When I first started selling products online, back in 2003, I had to guess at what keywords my customers would search for. My sales page kicked ass, but everything on the “technical side” of selling products online was different back in 2003.
Here is a Wayback Machine capture of my dadwon.com sales page from December 4, 2003. Hand coded HTML, CGI scripts in Perl, password download section, payment processing through a bank. It was a nightmare, but I made it happen.
From a keyword perspective, I focused on the big fish. I targeted high volume keywords like “divorce” because that was my overarching audience.
Analysis of my Apache (my webserver) log files showed that low search volume keywords converted the best – long tail keywords associated with divorce.
Focused content for a niche audience.
So I created content, not a ton of it, but a small set of highly focused content, that was optimized with the correct splash of low search volume keywords. These were the pages that ended up ranking the highest, got the most traffic from Google, and converted the best.
Less traffic ended up coming to my site, and that was OK. My bounce rates decreased significantly, more pages viewed, and I sold more copies of my book.
Necking down worked like a champ.
I’m absolutely horrible at internet marketing.
I’ve already screamed to the world that I Suck At Search Engine Optimization so might as well let it all out.
But hey, I’m comfortable with that.
How do I know I’m horrible at internet marketing? Because I don’t do half the stuff that the “Internet Marketing” experts say that we should do, like capture emails, send people into funnels, create freebies, and send a bunch of emails. Maybe if I did all that stuff I would see a boost in my online sales.
But I don’t want to annoy the shit out of my readers with pop-ups, pop-unders, hovering banners, and “Click Here To Continue Reading” that I always miss and end up clicking on an ad.
Those sorts of sites have something in common. They are huge media sites that buy a ton of traffic from CNN, Fox News, MSNBS, CBS, etc. (which speaks volumes about “news” sites). They spend a lot of money to get your attention and they know ads will get clicked.
Paid traffic, click bait, and black hat SEO? No, thank you.
But even if I wanted to have a glitzy shit show of a site, I can’t afford to buy the traffic needed to make it worth my time.
I’m a one man show.
I focus on finding low volume, long tail keywords: CPC above $5, competition and keyword complexity below 30, and search volume around 100-1000 per month.
Back when I started online marketing in 2003, it was the wild west. Not that many SEO tools existed to help discover the keywords users were searching for. Today, a lot of these tools are free. Google provides a keyword tool on their Ads platform, Serpstat is awesome, and I love everything about Moz.
I have a pretty basic keyword research tool on my company site, NicheHQ, that you can use for free. No promises, but it’s yours to use however you’d like. It’s easy, so I point my customers to it to start their discovery process if they don’t have a tool they already like to use.
Shameless plug: I do local SEO work for small to medium sized companies in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area.
Low search volume keywords are the entry point of the discovery process.
My hobby is discovering niches that others might have overlooked, finding out what that community is looking for, using that information to create a persona on my target audience, and finding products and services to sell that community.
I create simple websites that deliver targeted and highly relevant information.
My visitors are ready to buy, subscribe, or click through. And I don’t have to trick them or spam them to make it happen.
Start big, then go small. And keep getting smaller.
It’s an upside down pyramid.
Maybe I’m not that bad at internet marketing after all.