How To Guestimate Keyword List Size Using Power Laws

Here’s a crazy one.

Wordtracker only shows keywords with at least 2 searches in a 90 period on Metacrawler, which can be more or less equated to the total searches each day on all engines.

I’ve found most targetted keyword niches exhibit more or less normal power-law curves (as opposed to Nielson’s drooping tail, when graphed double logarithmically against a true power law trendline, keyword lists often have slightly drooping heads). So, speaking very roughly the second term has half as much traffic as the first, the third has a third, the fourth a fourth and so on.

When you’re building a keyword list with wordtracker, the “end” of the tail for you will be where the keywords have only 2 searches. So using our understanding of power laws we can estimate that this 2 searches point is at keyword number N, where the traffic of the very first term divided by N is 2. If the most popular phrase in your list has 400 searches the power law curve would suggest keyword number 200 has 2 searches a day.

So a quick rule of thumb to guestimate keyword niche breadth is to divide the traffic of the first time in half.

I’ve seen it be a decent rough estimate in nearly every “normal” niche I’ve looked at.

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Comments and Links: Friends or Foes?

You have a modestly popular blog with a regular readership. Would you have a comment system on your blog, with lots of your fellow bloggers commenting in your posts, or would you rather shut off your comments to force links and trackbacks?

The question arose as I read How to spice up your comments area. has an extremely active comment system in relation to its feedburner-reported subscribers so yeah, Yvonne knows how to get a comment system rolling. But when we’re talking about leveraging the community-linking aspect of the blogosphere for SEO purposes, are comments self-defeating?

The topic has been covered before (I can’t find a reference right now) and I’m still not sure where I stand. Comment areas obviously increase repeat traffic, create a very loyal audience, and author lots of great content for your blog, but each comment is a reply that could have been written on a blog, boosting link popularity. I suppose it comes down to timing and needs. But changing comment policies like underwear isn’t likely to cultivate any sort of comment regulars.

I’ll take my chances, what do you guys think?

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My Duplicate Content Tool for Detection

Following my own advice (which some seem to have liked) I went and created a Duplicate Content Detector tool. Its still very beta (like all the other tools I’ve posted) but its simple and it works.

Enter your domain name, select which version is your primary domain (with the WWW or without it) and submit. The tool will compare the number of pages indexed for a set of searches in Google to check common duplicate content problem areas. If it finds any it will tell you what they are, how bad they are, and how to fix them. So give it a whirl and tell me how you like it, just please don’t try to break it too hard.

I talk more about these duplicate content problems in my upcoming book, too.

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Teaching Gets You Links

Copyblogger has piece on links and the sandbox for new blogs in Google.

The sandbox is often misconstrued (I’m sure Brian understands this correctly however) as a delay on newly registered domains. Its not, its a delay on the power of links to a site. That’s why its so important for new bloggers to get links before they can rank well in the search engines and garner traffic independant of its upstream sites. For SEO purposes a link is a seed that can be leveraged into greater traffic.

So you’ll need authority sites and in-content links. The most authority blogs and sites are probably not going to be participating in sponsored post type offers, so you’ll have to get more creative. A press release can help but the core of the story has to be strong to actually get authority links.

Its all about useful information, words you can use to do stuff. Like the old saying goes, everyone has an opinion, but not everyone can teach you to do something. Content is dead and resource is king.

Hack, tool, or how to, its has to be a platform. Simple and flexible.

And sexy.

You have to give the people what they want. Every blogger wants more traffic. Most people want more money. Or love, or convienance. If you teach them how to get what they want, you’ve gained a reader. And probably links, lots of them.

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Parasite SEO and Search Activism

One greyhat SEO technique that has been given new life with the inflation of web2.0 is parasite SEO. The idea is simple, you post an optimized message on an open web site that already ranks well, eventually your content can rank for specific terms. Wikipedia, Craigslist, Digg, Delicious and various blogs’ comments immediately come to mind as potential hosts.

