Is Your Alternative Health Website Missing Some Juicy SEO Alternatives?

by Sarah on September 19, 2010


A few SEO lessons from the garden: Read on to find out how to capture alternative health traffic you may not even have on your radar – it may be some of the most profitable traffic for your business . . .

Sure, I plant seeds in my garden each year.  But inevitably, the volunteers spring up – chervil, cilantro – kale everywhere – purple mustard, potatoes, beans, lettuce.  Plants I let go to seed or tubers I overlooked the year before return in the next years’ unplanned crops.

I could leave the garden alone completely, never plant another seed, and I would get a good harvest.  And this isn’t even accounting for the weeds– lambsquarters and dandelions – that also grace my table and freezer.

Truth is I have a hard time sacrificing these volunteer plants for the orderly rows that match my garden plan.

But you know what?  I eat better for it.  The lambsquarters and kale can always be counted on for dinner.  Especially when the lettuce bolts in July’s inferno or a frost hits.  And few plants can match their nutritional value.

These volunteers in my garden teach me a lot about keeping perspective on my website – a lesson I’ll share with you right here.

Plenty of times we set out to optimize a website for visitors and key words we plan for from the outset.  But often enough, our true profit may be in the ones that we don’t expect, that come on their own accord and let us know, “Hey, I want to be here.  I’m interested in your product or service!”

For example, I created my business website,, primarily to fuel my copywriting business and cultivate a good harvest of clients.  But interestingly enough clients have not been the only valuable visitors.  I posted an essay on how to become a freelance writer on my website and on an online article bank.  To my surprise, it generated a rash of visitors.

And these were not potential clients.  Or even copywriters looking for some new ideas.  Many of these visitors were people looking broadly at how to turn writing into a viable business. During the period of a few weeks when it was reprinted at a freelance writing website, it actually doubled my traffic.

Now, if I was just the gardener sticking to my plan, I would keep hammering away at marketing to potential clients.  But instead, when I checked my website data, I noticed this trend and decided to bring it into my business plan.

I’ve adjusted some of my product descriptions in my copywriting resource sections, wrote additional pages and started to think about how I can plan more for these volunteers.  I’ve also started researching keywords within this niche.

One of my clients had a similar experience with her product line.  She originally formulated her all-natural body care products for children.  But she was pleasantly surprised to discover that adults loved her shampoo and conditioner as well.  So rather than doggedly marketing these as only for kids, she added messaging that noted how the whole family can use and enjoy her products.  It strengthened her marketing. And it differentiated her products from many of the others stuck in the baby box.

In both these cases, we noticed the volunteers sprouting up in our garden and decided to cultivate them and harvest them.

So here are my suggestions for you so you can capitalize on unforeseen niche markets and key words:

1. Watch your analytics. See who’s coming to your website and why and plan accordingly.  Scott Kincaid, the usability expert I talked about last month, told me about an electronics client of his who took forever to note that people were coming to his website looking for ring tones – something they weren’t selling at the time.  Once they started paying attention to this and added ring tones to their product line, they saw terrific sales.

2. Experiment. The lovely thing about the web is that it’s easy on, easy off.  You can write a new page or two, publish an ezine article, run a few ppc ads for minimal or no expense and see what happens.  If nothing flies, you can simply take it off or leave it alone.  But if you notice rumblings, build on it.

3.Brainstorm and research key words. I can spend lots of time on Wordtracker and Google Adwords’ keywords tool looking at what people are looking for.  And I’ve stumbled upon many a good find.  For instance, when researching key words for a client with a product for people with metabolic syndrome, I discovered several phrases with “belly fat” were relatively untapped as key words.  And they fit the target market perfectly. SEO bells and whistles went off as I continued to research different variations of this angle and incorporate them into our copy.

And just to add another convincing reason to look at untapped niches, in Internet Retailer’s latest edition of its Top 500 Internet Retailers, once again the editors noted that two of the keys to success on the Internet were

  1. Finding a niche market and really honing in on it.
  2. Being nimble as a business – being able to adjust and move with new opportunities.

The Internet certainly facilitates both these strategies as noted by Wired magazine’s editor Chris Anderson in his seminary business book, The Long Tail: Why The Future of Business Is Selling Less of More (which I highly recommend).

Start using these tips I’ve listed above to identify and work with your volunteers.  But to really hone your strategy, I highly suggest Nick Usborne’s online copywriting course.

Nick Usborne is a master at flushing out these niches.  In fact, in addition to his stellar copywriting services, he’s built quite a little retirement fund business for himself by developing information-rich websites around relatively untapped niche markets.

He documents his approach to researching these overlooked markets in his course.  It’s a great plan for setting up a side business on your own. But the skills taught in this course don’t stop there . . .

It’s an excellent SEO course for learning how to identify niches with finely-tuned keyword research.

So don’t step on your volunteers!  Notice them, nibble on a few leaves and see if you’d like to adjust their status to valuable crop.  As with most things the answers and patterns are there.  It’s just a question of noticing them and then learning how to capitalize on them.

And if you’d like some help in identifying these accidental markets and catering to them, give me a call.  Let me help you rope in some of these uncultivated alternatives that may enrich your alternative health website.  I always enjoy foraging.

I’d love to hear your comments on this – add them below.


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