Tag Archives: Google

Trick to Keyword Research

Whether your are new to writing online to make money, or you have been using your online writing skills for profit for a long time, you probably have put some thought into keyword research.

Keyword research is the act of looking at various keywords and key phrases to determine if they will be profitable, or effective keywords for your particular websites. Depending upon your goals, your keyword targets may be very flexible, or absolutely necessary. Either way, it’s nice to know what your task looks like before you get started.

Problem With Keyword Research

The problem with keyword research is that you already have to do something about the keywords you are after before you can do it.

For example, if you write a personal financial advice blog, you would need to already have some idea of what keywords you are targeting because just typing in “financial advice” or something like that isn’t likely to generate much in the way of usable keyword research. Instead, you’ll need to know how to narrow down large keywords. After all, you could spend a lifetime trying to rank for “life insurance” and while that would certainly, eventually, be profitable, in the meantime you could be missing out on much more viable keywords.

The trick in keyword research is that so much of the information out there focuses on how to refine, or pick from, an already well generated keyword research list. But, how do you get to a good keyword target list in the first place?

keyword research google planner

One common tool many people use is the Google Keyword Planner. It is technically a tool to find the keywords for paid ad campaigns, but it’s also a good way to find out what people are searching for, and how many are searching for it. You need an Adwords Account to use it, but it is free (you never actually have to run a campaign).

However, the two main keyword tools require you to have some idea of what keywords you want to research, and the closer you are to the actual keywords you want to rank for, the better.

For example, if our finance blog wanted to target retirement planning, what would the best keywords be?

Just typing “retirement planning” in the Google Keyword Planner gets you a long list of keywords, but are any of them useful for your needs? For example, the keyword retirement calculator seems to have a lot of high priced searches, but is also a very competitive term with numerous retirement calculators from well-known brands out there. Your chance of ranking for that term and profiting from it with online writing is slim.

But, it is a starting point.

Now put “retirement calculator” back in the keyword planner tool. Only a handful of more specific tools come up, and each of those has a search volume of around 10 per month.

Here is the trick to keyword research. I know from experience that there are terms around the subject of a retirement planning calculator that

  • a) can be ranked for
  • b) get more than 10 searches per month
  • c) are profitable, but nowhere near the CPC listed for the keywords on Google Keyword Planner
  • (No, I won’t tell you what they are.)

So, what gives?

The issue is that the Google Keyword Planner is not designed for making money with online writing. It is made for people to start and run ad campaigns. These are two different goals.

In order to make money online with writing, you want people to find your content, visit it, and then click an ad.

In order to make money running ads, you want all the people who might buy, or otherwise do what you want them to do, to click on your ad.

See the difference?

The right ad keyword should target people all over the web if they are reading about the kinds of things that you have useful information or products for.

The right keyword to make money online is the one that gets people from a search engine to choose your particular webpage and then click that ad, hopefully after finding some good information. In fact, it would be just as good as a writer, or publisher, if people came to your website for one thing, clicked a link for another thing and clicked a completely unrelated ad.

As a smaller publisher, your best bet are what are known as long-tail keywords. In general, these are more specific keywords. These keywords are often longer. For example, “life insurance” is a high-traffic keyword, and potentially profitable, but it will take you a lot of effort to rank for it.

On the other hand, denver life insurance is slightly less competitive, more specific, and more likely to generate ad clicks. Even better might be something like denver electrician life insurance. (They get it through the union, so this isn’t actually better, but you get the idea.)

But, and this is the key, no matter what keywords you stick in the Google Keyword Planner, it will almost never come back with something like denver electrician life insurance. In fact, while four or five word keywords can be gravy in many situations, the keyword planner (and other keyword research tools) tend to stick with two and three-word key phrases.

Keyword Research for Writers

As a writer, your ace in the hole is that as you generate content, you will be able to see what kind of content and keywords bring people to your website. Leverage that knowledge to fine tune your content on various topics.

We’ll get into just how you do that next.

 

 

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search spider index

Write Anything for Better Earnings and SEO

When you start trying to earn money by writing online, there are a lot of things to learn and keep straight. However, the most useful online writing tip to make money is the simplest.

Just write something.

Current and Fresh = Active and Used

When it comes to earning money from your website writing, the reality is that you are going to need traffic. In order to get traffic you’ll want to build and audience, and get subscribers, and develop and email list, and a bunch of other things. You’ll also want to show up in search engines when people look for content on your websites. This is where writing something, anything, is so important.

search spider indexThere are literally billions of webpages out there. The search engines, whether it’s Google, Bing, Yahoo, Duck Duck Go, or whatever else, all have to index and rank those pages in order for their search engines to work. They use programs called spiders to move around the web finding and indexing content. As you can imagine this is an intensive process.

In order to make it all work, the different search engines all have various shortcuts and algorithms that help them rank and index faster. Many of these tweaks are trade secrets, but one well known maneuver used by all search engines is noting the freshness, or current state of various websites and acting accordingly.

So, for example, if this website gets updated every day, the search engines will eventually decide that they need to come check and index new content every day or two. If this website gets updated monthly, they’ll notice that too. If it doesn’t really get updated at all for a while, they probably only show up when a new link points them this way.

