Writing Keyword Focused Posts that are Interesting

One of my constant criticisms of bloggers and the blogosphere in general is the sacrifice of keyword focus and the traffic it could bring when bloggers are more lyrical with their prose than they need to be.

In my opinion that post meets the goal of being interesting while talking about a commercial subject…

Last week I was reading an article in USA today (on my iPad) and came across an article that shows you can do both. Take a look at this article on five concerts you should see this summer before we get started. The article discusses five artists, the shows they are putting on, and why you should see them. They even go so far as to talk about ticket prices (without putting links to buy the tickets … missed opportunity right there). However, the author discusses why they feel these shows are worth spending hard earned money to see. The article isn’t an attack or flame piece, but it does express an opinion. In my opinion, that post meets the goal of being interesting while talking about a commercial subject.

If I were running a site, I would have executed this slightly differently. First, I would have written individual pieces about each of the 5 shows in more detail. These pieces would have some character and opinion but would be optimized for for phrases like “Justin Bieber Concert Tickets.” I like to use scribe SEO (see scribe SEO review) to make sure my posts are focused, but you can use any tool you like.

Next, I would have created an article like the one in USA Today. This piece would have had some keyword focus but would have a lot more editorial value. This article wouldn’t be optimized for any keyword; in reality, it would be closer to a piece of link bait. What you are really trying to do is create an article people want to share on stumbleupon, Digg, or Twitter, or a post that makes readers want to leave comments–if you haven’t turned them off, of course. Then I would link to each of the individual posts using anchor text like “Justin Bieber concert.”

This is a strategy I call head and tail content. After the post has gotten the majority of its traffic and hopefully built a few links, you need to go back and make an adjustment: change the anchor text to the tail pieces to “Justin Bieber concert tickets.” This secondary change takes the link equity you have built and uses it to your maximum benefit. The reason you do it later is to maximize the page’s link building potential. If you started out with the links that are overtly commercially-motivated, you build less links in my experience.

So what are the takeaways here?

  • Create your tail pieces first and keep them focused on a commercial keyword phrase
  • Create the head piece with focus on creating good interesting content first. Don’t ignore KWDs but don’t focus on them
  • Interlink the head and tail articles on publication
  • After the head has gained links and traffic slows down, focus the anchor text used to connect to the tail pieces

photo credit: Mad House Photography

testing for Alex Bennert

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