal readers!
Want some examples?
Let me share a few of my own posts which will hopefully illustrate the point. These photography related posts all provide readers with something of worth – but are also reasonably well optimized for the keywords that search engine users search for at different times of the year. Together these four posts have brought in hundreds of thousands of search engine visitors over the past couple of years.
The key is to anticipate search traffic – but not to compromise on your reader experience.