More importantly, for most of your online money making endeavors, a fresh, or current website, counts much more ranking of the other websites the links point at. So, if you have a knitting website which links to your sewing website, the links from the knitting website are much more powerful if they are not considered to be coming from an inactive website.

While it is important that the content you are actually trying to get ranked highly, and that which you actually want to drive traffic to on all of your websites should be the highest quality, best effort you can manage, the posts necessary to keep your page “alive” in the minds of the search engines can be less inspired. No one is saying your posts should be low quality. However, not every post has to be an amazing, inspired idea. Write good quality posts, just write about those less in-depth things as well.

(Note: This assumes, as most things on this website do, that you are a good writer. A good writer’s efforts are often higher quality than a non-writers best effort.)

Keep your websites active by updating them on a regular basis, and watch your online writing portfolio increase its income and value. Otherwise, your ad revenue will dwindle, not just on the websites you are not updating, but on those that depend on the incoming links from those sites as well.

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AdSense Experiments Microposts

Earning money with AdSense relies primarily on getting enough traffic to make it work. If you get enough traffic, most of the rest works out on its own. Of course, that isn’t necessarily true for a large, multi-writer, website, but for us writers looking to make money writing online on our own, that’s how it works.

Check out my article about whether Credit Karma is legit or not.

Getting traffic is an ongoing effort. There are many ways to get traffic, but one of the most self-sustaining is to rank highly enough in search engine rankings to get traffic from people looking for your information. There are a lot of factors that go into search rankings, or SERPs. The most important is the number of links pointing at your individual pages. These are called backlinks, and Google and Bing count them to rank your page.

micropostTo keep people from making junk backlinks, the search engines have a lot of different filters, and value different links from different sources. They also tend to not rank certain types of webpages, including those that are very short. Some say that nothing under 300 words will generally show up. Others say 500 words is the minimum.

Either way, if you aren’t looking to rank that particular page, then does a smaller post still have value?

Certainly, a small post can have value for your readers, and it may be that search engines do count them for other factors, such as the “freshness” of your site, or even the backlinks that come off of those posts.

I wrote about microposts over on my freelance writing blog, but since they have the potential to increase earnings, I thought I’d put some thoughts down here as well.

I’ll keep you posted.

 

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AdSense Earnings Drop During the Day

Over the last year or two, I’ve moved a lot of my efforts and focus to my more passive income type earnings online, versus just concentrating on my online freelance writing business. One of the facets of making money writing online is advertising. The simplest online ad system is Google AdSense.

AdSense Earnings Adjusted Same Day

Google’s AdSense program has a lot of moving parts. However, recently, I’ve noticed an uptick in a certain quirk related to earnings.

First, Google adjusts your earnings as an AdSense publisher all the time. The most noticeable adjustment occurs every month when your “Estimated Earnings” is converted into the actual earnings they are going to pay out to you. On the second or third day of a new month, Google will post the actual amount you are getting paid. This number is almost always smaller than the estimated earnings you have been shown all month long. For me, it’s usually a pretty insignificant amount, a rounding error, really.

falling adsense earningsDuring the month, if your ad clicks are particularly worthless not converting well, you may be “smart priced” which is a fancy way of saying that the amount you are getting paid per click will be lowered. This keeps advertisers from trying to cut off certain publishers and potentially costing Google revenue. There is no notification that you have been smart priced, nor is this really something talked about on the publisher (AdSense) side. It’s actually something more readily mentioned on the advertiser side (AdWords). Either way, it’s real and it happens, but it usually requires comparing time frames to see it happen.

Honestly, I don’t really have a lot of experience with Smart Pricing. Either it’s been happening to me from the very beginning, or it just doesn’t happen to me enough for me to notice.

AdSense Earnings Dropping Intraday

What I haven’t seen a whole lot of, in my experience, has been Google adjusting your earnings in real-time, or within the same day. However, lately, I’ve started to notice downward earnings adjustments on some of my accounts.

Check out my look at whether Credit Karma is a scam.

To begin, let me just admit that I check my AdSense account a lot. Honestly, I probably check it too much. On the other hand, it’s so easy to just make a quick click in between projects, phone calls, or meetings. I don’t take the time to necessarily drill down into the data, but I do like watching the amount of money I’m earning online go up and up. I also use channels, ad groups, and site by site reports to keep a rather detailed eye on which sites are making what money, and when.

Which brings me to today’s issue.

Recently, I’ve noticed that sometimes a particular website will report something like $67 for the day so far. Then, 30 minutes later, when I check the same channel on the same website, the earnings will have dropped to something like $53. The RPM will have dropped too. Again, I haven’t drilled into this phenomenon a lot (yet), because this is when I’m supposed to be earning money online by doing other stuff, but it would appear that the CPC has been revised downward, not the number of clicks.

What is odd about this is the time frame. I’ve never seen these almost real-time adjustments before. Typically, you either get a lower CPC and you never really notice it unless it is less than previous days, or they adjust your earnings down at the end of the month. I’ve never known Google to lower your earnings midday like this.

I’ll have to do some more digging, I guess.

Has this happened to anyone else? Am I finally being smart-priced, and this is just how it looks? Has Google updated the way AdSense works so that it make quicker, smaller adjustments during the day rather than bigger. all at once adjustments at the end of the month? 

Leave a comment if you have thoughts.

 

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