Niche phrases the key to keywords


Regular readers may recall that a couple of months ago I was experimenting with techniques to improve my blog’s position in Google search results. It’s a process called search engine optimisation, for those of you who aren’t one of the internet’s 4.5 billion SEO ‘experts’.

To recap, my efforts amounted to:

  • Posting articles with links to my blog on affiliate sites like
  • Getting my site indexed so Google knew I existed.
  • Stuffing articles full of ‘search keywords’ that I’d arbitrarily selected during 30-second fits of whimsy.

Early results weren’t promising. In fact I’d say my first month’s work was about as futile as the time I was told the way to any girl’s heart was the chat up line: ‘What’s your middle name? Mine’s Wesley, it can’t be any worse than that.’

Eventually the internet’s version of the desperate minger threw me a bone, as I rather over-excitedly revealed in this post. My blog about playing football at school had caught the attention of the search engines, and the search term ‘what are the rules of middle school football’ brought me a visitor.

At the time I attributed the success to finally getting my site indexed by Google, and results since then seem to back this up. Since this formative victory, traffic from search engines has gradually increased, to the point where I now get about a dozen visitors a day from Google and its less celebrated colleagues.

What is interesting is the type of searches that are bringing me visitors. As a copywriter, I had tried putting lots of copywriting ‘keywords’ into some posts – words people would type when looking for this website like ‘copywriter,’ ‘writer,’ ‘words’ etc.

But these had absolutely no effect – they’re already taken by bigger and more established websites. As an experiment I tagged the post below this one with Michael Jackson, to see if his posthumous popularity would bring me any readers. It didn’t – though people are searching for MJ, they’re being sent to far more popular sites than this one.

What has been successful is the unusual phrases I’d unwittingly included in my blogs. Here’s just a few of the subjects Google considers me an expert in:

  • ‘Libertie, egalitie, fraternity’ – included here
  • ‘Most boring tweets’ – included here
  • ‘Cockney baiting’ – included here
  • ‘Internet paedophiles’ – this was a worry. But the phrase is in this post about the worst date ever

So what have I learnt? I guess the main thing is that if you’re looking to increase traffic to a site, you need to find yourself a niche you can make your own. I’ve also learnt that the niche you end up getting is often not the one you thought you would. Finally, I’ve learnt that SEO is a strange mistress, and that if you are looking for a mistress, you’re probably better off sticking to the ladies. Just don’t tell them your middle name is Wesley.


4 responses to “Niche phrases the key to keywords

  1. The joy of long-tail search phrases eh? If you’re looking to rank on keywords to do with copywriting, you might want to throw “blog” in there. You won’t usurp Copyblogger from the top spot, but you might get some good traffic.

  2. Yeah it is very difficult to rank highly for competitive terms without putting a lot of effort in on the link building side of things. A good stepping stone technique is what Andy touched on; including your main phrase within a long tail phrase. So instead of “copywriting” have “copywriting blog” – which should result in more instant listings, but should gradually get you listed for your main term too.

    It’s good to experiment though – it’s what I’m doing constantly on my blog! I’m enjoying your articles, keep it up 🙂

  3. Truthful words, some true words man. You made my day!

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