Bragging Rights Keywords

Beware The Bragging Rights Keywords

Often when carrying out keyword research for articles you come across certain keywords. These are often keywords that people talk about their rankings for quite openly to other members of the industry. Very few SEO’s I know however talk about what keywords they rank for & where, except for one group of keywords – ones that give you bragging rights.

You may hear bloggers talking about their ranking for these keywords, but my advice is to avoid them – here are three reasons why.

Bragging Right Keywords Have High Competition

It makes sense, if you’re number one for a certain keyword & brag about it (like – say – John Chow for “Make Money Online” was a few years ago), then people are going to go for it. A lot of SEO’ers won’t brag what they are trying to rank for, the reason? People will try and knock you off the perch. Keywords with bragging rights behind them will likely have a lot of people going for it. Not great.

Bragging Right Keywords Have Little Real Search Traffic

Google Adwords Keyword Suggestion Tool may have a thousand people searching for that keyword, but how many of them are actually useful? If your competitors are keen to rank highly for that keyword, then likely they’ll be searching for said keyword to see where they rank, either using manual search or by ranking tools. So although – say – 1000 people may be searching for your bragging right keyword, probably 90% of them will be your competitors, who will rarely click on your link.

Bragging Right Keywords May Be Low Converting

Those who will click on your link – who are they? Are they your customers? Bragging rights keywords really attract competitors, and it may be tricky to target on a large site (people will be targetting bragging rights keywords sitewide, as opposed to a page that you will be targetting).

Bragging Right Keywords are also home to people who can boast an obnoxiously high conversion rates – scammers. A McAfee report gives a list of dangerous keywords. You should therefore avoid these keywords so you protect your brand.

However Bragging Right Keywords Give you Bragging Rights

Of course, ranking high for a keyword can give you an air of authority. Particularly if you’re not the one creating a false economy around said keywords. By beating the perpatrator of said keyword, you can give yourself a remarkable boost in the blogging world.

With that said, I wouldn’tΒ peruseΒ any Bragging Rights Keywords.

Rhys Wynne is a 8 year blogger that has been featured on the BBC and The Guardian in the UK, About.com in the US and on a number of blogs around the world. Rhys has 4 years experience of working in SEO, bringing results for large multinationals down to freelancers. He runs The Blogging Dojo, which latest work is How I Ranked Page 1 In Google For Under $50 - a profitable side project for all bloggers.


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{ 28 comments… add one }
  • ashok July 11, 2010, 1:27 pm

    You make your point about these keywords very effectively, and yeah, it does seem like some – perhaps many – are tempted to pursue these keywords.

    I think one way around that temptation is to do a combination of “write posts with keywords people are searching for” with “what keywords are unique to you that you’d like to see searched for?” A blog is a powerful tool – it is possible not just to get attention, but focus that attention on areas you’d like to see people address.

  • Dennis Edell July 10, 2010, 1:23 pm

    Very well said; the same goes for niche marketing. The more successful a niche marketer is, the less websites he/she will show you. πŸ˜‰

  • James Pruitt July 10, 2010, 12:15 pm

    I totally agree with you here. Bragging about your keywords will lead to losing the rankings you claim to have.

    If you notice the Gurus who do this, they give a way one or two keywords, or websites that they don’t really care if it continues to make money.

    if you have 100 websites, and you lose rankings on one, you probably wont feel it much. However, if you have 1 or 2 sites, and you give away your keywords, you can lose everything fast.

    Of course, it is really hard to hide your keywords if you are into an SEO site. After all, people will be looking for the SEO that you use on your own site, and if you practice what you preach, they will be able to pick out what your keywords are ( or am I just too analytical here, and the only one that ever does this when I visit other sites?)

  • Kimi July 10, 2010, 10:27 am

    I feel awkward to brag about my keywords, if i win and be in the first of Google for some keywords, i will be happy about it, but i don’t want to tell everyone about it, i guess no use of it or no benefits.

  • Ryan Biddulph July 9, 2010, 2:47 pm

    I never heard of this terminology Rhys but your argument seems to make sense to me.

    Keyword 101 is finding a semi-competitive keywords and building your campaign around them.

    Thanks for sharing your insight.

    Ryan Biddulph

  • Tia July 9, 2010, 1:35 pm

    Hi Rhys,

    Great point about search results and not taking them 100% at face value. It’s true that many, many people searching for particular keywords are SEO-ers, as well as bots and systems constantly doing keyword searches and driving up the search traffic. I don’t know if the Google numbers take that into account, but if they do, beware indeed.

    In theory what you’re saying is true, but if you’re an SEO blogger, I think talking about what you are ranking for (or, more often, what you *have* ranked for in the past) comes with the territory. No one will believe you unless you have an element of transparency. Transparency is good. Bragging, not so good. But transparency is really important for credibility.

    • ashok July 11, 2010, 2:11 pm

      Agreed about transparency generally: it’s vital for SEO bloggers but also for bloggers as a whole, and I don’t think that point can be emphasized enough. Not to pull us off-topic, but I’ve been running into a lot of bloggers who think that having no about page and just lots of random keywords are going to magically result in hits and conversions.

  • Nabeel July 9, 2010, 7:04 am

    ” So although – say – 1000 people may be searching for your bragging right keyword, probably 90% of them will be your competitors, who will rarely click on your link.”

    I never knew this!

    Is it really true? Can it be possible for any keyword or only some keywords?


