You have an online marketing budget. You’ve done your SEO. You’ve spent time, energy, and money on trying to get as much traffic from search engines as is possible. You’ve given it your all. And yet, you don’t see the visitors coming in. Maybe, you started at the wrong place.
This time how about letting the most popular but more generic keywords out from your target keyword list? Instead try more specific keywords or rather keyword strings that people likely to search for. This, as many of you might have heard, is the long-tail end of searches.
Why should you focus on long-tail keywords?
Long-tail keywords are known to account for 70% of all searches made on the Internet. Which means while 30% of the keywords might bring in the first few million in traffic, there is an unlimited supply of keywords after the first few million until infinity up for grabs.
Quality of traffic over quantity
Your long-tail keywords are going to be very specific to what your website offers, whether it is blog content or products you are selling. “Reading light in car” would be a long-tail keyword example for your generic keyword “car accessories”.
This means two things –
– visitors coming through a search for “reading light in car” are looking for exactly what you have
– these are visitors who are more likely to buy because they have found exactly what they were looking for
Less competition for the keywords
By definition, a search string in the long-tail will have fewer websites eying it. This gives you a chance to address your niche with lesser competition. Hence, you are more likely to rank higher for it.
If you are paying for your keywords, you will observe that the cost per click for a generic keyword is much higher than that for a long tail keyword. So given a budget, you are more likely to find success with a long-tail keyword than otherwise.
The trick though is the long-tail is well, long. So, how do you know which key phrases are likely to work for you. You couldn’t possibly target ALL the keyword strings in the long-tail. Even if you did, not all would get you bang for the buck.
The question then is,
How do you find the right long-tail keywords?
The very first tip is that you stop targeting single word or two-word keywords. You have to go for phrases. Also, you have to strike a balance. While you can’t go for the very end of the tail that is likely to have a very poor performance, but you don’t want to be even at the beginning of the long-tail.
Use keyword research tools
Fortunately, there are many a free service available to hand you a list of potential key phrases. Google’s Keyword Toolis widely used and is effective. As a reminder, you want to scroll down just right till you reach phrases that are in sync with what you think will sell for your niche.
There are paid keyword research tools too which do the long-tail search for you, right from finding out to implementing and testing them.
Enter a keyword phrase that you think might work in Google’s search box. Scroll down to find a list of “related searches”. You are very likely to come across a phrase or two in that list that might work. In fact, go a step further, key in the related search string that you like and enter it in the searchbox. Then scroll down to the related searches and see what you find. You could iterate this process a few times to gather a list of your own.
What is the competition doing?
You know the techniques that you used for SEO. Check out what the competition is doing. Scan their meta tags, titles and snippets, URLs, etc. You will know if they are targeting the long-tail too. And you will know which one’s they are reaching for. Most likely, they are using what worked for them and it might be a safe bet to start your long-tail keyword search from there.
At the same time, since your competition is doing it, maybe you are already a little late for those specific keywords. So, you want to find out related searches to those keywords using one of the above tools.
Scan comments and queries at forums
When your visitor has a question about a product you are selling or content you are addressing, they are likely to of course, search on a search engine. But, another thing a sizable number of them will do is ask the question on a forum or read comments/answers there. The language used in the question and comments is your eye into the peephole of what they are likely to search for on a search engine.
Trial and error
As you might have rightly guessed, there are no ready-made answers. You have to keep an eye on keyword performance and keyword trends. You could use the comparison option at Google Trends to give you insight into the dynamics of keyword phrases you are considering. Even after that though, you will have to test various options to see if they work for you.
Many keyword phrases will be such that you won’t be able to weave them in your content grammatically or the phrase just doesn’t sound right. You will need to get creative with inserting the keywords such that they look organic.
Go by your intuition
Like other things in life, you know what works best for you. Let your intuition take the wheel for a bit. This is just to give the tools above a boost.
And of course, once you have found them, use them. Remember, your SEO effort neither gets immediate results not is it a once-in-a-lifetime activity. So, you also have to strike a balance between knowing when to change the target phrases and when to be patient to see results. No one said, this was going to be easy.
Do let us know after you have tried some of these tricks. Have you come across something that works better? If so, certainly let us know!