Panning for traffic, predicting keywords for digital gold.

July 31, 20110 Comments
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The web has never been more exciting and filled with opportunity. I personally believe that we are living in a time that is the digital equivalent of the gold rush, with it never being a better time to establish a site, and build an online business that will continue to grow in value.

Online advertising spend is continuing to grow, with a new forecast from eMarketer putting online ad spending at $31.3 billion this year. The new forecast predicts that online ad spending will reach nearly $50 billion by 2015. With that spending comes a massive opportunity for businesses online.  To make an impact though, you have to grow an audience, and traffic to capitalise on that, and building an audience is hard. Especially from a standing start.

It requires time, dedication and often money to drive your site forward, with great content, and promotion that makes a difference to your bottom line. Many site owners, and their content focus is placed in the wrong direction, with the foolhardy assumption that you can just write any old content and Google (and an online audience) will suck it up.

‘Google loves fresh content’ – is one of the common misconceptions that I often hear bandied about, by designers, developers and by online marketeers, as some kind of magic bullet that will provide traffic to your site, or improve your SEO overall.  The truth of the matter, is that Google don’t give a toss about fresh content. You can generate new and fresh content every day for a year quite easily by syndicating others – it doesn’t mean you’ll rank for it. Which makes complete sense. They do however, care about links – and only great content generates links.  

This diagram perfectly illustrates what I’m talking about. Via the guys at DataDial, it shows exactly what the majority of site owners do with regards to content. Mainly due to the above mentioned misconception, only ‘filler’ rather than killer content is created. Their post is a must read in it’s own right.

You can see that different types of content are more than others to generate links to your site, and in turn, lift the sites results organically.

There is however one other fantastic technique which you can use to generate both traffic and links without going down the traditional link bait and content seeding route. It’s an obvious technique used by bloggers and across major sites on the web, and if you are looking to pull in hoards of fresh visitors to your site, it works like a dream – and it works inside every niche.

Using the simple keyword grab technique.

Like a mini economy, search keywords on the web rise and fall in popularity. As services are released or new developments occur, the demand for knowledge on those topics changes, and so too does the traffic related to these keywords and phrases. In the tech industry, these micro changes occur at breakneck speed, on a daily basis.

Let me give you a more focused example of what I’m talking about.

Many of my regular readers will be aware that recently I’ve written a series of posts on Google+, to the point where you are probably bored to tears by now, but they were relatively well received. It’s no accident that you have witnessed my own landgrab on this newly released service. The reason for that editorial decision is a very simple one, and the thinking behind it one of the simple techniques you can apply to your own traffic growth.

Firstly, there’s a massive amount of interest on this service out there on the web, and secondly there’s lower competition on a number of keywords due to the fact that its new! This allows me to establish this site as one of the players in the ‘Google+’ space, and reap the benefits of the associated traffic.

The downside of this technique is that keyword research techniques that you would typically employ to find out what visitors are hungry for, and what articles to write no longer apply. Fresh markets on the web are often lucrative, but because the path has not been trodden for very long, they are also extremely low in keyword research data. So how do I work out where the demand will be, and what articles to write?

Simple again – history repeats itself online. 

Google+ was a piece of cake to find out what demand would crop up, all I had to do was research the keywords that have become lucrative across other social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, and apply them to Google+.

With my previous experience in seeing traffic when users migrate from one service to another - I predicted that there would be at least some level of demand for making the switch between Google+ and Facebook. So I wrote a guide on how to export your contacts out of Facebook and Twitter over to Google+. That article picked up links from Techcrunch, and continues to pull in a good stream of traffic.  I found that keywords such as (servicename review) are popular when something new is launched, and people rush to find out more about. (See my Google+ review) post.

With the lack of links for Google to determine relevance for ‘new’ keyword terms, it leaves the space wide open. The query deserves freshness algorithm also comes into play, giving you an artificial bump in traffic if there happens to be alot of activity around the keyword in question. Many of the larger blogs on the web do their best to carve themselves out new and developing niche’s as they occur using this technique, with the reporting and research they perform often second guessing where the traffic may lie. Take a look at this example of second guessing by ReadWriteWeb. Then take a look at where they now rank organically for the term.

There’s gold in them thar hills.

You can use this technique easily yourself, regardless of your chosen niche to predict where traffic is going to shift, move and evolve. For example, there is a massive opportunity for anyone in a sports related niche to start establishing themselves by writing content for the upcoming Olympics in 2012 now, as there will undoubtedly be demand when that rolls around. With keyword domains having such prominence in Google search you can see the same land grab occurring for domain names.

The same can be applied to any site by thinking about upcoming events, or any future event that you hear about, and trying to second guess where the demand for that product, event or website will be, and simply staking your claim early enough for it to make a positive impact on your traffic somewhere along the line.

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About the Author ()

Paul is a regular 30 year old web bloke / programmer with a penchant for online marketing. This blog is a personal outlet, with an eclectic mix of articles.

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