Keywords are essential to SEO. You simply cannot rank (high) without them. But then, you already know that. I am pretty sure you also know that ranking high for a particular keyword is often more difficult than logic suggests it should be. Those of you who have tried in vain for years to rank high for your head keyword of choice know what I am talking about. To those of you who are newly introduced to this wondrous world of SEO, I’ll say this: roll up your sleeves and prepare to wait. Or you can do the smart thing and just target long-tail keywords. You won’t have to deal with all that fierce competition for popular head keywords, and you will be a few steps closer to getting your site rank high.
It comes with one warning: the traffic volumes will be considerably lower than that from a head keyword. But then, the probability of your ranking high for a head keyword is less than unlikely, so the traffic from that keyword will amount to exactly nothing.
Now you do the math and figure out which type of keywords will be more beneficial for your small business.
That’s right, the long-tailed ones. Like my great-great-great-grandma once said, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Though long-tail keywords have come to be associated more and more with PPC, given how useful they can prove to be in highly competitive markets, they have displayed equally meritorious performance on organic listings, and I want to share all that I know about using long-tail keywords to rank naturally with you, my dear readers.
So, I have readied a list of points that argue for the use of long-tail keywords in organic search for you to consider:
Ease: When compared with head keywords, long-tail keywords are easier to rank with. When you try to rank for a head keyword, you essentially go into competition with millions of websites. And the odds of your ranking high for that term are very low. For example, if you try to rank for the head keyword ‘home décor’ you’ll have to beat at least 36 million other sites to rank high. Instead, if you use a long-tail with niche terms relevant to your site, like, ‘handmade home décor in Florida’ the competition drastically drops to under three hundred thousand. And your odds of ranking high will improve too.
Speed: Thanks to the diminished competition, you don’t have to spend nearly half your life optimizing your site and building links before you can see your site ranking high for long-tail keywords. Think of it as standing in the shorter line at the ‘X items or less’ express checkout lane at a grocery store.
Relevance: Since long-tail keywords are more often than not, specific strings of keywords with a several niche terms; the chances of then meeting the exact search needs of users are very high. For a user query “where can I busy eco-friendly or handmade home furnishings in Florida?” your site, which targets ‘handmade home décor in Florida’, would be a better match than a high-ranking site that targets ‘home décor’.
Conversion: The fact that search users will find sites targeting long-tail keywords more relevant contribute another point to chalk up in its favor. Reports attest to the fact that users with specific search queries know exactly what they are looking for and are more likely to turn into customers. So, drawing a targeted traffic with your long-tail keywords can help you land almost guaranteed sales.
Exposure: This is perhaps the least known advantage of targeting long-tail keywords. Using long tail keywords over a period of time will eventually help you rank higher for your head keywords as well. As your site gains authority and builds its trust quotient, the long-tail keywords will help provide enough targeted traffic and also enough ‘exposure’ to your head keywords that your attempt to target them alone won’t prove to be all that disastrous.
A great thing about targeting long-tail keywords is that you can play around with all the niche terms relevant to your site and try and rank for a series of long-tails. You don’t always have to target ‘handmade home décor in Florida’; ‘buy home décor in Florida’ can help send an entirely different set people swinging to your site. However, targeting keywords on your site alone won’t help you achieve all this, and I doubt if I have to reiterate the importance of building credible links with the right anchor test. Try to have your targeted keywords in as many incoming links (internal as will as external) as possible, combined with your on page optimization efforts, it will do wonders for your ranking.