I’ll bet most of you who are astrologers or other healing practitioners never thought you’d use market research to build your practice. I certainly didn’t. It goes against the grain. And yet, if we don’t get comfortable with marketing ourselves, we’re likely to struggle financially. If you go to all the trouble of creating a website or blog about your work, you want to attract as many people as possible to your site.
As mentioned elsewhere on this blog, the ability that Google and other search engines have to find your site isn’t magic; it depends on the keywords the person who builds your site adds to the code. If you’re a blogger, it scans the tags you choose for a post. For a web page, you’d want to choose around 25 terms that accurately describe the services you provide or the information contained on your site. Most of all, you need to know if those terms are ones people use when they search for a site like yours. We’re about to get a little technical here, folks, but I’ll be gentle, because it’s well worth it in terms of increasing your practice.
Up to now, compiling a keyword list has just been guesswork. Recently, internet marketing kahunas have found ways to test keywords and tags for their effectiveness. They’ve developed software that measures traffic on major search engines like Google and Yahoo to see what the billions of daily users are looking for. It counts the number of times a particular search term is used. But it costs a gazillion dollars–at least it used to! Now there’s a free tool on the internet to test how many times this month people have used the keywords you’re considering!
You’ll find it at Spacky.com. There’s a simple search bar, and after you type in the term you want to test, a one-month summary of results for Google, Yahoo, and a couple other engines appears in table form. They also show a number of related terms people have used. That’s useful in that you can see which of a number of ways to describe your services works better. For instance, “free astrology report” got 4400 hits, but “free astrology reports” got only 2010. Here are a few that I tried:
natal chart: 60,000 on Google; New Moon: 5,000,000 on Google, 2,400,000 on Yahoo; astrological compatibility: 90,500 on Google, 43,000 on Yahoo; horoscope signs: 74,000 on Google, 35,520 on Yahoo; Vedic astrology: 90,500 on Google, 45,250 on Yahoo.
Update: I used Spacky.com again on 9-1-09 to get a list of the current top search terms involving astrology. You can download the results to use as a kind of checklist here: Top search terms spacky 9-1-09
Those numbers are impressive and show the mass appeal of astrology, so you’d want to include some of those general terms in your own list. Be aware, though, that you’re competing with maybe a million pop astrology sites that feature daily horoscopes. To draw web visitors who are specifically looking for your particular type of work, include more precise terms along with the general ones. As you’ll see, the numbers are less impressive, and yet the number of sites you’d be competing with will be much smaller, and you’d be appealing more directly to potential clients who want what you offer.
Suppose, for instance, that you’re a Jungian astrologer. Here’s how many people went looking for someone like you on Google this past month:
Jung astrology: 480 (vs. Jungian astrology at only 170, but Jung alone: 2,740,000); spiritual astrology: 1,900; archetypes: 90,5000 but archetypal astrology: 170.
You can see how the specific wording of the search terms on your list affects the number of people who find you, so you might include several variations. Maybe 480 searches doesn’t sound like much, but that’s 480 people a month who are looking for someone just like you.
Are you wondering what to do with the list once you come up with it? For blogs, it’s simple. Just make use of the blog tag creator for each post. For websites, it involves working with the coding. That’s where the person who built your website comes in. Make sure to give them the list and that they use it. In fact, if they don’t know how to include keywords, you’ve probably got the wrong person. Sorry.
If you’re building your own site, I’ve created a more detailed explanation of keyword coding for my “Writing for the Web” series that you can request by sending an email to email@example.com. If the explanation is out of your technological comfort zone, consider hiring a designer for an hour or so to add essential features like these and check over your site to see that it’s optimized for the search engines.
Relevant keywords can also be coded into each and every page of a website, thereby increasing the number of chances for search engines to find your site and include it in the rankings. Let’s say you’ve written an article for your website. You can add keywords specifically related to the content of the article to the code for that page. The specific keyword MUST appear in the text of that particular page, however, or Google will give you a slap on the wrist and demote you on the search engine list. Tetchy, is Google.
Are you still squirming at the idea of addressing the need to promote your service-oriented website or blog? Over the past year, I’ve learned a great deal about marketing and have gotten used to doing it consistently. I’m not great at it, but I keep learning. And you know what? Once you get into it, it’s pretty interesting. These internet kahuna guys are awesome! I’ll share what I learn here from time to time, and I’ll include a couple of Spiritual Marketing teachers as guest bloggers in the near future. Meantime, if marketing is one of your issues, you can see some of their insights at the links below:
- A wonderful book about marketing from the heart at: http://theheartofmarketing.com/
- C.J. Hayden: http://www.getclientsnow.com/newsletter.htm#articles
- Barbara Casey: http://www.newradiance.com/MarketingArticles.htm
Marketing our services is essential to reaching the clients who will want and need us. We can do this, folks!
MORE TIPS FOR BLOGGERS ON THIS SITE:
- Can U Blog? What to Look for in the Birth Chart
- What Website Visitors Need to Know First
- How to Add Impact to Your Site with Pictures
- Tips for Bloggers 1—Retooling your Astrology Posts to Keep them Fresh
- Tips for Bloggers 2—Backlinks and other Tactics
- Tips for Bloggers 3–A Promising Anthology on Blogging
FREE EBOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: a 50-page excerpt from my out-of-print book, The Moon in your Life, also known as Being a Lunar Type in a Solar World. Read more about it here: NEW: FREE BOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS! If you’re already a subscriber and want a copy, forward the most recent email post to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To sign up for a subscription, go to the top right hand corner of the blog and click on “Subscribe.” Then send me an email with your subscription confirmation or an email post.