Whether you rely on SEO or paid advertising to promote your business website, one thing they both have in common is the need to research and establish the keywords which will bring you the best results.
It is at this early stage in the process that many business owners’ eyes start to glaze over, either because they are new and don’t have the first idea where to start, or they’ve tried before and got totally lost.
This is understandable as there is so much information published online about keyword research that it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin.
Firstly, let’s get the terminology right to clear up some confusion. For the purposes of SEO, a ‘keyword’ can be a single word, such as ‘dog’ or more than one word such as ‘dog training’. You might see some claim ‘dog training’ is a ‘keyword phrase’ and they are not wrong but for the most part we’ll call them keywords whether they have one word or more than one word.
The definition of a keyword is it’s a word or words which web users type into the search engines when they are looking for something online. For any given keyword which website owners want their sites to be considered relevant for in the eyes of the search engines and in particular Google, they will implement search engine optimisation (SEO) to boost their ranking.
The mistake a lot of site owners make is they try to target very narrow and highly competitive keywords that they simply will never be able to rank for. For example, if a self-development company who specialised in time management tried to rank for phrases like ‘self-help’ or ‘personal development’ they would be competing against some of the most established names online such as Hayhouse or Jack Canfield.
With this approach, they’d be ranking several pages deep in the search results with little hope of getting anywhere near the first page. This is where ‘long tail’ keywords come to the rescue. Long tail keywords are longer phrases, which might not get as many searches as the main keywords, but they also do not have as much competition, so ranking for them is much easier.
Taking our self-development company example, if they were wanting to consider long tail keywords they could possibly use ‘time management courses for business’ or ‘online time management training’. These phrases would still have other websites trying to rank for them but the numbers and more importantly the quality of their SEO would be much lower.
The other beauty of long tail keywords is that there are literally thousands of them for any given niche, service or product type. Using a keyword tool you can very quickly establish a huge list of them which you can include in your content, use in anchor text and optimise your web pages for.
By focussing on trying to rank for long tail keywords, especially when just starting a business you will achieve much higher search rankings, and in turn, attract more visitors to your website.