From: Ken McGaffin, Linking Matters
To: Susan Webster, Virginia Veg
There is an online marketplace around any business website made up of competitors, news sites, blogs, directories, and many others. These sites are linked formally and informally. Establish your website with keyword-rich links from quality sites within the marketplace and you can dominate. The key is to know the words and phrases people use when searching for your products and then using them to plan your website’s internal and external link structure.
When I worked in the center of Boston some years back, I’d often have lunch at Faneuil Hall – a food market bustling with restaurants and food outlets of every flavor. Sometimes, I’d leave the office knowing exactly where I was going and what I was going to eat. But most times I had no idea and I’d wander around until something took my fancy.
There were hundreds of people doing the same – attracted to Faneuil Hall not just by one restaurant but by the lively mix of many. Each restaurant or outlet benefited from being part of the collective whole.
The same type of clustering happens online. However, what binds websites together is not geographical location but the hyperlinks between them. There is an online marketplace around every business or topic area, and just as with the restaurants in Faneuil Hall, each individual website benefits from being part of the collective whole.
Understanding the language that people use and the words they enter into search engines is the key to mapping out this online marketplace. And once you’ve done that you can establish your competitive position within it.
And the beauty of online is that your business can exist in multiple marketplaces with each one being relevant to your core business.
Your query was about vegetarian dogs but why limit your market? There are nearly as many cats in the US as there are dogs, and this could potentially double your market.
For vegetarian pet food, there are several marketplaces you should explore:
- The first, of course, are the websites that already address this market. There are already quite a lot. This is good news because it confirms that a market does exist.
- The second is the market for general pet care. The people who populate this marketplace are already looking for products to care for their pets – you can give them the great news about your vegetarian pet food.
- The third is the vegetarian marketplace. Many vegetarians will be pet owners and ideal potential customers for your range of vegetarian pet food products.
Once you know the most popular keywords for each marketplace, you can conduct searches on Google to identify the websites that make up that marketplace.
Imagine someone searching for pet food. He’ll enter some keywords and browse through the results until he finds something interesting. He’ll find suppliers of pet food, sites that provide information and advice, and links to further resources. He’ll follow these links and find more suppliers and more information.
Now imagine hundreds of people searching for vegetarian pet food. Each will use different word combinations to find what they’re looking for and each will get slightly different results. But as they search and follow links, the same sites will come up regularly – these sites will tend to dominate the marketplace for vegetarian pet food.
Once you’ve identified these online marketplaces you can establish Virginia Veg’s position within them.
There are four steps:
- Build an initial set of keywords
- Conduct research on Google using these keywords
- Scan the sites returned in the results for more keywords and content ideas
- Build a definitive list of popular keywords and merge these with content ideas.
1. Build an initial set of keywords
Let’s start by brainstorming the obvious keyword phrases such as:
- dog food
- vegetarian dog food
- vegetarian cat food
- vegetarian pet food
- vegetarian dogs
- vegetarian cats
- vegetarian pets
- vegetarian diets
- vegetarian diets for dogs
- healthy diets for pets… and so on.
Some questions we might ask are: is “dog food” more popular than “dogfood”? Which is the most common, “dog food,” “cat food,” or “pet food”? Wordtracker can tell us:
|vegetarian cat food||15||13|
|vegetarian dog food||12||10|
|vegetarian pet food||7||6|
|vegetarian diets for dogs||0||0|
|healthy diet for pets||0||0|
Now that you’ve got your initial group of words it’s time to use the power of Google to discover the marketplace.
2. Conduct research on Google using these keywords
By doing searches using these keywords and analyzing the results, you can quickly build up a picture of the online marketplace. Here’s a tiny sample of the resources uncovered in our initial searches:
- Existing vegetarian pet food resources. You’re considering a new market that you know very little about so you’ve got to find out fast. Our research identified vegetarian dog food distributors and a list of commercial vegan dog and cat food suppliers. Verona re-Bow and Jonathan Dune have published a book, Vegetarian Dogs, and you can also find a discussion forum at VegPets.com.
- Pet care and animal welfare. People who use these sites will place a high priority on the health of their pets. Sites include HelpingAnimals.com, which has conducted a Dog Health Study of 300 vegetarian dogs.
- Vegetarians. Vegetarians provide a ready-made and substantial online community that will be interested in your products. Our searches uncovered sites such as the Vegetarian Society, which has published a guide (“Dogs – a Vegetarian Diet?”), and the Vegetarian Network of Australia, which has published “Why Feed a Vegetarian Diet to Pets?”
3. Scan the sites returned in the results for more keywords and content ideas
Browse the sites you have identified and draw up two lists in note form:
- The keyword phrases they use.
- Ideas for content and articles that you could write.
Look for news stories, important issues, debates, concerns, posts in forums, and discussion groups. Sign up for any interesting newsletters that you find.
What issues are making the headlines? What are the people who are interested in vegetarian dog food talking about? What language do they use?
In everything you find, look for more keywords and for links to more resources.
After this exercise, you’ll have:
- a much expanded list of keywords
- a clear picture of the competition you’ll face online
- many portals and news sites that could link to your website
- lots of ideas for the content you’ll need to persuade those sites to link.
4. Build a definitive list of popular keywords and merge these with content ideas
Enter your newly expanded list of keyword phrases into Wordtracker’s Exact/Precise Search tool and you’ll get counts of how often each keyword phrase has been used. Now combine the top-scoring keyword phrases with your content ideas to produce a list of article titles that will be highly relevant to your target markets AND score well on search engines.
For example, “vegetarian diet” is a popular keyword phrase, and animal health is an important issue for pet owners. Combine these and you get an article idea, “Does a Vegetarian Diet Produce Healthy Animals?” Brainstorm as many content ideas as possible and write a title for each article using at least one important keyword phrase.
Now review your titles, pick the best, and develop them into full articles of around 600 words each. Make these articles available within one or two clicks of your home page and use the keyword-rich titles as internal linking text.
Next, approach the publishers of news and information sites to offer them the articles for publication in return for keyword-rich links back to your site.
Susan, links pointing to your site are important but links pointing to your site with keyword-rich linking text are priceless. Find out the important sites within your marketplace and provide them with quality content - you’ll get quality links as a result.
This is page eight of the HMTL version of Wordtracker's Free Keyword Research Guide.
- Why Keywords Matter by Ken McGaffin
- What You Can Do With Wordtracker by Ken McGaffin
- Not This Saturday (offline keyword research) by Ken McGaffin
- Convert Traffic Using Wordtracker by Bryan Eisenberg
- It Ain’t the Meat, It’s the Emotion by B.L. Ochman
- Gauge the Size of the Market by Stephen Mahaney
- In Paid Search, Keywords Are Key by Kevin Lee
- Find the Keywords and You’ll Find the Marketplace by Ken McGaffin
- The Wordtracker Breakthrough by John Alexander
- Adopt a Healthy Position by Neil Davidson
- Designing an Online Marketing Strategy by Robin Good
- Only People Buy by Nick Usborne
- Where To Use Your Keyword Phrases by Ken McGaffin
About Ken McGaffin
Ken McGaffin is an experienced internet marketing consultant and has worked for major pharmaceutical companies, advertising agencies, government bodies and non-profit organizations.
Ken unveils the secrets of successful link building in his 384-page e-book, Successful Link Building
You can watch recordings of his extremely popular (and free) Link Building Webinars