Recently, I migrated this blog from WordPress.com to my own website; hence, it’s change in location to http://birminghampoint.co/blog. I did this to have greater control over its content, not to mention also help bring traffic to my fledgling site, which I’m slowly building.
Now seemed like a good time to clean things up, and devise better strategies for managing my content, including aspects of search engine optimization (SEO). So with that in mind, I went about abstracting a set of keywords relevant to much of what I write about here. What exactly do I write about? Well, mostly the preservation of old homes and how to make them more energy efficient without destroying their character. Also, historic timber frames, a big interest of mine that ties in with the previous topic. These are the things I obsess about these days, and they drive much of my written self-expression.
I collected a total of 102 keywords and used the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to determine the relative frequency with which each is searched on the Internet. For a submitted word or phrase, the Keyword Tool returns the number of times that item is searched for on a monthly basis, on average, both globally, and also locally to some geographic region (I used the U.S., of course, as my geographic region). It also returns counts for slight variations on each keyword, as well as for certain related words and phrases.
The idea is that, for keywords that make the most sense for your content, you generally (though not always) want to use those with the highest search counts. On any given web page, both your <title> and <description> tags should include some reasonable selection of the most frequently searched keywords that are relevant to that page’s content or objective. In the case of a blog post, the best performing keywords should be included in the post title and written content. In WordPress, they should also from the basis for categories and tags, since these are fundamental drivers of WordPress SEO. On the other hand, keywords should only be used judiciously, and in contextually meaningful ways. Search engines can detect pages that have been gratuitously overloaded with keywords, and will avoid giving them good rankings.
I collected my candidate keywords in a spreadsheet, along with their global and local search counts. I did this so I could easily sort my list by any of these attributes to help me in making my selections. Here is a sample of 24 of the 102 keywords I analyzed, sorted by global, and then U.S., monthly counts:
|Keyword||Global Monthly (x1000)||U.S. Monthly (x1000)|
|Home Energy Performance||1.9||1.6|
|Deep Energy Retrofits||0.48||0.39|
|Deep Energy Retrofit||0.39||0.32|
Some results are as expected. Others are not. Some are even highly counter-intuitive. For example, it’s probably no big surprise that popular phrases like “Restoration”, “Solar Energy”, and “Sustainability”, rank fairly high. Many people search daily for these terms, for reasons that might or might not be connected to home energy. On the other hand, I never would’ve expected “Energy Efficient” to out rank “Energy Efficiency” by a factor of 2.2 to 1 in searches performed in the U.S. This tells me people are twice as likely to search for energy efficient products (“energy efficient windows”, “energy efficient mortgages”, etc.), than for “energy efficiency” as a general topic.
Also, it didn’t surprise me that “Old House” out ranks “Historic Home”, but it was surprising to find that “Historic Homes” (a simple variant on the same keyword) highly out ranks the singular “Historic Home”, by a factor of 3.3 to 1 in the U.S.
Yet another interesting result was how “Timberframing” (as a compound word) well out ranks “Timber Framing”. In fact, “Timber Framing”, oddly, is searched for much less frequently than any of the other variations I investigated, such as “Timber Frame”, “Timber Framers”, “Timber Framed”, etc. This highlights the need to carefully consider analytic results when choosing your keywords, especially ones with many popular variations.
Finally, some highly technical terms, like “Embodied Energy”, and “Deep Energy Retrofit”, have extremely low search counts. Does this mean these particular keywords should be avoided? No, not at all. In this case, the esoteric nature of these terms means that most of the population is unaware of them, and isn’t searching for them on the Internet. Most people publishing and searching for content on “Embodied Energy”, “Deep Energy Retrofits”, etc., are practitioners working in these areas. Specialized keywords with very low search frequencies often are the best choice for connecting you with an equally specialized, target audience.
Since many of my friends and colleagues also write about these, or related, topics (especially home energy efficiency and performance), I’ve made my complete list available below. Any one who finds my results useful should feel free to re-use them, or incorporate them into their own keyword analyses. Just keep in mind that you proceed at your own risk in doing so. Also, the search counts here will naturally change over time, and I might not necessarily update any of these documents in the future.