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Article Marketing Tips: Should I Use Quotation Marks When Searching For My Keywords In Google?
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Here’s a reader question I received recently:

I want to keep track of how I’m doing on my article marketing campaign, so on a regular basis I search for my keyword terms in Google to see where my site is ranking for that term. I have noticed that when I search Google for my website keywords, my site ranks 2nd only when the keyword is put in quotation marks, as in “home business ideas”. But when I remove the quotation marks, my site is nowhere to be seen.

I’m concerned because most of the internet users do not insert keywords in quotation marks when they are looking for information. Any clarification on this?

Secondly, my website has in less than 2 weeks improved greatly in the Alexa ranking by over 2.6 million. Its rank currently is 1,062, 815. Does that give some hope as regards the traffic ranking?

This is a great question, and I’m glad that you asked about it. So, your website is ranking high when you search for your keyword terms in quotation marks, but it disappears from the rankings when you search for your keywords without quotes.

The reason for the difference is simple … competition.

When you search for the term “home business ideas” in quotation marks, you’re specifying that you only want to see sites that reflect that exact phrase.

When you search for home business ideas without quotes, you’re making a much broader search.

There are far fewer sites containing the exact phrase “home business ideas”, and out of 1,820,000 possible sites for that search, you’ve zoomed right to the top–that’s a clear indication something is working!

For a broad search of home business ideas (no quotes), there are (when I’m searching anyway) nearly 83,000,000 competing web pages, so a lot more competition!

Consider this– with the broader term of home business ideas (without quotes) your website has over 81.1 million (yes, million!) more competing websites to battle with than for the phrase “home business ideas” (in quotes).

That means that it’s going to take longer and be tougher to clearly indicate to Google that your site is a central hub for home business ideas and one they should put to the top of the listings.

Here’s a bit of encouragement for you:

Winning the exact phrase game can often be a precursor to rising up the rankings for broad matches too … so you’re certainly heading in the right direction! Your traffic levels are a similar indication that you’re heading in the right direction, and as you continue article marketing, you are likely to see that continue to rise.

My advise to you is to keep up the good work. You are definitely seeing progress, although you haven’t reached your ultimate goal yet. Your ultimate goal for that keyword term would be to be on page 1 (or ideally in the #1 spot) when you search for the term without any quotes.

This takes time–the more competitive your keyword phrase is (the more websites that are competing for that phrase), the longer it will take to dominate that niche…but the end result is worth it!

By the way–when I do my statistical research for how my sites are doing, I don’t put my keywords in quotes when I search for my terms in Google–I just leave them the broad term, not using any quotation marks. You’re right–most people do not search for phrases in quotation marks. So, your biggest goal is to rank high for your keyword terms without any quotation marks.

Hope that helps!


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11 Responses to “Article Marketing Tips: Should I Use Quotation Marks When Searching For My Keywords In Google?”

  1. Nick says:

    Hi Steve,

    I found this article, & your reply, particularly interesting as it really does emphasise the long haul to Google page 1.

    Perhaps withso much competition your eader would have been better off trying to find a keyword with far less competition.

  2. Stavros says:

    Yes without quotes is what really matters although in quotes results show your progress for a very specific keyword that may be better in having visitors turn to sales.

  3. Thanks so much Steve for this informative article. It has gone deep in answering my burning question and in motivating me to continue with what I am doing.

  4. I fully agree with the following:

    “This takes time–the more competitive your keyword phrase is (the more websites that are competing for that phrase), the longer it will take to dominate that niche…but the end result is worth it!”

    About 3 years ago, for a Google broad search with no quotes my website was among the top 100 and among the top 50 (with quotes).

    When I’m writing this post , for a Google broad search of “digital products” (no quotes), there are 134,000,000 competing web pages, and 57,300,000 (with quotes). My website is #1 and Clickbank is #2.

    It is a 2,500-webpages (5-year old) site with with little backlinks (less than 200) but with very good internal linking structure. About the backlinks – naturally acquired from top websites, including Baidu.com (Alexa #5), WarriorForum.com (Alexa #146), DailyMotion.com (Alexa#101), DigitalPoint.com (Alexa #311) & ClickBank (Alexa #249).

    Try to get a backlink from your main competitor but don’t give any link to it!

  5. Sheila says:

    I am so glad you answered this question, Steve! I have asked it on other sites and never gotten a clear answer. Thanks to you, I finally understand it!

  6. SBT says:

    Basically what is happening is that a site that has the keyword on a page but not in a “phrase match” is beating out a site that has the keyword on a page in a “phrase match”

    That page must be ranked high for other reasons other then having the page well optimized for that keyword ‘phrase’ because obviously its not.

    More then likely it has tons of back links and some age behind it.

    Therefore as Steve said keep up the article marketing putting more backlinks out there and you are destined to to rank high for the normal ‘broad’ search results as well.

    In quotes shows “true compitition” but you still have to beat out who ever is tops even if they are not “true compitition”

  7. Hey, I found this article really helpful, but I’m still confused a little. With the keyword research, If out ultimate goal is to rank for the keyword without the quotes does, that mean the monthly amount of visitors change to broad on the google keyword tool.

    Example I research a keyword on google kw tool, and the broad is 50,000 but the exact is 5,000 monthly searchs. If we rank for the exact and search out keyword phrase on google using “” the quotation marks and I manage to rank my website 1st with quoatation can I expect 5,000 monthly visitors or do I need to rank for my keyword without the quotations marks to expect 5,000 monthly vistors.

    Or is that goal of the broad terms If it ranks without the “”qoates can I expect 50,000 vistors a month or just 5,000.

    Thanks great article it helped me uderstand a little more, but please answer my question to help me understand, thanks.

  8. Steve Shaw says:

    @Chris Ditfort: Hi Chris,

    Yes, you will come up with different numbers depending on if you use the quotes or not. Not using quotes brings back results for broader searches–most people do the broad search rather than typing in searches that are in quotes.

    It’s not a bad thing to rank with the phrase in quotes–it’s just not the same as ranking for the phrase without quotes. Ranking high for the phrase without quotes is a bigger achievement than ranking high for the phrase in quotes. In terms of the potential traffic, you can consider the phrase with quote and the phrase without quotes to be two separate entities—each will be different.

    So, using your example, if with quotes the phrase has 5,000 monthly searches, then that is your traffic potential for phrase with quotes.

    And if the phrase without quotes (the broader term) has 50,000 monthly searches, then that is your traffic potential for the phrase without quotes.

    Hope that helps!

  9. Yousaf says:

    I found this article, & your reply, particularly interesting as it really does emphasise the long haul to Google page 1.

    Perhaps withso much competition your eader would have been better off trying to find a keyword with far less competition.

  10. Thanks a lot for your answer in details. I am also facing this problem but i am not getting the right answer after a lot of search on Google i hope i have got the right ans.

  11. gugu says:

    thanks for the insights, not many SEOs cover this aspect – I also had the same question and still need some bit of clarity- I have a blog that is targeting a competitive niche – all posts are keyword targeted and most of the keywords are long tail, the blog is three months old so perhaps this could be too early to be asking certain questions – but most of the keywords have good serps but only within quotes plus some keywords seem to slide down the serps within quotes while a few are rising – I just need to know if i’m heading the right direction with my content strategy- does this also infer to the reality of Google sandbox – wherin new sites are thought to be held down in serps till after a probationary period – kindly share your views – thank you

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