In my ongoing attempts to
takeover secure a spot for myself in the writing corner of the internet, I’ve been researching keywords. This fun little endeavor is part of my effort to find out what y’all want when it comes to writing and writing coaching.
(Brief, but very important aside: Tomorrow is the LAST day to take part in the survey I posted last week. Here’s the link: Another Contest: What Are Your Writing Problems? I had a flurry of activity when I first posted the contest, but since then nada. Zip. Zilch. Its depressing me, people. I’m looking for a last minute surge in entries here, so help me out. The prize is a free coaching session.)
Anybody who has ever done SEO (Search Engine Optimized) writing for the web is familiar with keywords. You’ll get a list of words which are usually very similar, like this:
Porcelain kitchen sinks
porcelain kitchen sinks
stainless steel kitchen sinks
steel kitchen sink
Usually there would be 10 or more, but enough already, you get the idea. Note the very subtle differences, for instance, kitchen is sometimes capitalized and sink is sometimes plural. This is because some intrepid soul has been going through and trying to figure out what the top search terms are for kitchen sinks.
This is a tedious process. I know because I spent last week doing it (in and around the ghostwriting). The best place to go for keyword research is Wordtracker. They are pretty cool–they give you a free seven-day trial and they make it really easy to cancel if you don’t want to pay them $59 a month to keep the service.
Amazingly enough, I was not researching kitchen sink words, but writing and coaching words. After about the 5,000th time I fed a word through I began to see some similar themes, mostly that people put really strange phrases into the search engines.
For instance, "novel writing priest." Does this mean anything to anyone? I actually googled it myself to see if there was some famous novel writing priest that I hadn’t heard about. But not as far as I could tell. However, "novel writing priest" has a KEI of 200, which is very good. (The KEI is the number of searches compared to websites the word appears on. You can get a word that has a ton of searches but also has a ton of websites devoted to it, and then its not a good keyword. The KEI uses some arcane formula to figure this out.)
Besides getting me mildly upset about the state of knowledge in this country ("tips for writing fiction novels," is one of my favorites–um, last time I checked all novels were fiction) this process also makes me feel like I’m missing out on stuff that everyone else knows. For instance, "101 very funny short stories," comes up very high. As does "nifty stories" and "exotic short stories." Is there some popular short story series that I’ve missed?
(And do not even get me started on sex stories. I finally gave up putting anything remotely related to the word story in the search engine because it only returned 50 thousand variations on searches for sex stories.)
But the cool thing about it is that you really can start to get a sense of what kind of information people are looking for. They seem to be desperate for info on writing feature stories, for instance. And there is great clamoring for advice on writing outlines for plot.
So, you’ll be seeing more basic articles on this blog in the near future, as I attempt to stake out my corner of the writing world.
I promise, though, I will not write an article about a novel writing priest. Unless someone wants to introduce me to one. The phrase has an awfully high KEI.