Issue #163

What if you don’t have much of an audience yet?

So, yesterday, I talked about how I hate keyword research. And I talked about how I keep my ear to the ground and listen to everything you guys tell me. I then optimize for YOU.

It works well, but I also understand that it might feel like a classic chicken and egg scenario. I mean, while it sounds great to engineer a two-way flow with your audience and optimize for them, it doesn’t help you much if you don’t have much (or any) of an audience to speak of.

So, how can you tell what people are asking without having an audience which is talking back to you?

Well, that’s where tools come in. Because truth is, your target market exists. They’re out there. They’re just not on YOUR site. 🙂 They’re on somebody else’s.

See, the very first step in, like, everything is to find out what your market needs and wants. In the beginning, you’ll need to go to them.

So, you’ve got some easy ways to get involved with your target market even if they’re not on your site:

  • Get involved in social media groups on your topic
  • Get involved with niche forums
  • Participate in comment threads on other blogs, but NOT for backlinks! Instead, you are truly interacting, answering questions, and asking questions.

If you combine all that with what I said yesterday about asking questions, you’ll get plenty of actionable information to use to optimize your content for them.

You can also use tools, though. One of them I recommend you check out is Answer The Public.

This tool will analyze auto-complete keyword phrases based around the keyword you plug in. Auto-complete is when Google guesses what you intend to search for as you begin typing. Those guesses it comes up with are based on what actual people are looking for. For that reason, it’s a real goldmine of content ideas.

Answer The Public gathers all that data and presents to you some really interesting visualizations on what people are looking for. It also looks for common question words, common prepositions, etc. Run a search for your main blog/business niche and just see what comes up.

You can use this to spark ideas. Many times, the things it comes up with can be quite big, in terms of content. But, great opportunities for redwood posts that way. 🙂


Alright, so as we end off the week here, let’s review where we’re at here with this traffic training we’re doing here on The Daily.

This week, I talked about how search engines have matured. We talked about how what we really need to be doing is optimizing for human beings and not search bots.

And to that end, we’ve discussed some ways to determine what those human beings we intend to serve really need and want. And with that info, we can begin to craft content tailored for them.

See, this isn’t really about what WE want to write or say. In the end, it has to begin with the people you intend to research. We’re talking about real flesh-and-blood people out there. People with problems they want to solve. People with concerns, opinions, attitudes and more. If we focus on THEM and what THEY need and want and not get so overly focused on the Google bot, you’ll do much better.


Next week, we’re going to get into some more of the nitty-gritty about what Google specifically looks for to see if you’re optimizing for humans. There are several different ranking factors that go into all this.

But, just remember….

Optimize for humans first. But, while you do that, do it with the knowledge of how Google is measuring the whole thing. That’s pretty good to know. 🙂 And that’s where we’ll go next week.

Enjoy your weekend. Talk on Monday.

– David

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