The keyword – long-tail, short-tail, key phrases; all add up to topic and relevancy.
Maximize Your Potential, Minimize Your Competition
Unless you have tons of relevant content, your site is well established in its niche or your products are for a select few, you’ll need search engine optimization. Not only is it “best practice” as far as keeping your code clean and your site in line, it’s also a way to show the search engines: “Yes, my site is relevant to this search!” The entire aim of optimization is not only to show that your site is relevant, however, but to show that your site – out of all the billions available – is most relevant to a specific search. One of the ways we do this is by using keywords.
Choosing Your Keywords
When choosing your keyword base, think hard about the purpose of your site. In other words, what are you selling / giving away / sharing? What is the topic of your site? Let’s use Best SEO as an example:
First and foremost, we sell SEO services. However, we sell a specific type of SEO service i.e. copywriting. Therefore, our main keyword could very well be “SEO”.
How simple! How quick! We’re done!
Not quite. Consider how many websites you might find that also have “SEO” as their main keyword. Let me do the search for you: By just entering “SEO” as the search term, Google pulls up 272 million results. Yahoo! pulls up 885 million results. The list goes on.
So how do you, or I, or the average, everyday webmaster get seen out of those millions of results? This is where short-tail and long-tail key phrases come in to play.
Short-tail and Long-tail Key Phrases
Short-tail and long-tail key phrases are nifty little creatures. Harmless enough, but the right ones will chew up the competition. Here’s why:
For Best SEO, a good short-tail phrase would be “SEO services”. However, “SEO services” is a key phrase with an extremely high competitive factor – i.e. too many other webmasters and online businesses competing for that same phrase. So we take it further to the long-tail phrase and come up with “SEO copywriting services”.
Remember how Google has 272 million results for “SEO”?
SEO services – without quotes: 11.7 million
SEO services – with quotes: 3.1 million
SEO copywriting services – without quotes: 486,000
SEO copywriting services – with quotes: 58,800
By using the short-tail and long-tail key phrases, you’re effectively narrowing done the competition. The true beauty of the key phrase however, is that you will also show up in the search results for each word in the phrase. Therefore, not only will we show up for “SEO copywriting services”, but also for “SEO”, “copywriting”, “services” and “service”.
A Few Rules to Key By
There are several “rules” you can follow to help increase your keyword potential.
- When possible, use the plural form as well as the singular. However, make sure you don’t overpopulate!
- The more often you use short-tail and long-tail key phrases versus a keyword, the better chance you have of a reaching a wider search audience.
- Research your keywords and phrases. Don’t just choose a word or phrase and call it done! One of the most used free tools for this is the Google Adsense Keyword Tool.
- The best keywords and phrases will fall somewhere in the middle between the number of searches and the number of competitors for the term.
The two most important things to remember about your keywords and phrases are to keep them relevant to your site and focused. By “focused”, I mean, if you have a site that deals with several different topics (and, consequently, several keywords), keep them separate.
For instance: If you have several topics and you plan on building a lot of content for each topic, don’t be afraid to set them each to a navigational section. A drop down list is a convenient tool to use for this (Think “WordPress categories” for clarification).
I hope you enjoyed SEO Copywriting 101: The Keyword! More to come in later installments. Questions and comments are welcome!