There was a time when trying to rank well on Google for short, highly searched keywords was of great value. However, as an SEO agency, we can tell you that the world of SEO has changed, and the pot of gold has been moved.
In the past…
- If you were a builder, you wanted to rank for “builder”
- If you were an electrician, you’d want to rank for “electrician”.
- If you were a dog trainer, then your life would revolve around being high up on the page for “dog trainer”.
Those short keywords are known as ‘primary’ keywords, and they WERE a goldmine. According to Google, around five years ago they accounted for 92.3% of searches — and were an important part of a successful SEO strategy.
Things have changed now though.
What has changed with SEO? And why?
Those primary keywords are no longer the way to make money on the Internet. Google’s algorithm is getting smarter and smarter — and this has changed the way that people search.
Two important points:
- The people you want to reach with your online marketing have been conditioned to know that WHATEVER they type in, Google will provide the answer.
- They know that a SPECIFIC and DETAILED search term will take them right to the websites that have the solutions they are looking for.
So, instead of just typing a primary keyword like ‘electrician’, they will type something like “electrician rewire house cost” or “electrician rewire lights” or "switchboard rewiring costs" — which we call long tail search terms.
You can see this in this example from “Google Suggest”, which is based on the volume of ACTUAL long tail search terms as shown in this example.
The change in behaviour is significant for your website SEO strategy.
Now, 89.4% of searches are long tail, and this drives our thinking when planning and implementing an SEO campaign.
Why are long tail keywords so profitable?
A long tail keyword is one that is very descriptive.
They are called ‘long tail’ because they typically use more words (at least three, quite often more), and they are an incredibly powerful way to attract more potential customers to your website.
The reason why targeting long tail keywords can be so profitable is that they are:
- Less competitive, and
- Have a higher conversion rate.
As this graph shows, if you put effort and expense into being at the top for a primary phrase such as “bakery”, your chances of being found high on the page are as low as 4%. And even if you are there, your chances of a conversion are as low as 1%.
Follow the graph across to a medium length search such as “Bakery birthday cake”, and you’ll see that things have improved. You will achieve a higher position AND a higher conversion rate of around 9%.
At the far right, where competition is the lowest, a long tail search such as “bakery with hand iced birthday cakes” is going to improve things dramatically — with a 35% chance of a profitable conversion.
You’ll be right in the face of people who WANT what you are selling, and the chances of a conversion are very high indeed.
Especially if you know precisely who it is you're talking to. (For more information about this, see our eBook: "Turning Prospects Into People".)
Plan your SEO strategy around providing ANSWERS to questions.
When developing an SEO campaign, our focus is on adding VALUE to a site, with content that provides answers to questions — and solutions to problems.
For example, let’s say you’re selling pet care products. Our first step is to research to find the REAL search terms that are being used in your sector. If we find that people have specifically searched for “can dogs be washed with human shampoo?”, (the answer is “no” by the way, it will make their fur go funny and their legs fall off), then we’d optimise your site for keywords that spring from that theme, such as…
- Is human shampoo OK for dogs?
- What kind of dog shampoo is best?
- How often should I shampoo my dog?
- Do I need a special shampoo for my dog?
Naturally while answering the question, we’d write the website content so as at to promote your own fine range of dog shampoos and conditioners.
NOTE: For those readers who love Dad Jokes, there is a line in here somewhere about ‘dogs having long tails’. But let’s move on…
The secret key to great website content? LISTEN!
If you are going to have THE website that has THE answers, you had better know what the questions are, right?
You need to keep your ears open when talking to your customers to find out:
- What questions are they asking?
- What are their miseries?
- What are they worried about?
- What problems do they need solved?
- What do they need to be comfortable with before they will buy from you?
Bring this up at your next sales meeting. Get your troops on board. Make sure they understand the importance of poking, prodding and digging when in conversation with prospects — or for that matter, even when talking to existing customers. Ask them WHY they bought from you rather than a competitor in case the question unearths a gem.
And here's another thing...
Listen to the WORDS they use when talking about your product or service.
The correct terminology for the air-conditioners you sell may well be a 'split system'. But if Mrs Fudpucker is at a barbecue talking to her friends, is that what she says?
Or does she say "wall air-conditioner"
Or "little air-conditioner for the nursery".
Those, right there, may well be the long tail search strings that she, and others like her, bunged into Google to find what they are looking for. And if that is the case, then those keywords had better be in your keyword map and be getting the link love they need to show up on the results page — preferably with an appealing, inviting meta description to increase your click-through rate — but that is a story for another day.
I can't BEGIN to tell you the number of times we've found money-making gems for our clients, by listening... reading forums... digging around in Analytics... trying ideas in Google Suggest. And very often, they are a zinger that a competitor hasn't even thought of, which makes it even easier to get the clicks and the conversions.
Why fight for a primary term when you can own a long tail?
There is untold value in ranking for a spectrum of long tail keywords.
While the primary keywords such as “lawyer” account for 18.5% of searches and chunky middle keywords like “franchise lawyer” make up 11.5% of searches, long tails, for example “how to franchise a business” (or even better, a niche like “how to franchise a food business”) comprise a staggering 89.4% of searches — and climbing.
And here's the thing...
Because most people don't get this, and are still busy scrapping over a high position for these so-called 'killer keywords', you can sail right in under the radar and get the enquiries that they don't even know about.
And remember, conversion rates for long tail keywords can be up to 35% — even higher when you focus on specific market niches. Go YOU!
Get your SEO strategy on the right track
We’d love to talk to you about your SEO strategy. Be assured, when we do, we WON’T be talking about…
- What “killer” keywords you want to rank for
- Trying to fool Google with tricky website content
- Psst… wanna be on page one of Google?
- Getting backlinks (from goodness knows where)
- Smoke and mirrors (“doing stuff” on the Internet)
Instead, we’ll have an intelligent (well, we'll do our best!) conversation about…
- How your website content integrates with your sales funnel
- Your customer personas and what they REALLY want from you, and (most importantly!)
- How to set things up so your website becomes a lasting SEO asset — with high value for Google AND for your customers.
This initial discussion is AT NO CHARGE. It’s an opportunity for us to get a picture of your objectives, and for you to get a feel for the way we think and approach Internet marketing.
From there, if you feel comfortable, we’ll talk about rolling up our sleeves and getting to work — always with an eye on improving your ROI from your website so you get more customers, who spend more, more often. It is what we do!
To get your Internet marketing strategy squared away, please call us now on (07) 3891 3800.