    • Rhys Wynne July 9, 2010, 7:09 am

      My research on one keyword does confirm something like this. Results may vary (I think this inparticular one is an anomoly).

  • Julius Kuhn-Regnier July 9, 2010, 3:41 am

    I wouldn’t really brag about ranking good. As you have mentioned that would simply makes people want to beat you. And also where is the point in bragging. I mean yes you might be seen as an expert for some time but bragging is never the right way. I rather prefer simply stating that you may be ranking for some keywords. Then your audience might make you a legitimate expert simply because of you offering good information.

    • Rhys Wynne July 9, 2010, 6:25 am

      Some people have made a fortune being a bragger. Most Internet Marketers are.

      Ethically is there a problem with that? Maybe. But tell that to them.

  • Aaron July 9, 2010, 2:13 am

    Very true.. Most “good” traffic that converts will end up coming from long tail keywords or referrals. The super competitive keywords don’t mean a whole lot when you can get very good targeted traffic by using some long tail phrases.

  • Josiah July 8, 2010, 10:08 pm

    I tell people off and on that they have to take into account their competitors checking to see where they rank. Terms like “Make Money Online” must have a rediculous percentage of webmasters checking, probably daily. I know i do..

    • Rhys Wynne July 9, 2010, 6:15 am

      Totally! Make Money Online is a classic example, but really how well does it convert?

  • Murlu July 8, 2010, 9:26 pm

    I really comes down to traffic vs. relevant traffic.

    Sure, you may rank well for a keyword that gains a lot of traffic but then there comes the high bounce rate, short time on site and lack of conversions.

    I think it’s always better to go after words people actually care about.

    For example: If I were searching for ‘music’ I would take a look around at some of the main websites but it’s more for quick research. After I found what I’m looking for I’d go back to search for more specific keywords and websites like ‘psytrance’.

    My time on the main keyword sites were quick and unrelevant but once I drilled down I found what I was looking for – I’d then spend tons of time on these smaller keywords.

    Just a thing to keep in mind.

    • Rhys Wynne July 9, 2010, 6:23 am

      the thing that we notice is that if we target – using your example – as “psytrance music”, then we will hopefully begin to spot some traffic for “music”.

      Poor example in that music is incredibly competitive (with players such as HMW, BBC Radio, iTunes competing in the UK), but I think you understand what I’m trying to say πŸ™‚

  • James M. July 8, 2010, 8:47 pm

    I have on several occasions blogged about my experiences in keyword research and seo practices. I think it’s common sense to not divulge the keywords or keyphrase one ranks for. Inasmuch as I earn some money because of the seo efforts I invested on these keywords, I talk about them but never divulge the exact phrases. I don’t disclose the site urls as well. Chances are, the readers who are interested in posts like these are the ones who are in the same game as ours and would thus attempt to surpass you, like you mentioned here.

  • Alan Bleiweiss July 8, 2010, 6:51 pm

    Great article Rhys!

    It’s the same way I feel about the asshat SEO competitions that crop up from time to time. All the time expended in such endeavors may “appear” to prove expertise, however the only real expertise in this one aspect of SEO that I recognize is when someone achieves results in the real world trenches of getting their employer or their client’s sites properly ranked for highly competitive keyword phrases that are high value conversion phrases, and where those results also stand the test of time.

    Anything else is pure showboating and so easily gamed…

    • Rhys Wynne July 9, 2010, 6:20 am

      Love those SEO Competitions, great place to find where people put links πŸ˜‰

      Never would compete in them. What’s teh point in ranking #1 for “ioioueawueioawuiofsjiodjasodajoidjdasouo”?

  • Colleen July 8, 2010, 6:17 pm

    “So although – say – 1000 people may be searching for your bragging right keyword, probably 90% of them will be your competitors, who will rarely click on your link.”

    I respectfully disagree. I would say a small percentage, maybe as low a 1%, are the competition. However, I will agree that some of the non-competitive phrases bring in more quality leads, despite the lesser traffic volume.

    • Rhys Wynne July 9, 2010, 6:19 am

      It depends on the keyword. I do know from comparison of Google Analytics of a “bragging” keyword I’m #1 & the impressions that keyword gets on Google Webmaster Tools is that it’s around 90% for that keyword.

      Plus speaking to the competitors, most seem to search for it!

      • Colleen July 9, 2010, 7:59 am

        The main emphasis of your article I totally agree with. In fact, when we post blog entries or write new static pages, these new pieces of content always target lower searched phrases. For instance, we have had better luck with leads that search for a phrase like ‘homes for sale in [city] school district,’ than a more competitive phrase like, ‘homes for sale in [city].’

        • Rhys Wynne July 9, 2010, 8:06 am

          Totally πŸ™‚

          I do agree with you on that point.

          I guess we’re going from SEO to CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation), which is an issue in itself πŸ™‚

          Do you ever target “homes near [school name]”? UK Schools often have a capture area, pushing up prices etc.

          • Colleen July 9, 2010, 12:35 pm

            Funny you ask, as we are going to start doing just that. We’ve targeted the school districts, but it is about time we go longertail and hit the individual schools in the districts. Some folks are pretty adamant on what school their kids will go to.

  • element321 July 8, 2010, 5:58 pm

    I agree.

    Also, I never brag about my keywords or client keywords. I may talk about them and give examples of howwell they are doing without telling anyone what the keywords are who the client is. By bragging, others can use your keywords if they are trying to rank in the same niche. Why make it easy for others?

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