How to increase visitors without using keywords
Without really trying I have managed to achieve a very good ranking for the keywords ‘website navigation guidelines’ and it’s variants. I was quite pleased with my achievement until I carried out some analysis on the site. Despite the great ranking, most of the traffic arrives via a strange mix of search terms. Which has led me to out of my keyword comfort zone and into the unknown world of user behaviour.
Users are not automatons. They click anywhere they damn well please and type any old thing into the search box. Here’s a few examples of searches that ended up on my website navigation article:
- guideline menu navigation
- website menu guidelines
- website navigation articles
- homepage navigation design
- top navigation bar on websites
- primary navigation system for a web site
- programming “layered navigation”
- website navigation cloud
- effective websites menu bar
- seo, breadcrumbs guidelines
- position breadcrumbs
- son of suckerfish inline
- what is bread crumbs website design
- navigation bar seo primary secondary pages
- heiracal (sic)
- breadcrumb trail for easy site navigation
- guidelines for breadcrumbs
Can you spot the keywords? I can’t. There is a sort of repeated theme do do with navigation but it seems that every search is different. The visitor doesn’t care about your carefully research keyword strategy, your coveted number 1 position in the index for ‘knitted giraffe blankets’, or even your wonderful writing style. All they care about is the answer to their query.
I could claim to have optimised the page for these terms but I didn’t. All I did was write the article, add the headers, page title and description and upload the thing. I then promptly forgot all about it. This page is now the second most popular on the site despite my apparent lack of interest. But this is not important, in my enlightened state of awareness I have concluded that keywords don’t matter.
Hmm. Might have to rephrase that a bit. Try this: your keywords are not my keywords.
This has led me to believe that keyword research only has limited potential. I don’t think there is any way I could have predicted what search terms people would use and I’m not so sure it would have helped. If I had done some extensive research then I wouldn’t have written the article the way I did, it would have been focused on those blasted keywords instead of the useful navigation guide that it is.So what’s my conclusion. Keyword analysis is a good place to start but it should not become an obsession, you need to be aware that people have their own set of keywords and will use them in preference to your own. What you call a round widget they call a circular thingy.