The key to success in any online venture is dominating the search engines, particularly Google. 75% of all searches are done using Google, a fact which clearly cannot be ignored. One of the most significant elements of a successful search engine optimization (SEO) campaign is keyword research. When you research keywords, you should be looking for the perfect compromise between the level of competition and the relevance to your content. The key words and phrases that you choose to use in the content of your website should be those which receive enough search queries while at the same time not placing you in a situation where you have to compete with well-established sites which already have very high rankings. You’ll never get into the first page of the search results if you choose keywords which compete with sites that receive many thousands of hits per day.
There are many keyword research tools out there, including plenty of free ones. One of the most popular is the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. This resource is extremely useful for evaluating important elements of keyword research such as competition and monthly searches both globally and locally. It also tells you the value of any key words or phrases that you search for. New users might find it tempting to go for the most valuable phrases, but this is not the most important factor. If, for example, a keyword has a high value of several dollars per click, but is only searched for a hundred times per month, you’ll never succeed by using it. Likewise, you’re never likely to do well by relying on keywords which are searched for thousands of times per month if there is also a great deal of competition. For example, if you are running a web hosting company, you won’t want to rely on the key phrase ‘web hosting,’ since there are already plenty of well-established companies with high rankings using this phrase. Trying to compete with sites relying on such keywords is completely impractical.
Newbies to SEO are often tempted to go for key words and phrases which have hundreds or even thousands of hits per day. It is important to realize, however, that the most popular keywords only account for less than a third of all search results. By contrast, around seventy per cent of search queries are for long-tail key words rather than just a single word.
With long-tail keywords, your SEO marketing campaign has a far higher chance of success, since you can enjoy a far greater degree of versatility. Long-tail keywords are key phrases of three to five words. While there are far fewer search queries, you also have a lot less competition and a more efficient method of targeted marketing.
Let’s say, for example, that you run a website selling a home improvement eBook. The key phrase ‘home improvement’ already has a fairly high amount of competition, although there are still a lot of searches. Using long-tail keywords such as ‘home improvement projects’ or ‘home improvement stores,’ for example, provides better targeted advertising with lower competition.
When it comes to keyword targeting it is always best to be practical but also aggressive at the same time. If you are too timid you will be ranking for keywords no one is clicking on and missing out on potentially highly profitable long tail keywords you could be targeting instead.