The problem is that it can be difficult to include links to some monetization setup. If your only goal is to broadcast a message on a specific search term, as could be the case with search activism.

You’ve probably heard of hacktivism. Well intentioned hackers break into organizations for political reasons Usually cheap website defacements are the result. Search activism is similar, you’re using the spring board of search traffic to spread an idea rather than to makes sales.

So the make perfect vaguely reprehensible partners, parasite SEO and search activism. Learn which open websites appear already for the term you want to rank on, like say Phil Knight (or just try all of them, especially the ones mentioned above), and put a chunk of a few hundred words of optimized content. If the host page has a lot of existing content (like a comment on a blog post) you may need to either increase the amount of total content you post, or repeat the keyword(s) more often.

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Top 8 SEO Plugins for WordPress

Building on yesterday’s post about tips to make your blog rank better, here’s the plugins you’ll need to impliment that functionality. If I missed anything or there are better alternatives, please let me know.

  1. Optimal Title make sure your post titles occur at the begining of each permalink page’s title tag.
  2. Related Entries Deep linking baby.
  3. Google Sitemap Generator probably won’t make you rank better, but does provide good info.
  4. Sociable leverage social networks and parasite SEO, in a non-spammy way of course.
  5. yes-WWW add the WWW to all requests (using an SEO friendly 301 redirect) I use no-WWW (see below).
  6. no-WWW you know the drill.
  7. Top Posts intelligent deep linking, baby (thanks Derek).
  8. Permalink Redirect use handy 301’s to prevent clean permalink URLs don’t cause duplicate content issues.

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New Planet Names

So there’s gonna be some new planets. Check
Keeping true to history and the Skinny J’s pluto is in fact a planet. Check.
Cool new planet names?

Acceptance of the new definition of a planet, however, would mean that three other tiny celestial bodies would have to be welcomed into the solar fold – Ceres, Charon, and UB 313, which has been dubbed Xena, after the television heroine. [Emphasis Mine]

Wow, really? We’re going to name a planet after a television show about a fictitous, ancient (and mostly magic) warrior?


So I propose we call it not Ceres, but Chuck Norris.
And get that motherfucking ‘n’ off that motherfucking Charon.

Coochi Coochi.

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10 Tips To Make Your Blog Rank Better

  1. Do keyword research and know which search terms drive the big traffic
  2. Make sure your target keyword appears once in the post title and at least once in the body of the post
  3. Make sure your post title appears first in the title tag on its permalink page
  4. Make sure your post title appears in a heading tag in the HTML
  5. Link out to other blogs, a lot. Eventually they’ll link back
  6. Redirect all URL requests without WWW to the WWW version of the page (or vice versa)
  7. Use clean URLs
  8. Link back to old posts in the body of new posts
  9. Put links to your most popular posts in your sidebar
  10. Put links to related posts at the end of every post

I expand on these tips and much more in my upcoming ebook: SEO for Bloggers.

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Scraping SERPs vs APIs

Yet another great post today, this one from SEOmoz is about the problems and choices presented to SEOs by search engines because of their API and automated scraping policies.

I admit it. SEOmoz is a search engine scraper – we do it for our free public tools, for our internal research and we’ve even considered doing it for clients (though I’m seriously concerned about charging for data that’s obtained outside TOS). Many hundreds of large firms in the search space (including a few that are 10-20X our size) do it, too. Why? Because search engine APIs aren’t accurate.

I’m right there with randfish on this. I’ve developed some tools that scrape Google SERP data and return some awesome stuff, but I’m worried about publishing them for public consumption because of course, scraping is against TOS, and the APIs aren’t accurate. I really wish I could get access to real SERP data without pissing off the big G. I’m pretty sure there is some worry about reverse engineering or something that prevents them from allowing us access to this.
Who knows, maybe I’ll take my chances and release the tools, they are pretty sweet.

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