Friday, January 15, 2010

SEO Tips for Birders- Keyword Research

In my last post I covered the titles of your blog posts and how you should include the most important words at the beginning of your titles. However, I didn't mention how to determine what the most important words should be. That brings us to my next SEO Tip for Birders- keyword research.

SEO Tip for Birders: When doing keyword research identify words that a lot of people are searching for, but that you also have a chance of showing up on- it's a fine balance.

There are many ways to generate ideas for your primary keyword phrase (the word/phrase you want to put at the beginning of your blog post title, and include in the body of your post), and your secondary keyword phrases (related terms that should be sprinkled throughout your blog post).

Here are just a few ways to generate ideas for your targeted keyword phrases:

1. Your content: If you have a picture of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker then by all means choose it as your primary keyword phrase! In addition to the names of rare species, popular birding spots, birding clubs, and "celebrity" birder encounters all make for good primary and secondary keyword phrases.


2. Bird news: Subscribe to RSS feeds for bird-focused blogs and websites, follow birders on Twitter and ChirpTracker, and generally be on the lookout for bird-centric content in mainstream news outlets. I'm fortunate that my daily paper, The Cape Cod Times, has a dedicated bird columnist, Vernon Laux, and bird-centric stories outside of his regular column often make it into the paper. Join the Birders who Blog, Tweet, and Chirp group to connect with other birders active in the Web 2.0 community.

Source: Dawn Fine-

3. Keyword Suggestion Tools: There are many free SEO tools available online, including keyword research tools. Use keyword suggestion tools to explore a bird topic you're interested in blogging about. Tools like the Google Keyword Tool can generate ideas based off a single topic or a URL. Since birding is a very specific hobby, consider using a niche keyword tool like WordStream's Keyword Niche Finder. Simply type in a broad term like "woodpeckers" and the tool will suggest various "niches" and topic areas to explore.

So if the first phase of keyword research is generating ideas, the second phase should be vetting your keyword ideas, since you're likely to have a huge list at the end of your research. To do this:

1. Get the estimated search volume for the keywords you are considering. If you've been using a keyword suggestion tool you should already have this information. Sort the list from highest to lowest volume keyword phrases. This way you can focus your efforts on the what people are searching for the most.

2. Even better, search trends for the topics you're exploring. Google Trends, and Bing xRank will help you catch a topic while it's hot and lots of people are searching for it.

3. Scan the list for topic ideas that make sense for you and check out the search engine results. Use the major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! to evaluate the number of results returned for a keyword phrase (the higher the number, the less chance you have of showing up on it), and also what sites show up on the first page of search engine results (sites like Wikipedia,, and Cornell Lab of Ornithology make for stiff competition).

4. Pick your primary keyword phrase (to go at the beginning of your blog post title). If the competition for a keyword phrase is too great, get creative! Say you checked out "downy woodpecker" in the major search engines and doubt your blog will stand a chance. Why not choose "difference between downy woodpecker and hairy woodpecker" for your primary keyword phrase? I did, and I'm ranking above Cornell Lab of Ornithology on that query!

Next week's SEO Tip for Birders will be about image optimization.


Anonymous said...

Genial brief and this mail helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you for your information.

John (Tucker) said...

This is great stuff Birding Girl. Blogging is so new to me that even your simply straight forward explantion is above my knowledge. I will have to spend some time reading over you suggestions again. It really is great stuff. I hope you have logs of hits because these are great for both amateurs and pros alike. Hope to see you at the SSBC annual meeting.

Birdinggirl said...

Glad to hear this was helpful!

@John- I hope you find this useful- these tips and recommendations can be easily customized to match your blog's needs.

Seo Optimization said...

Thanks for the some value stuff...

Good informative post.

Dawn Fine said...

Excellent tips!

Birdinggirl said...

@Dawn- thanks! glad to hear you liked it. Not that your blog needs any help...It's a fact that simply having good content (good posts) goes quite a long way when it comes to ranking highly in the search engines. But my tips will help people trying to get found on a particular bird species (or specific topic).