Your keyword choices are critical to your success in nearly any online business model. Whether you’re pursuing PPC, blogging, VRE and AdSense, or any number of Internet marketing opportunities, the keywords you choose can make or break your success.
Keywords are important for several reasons. First of all, there’s traffic. If you choose the wrong keywords to target, you’re probably not going to get nearly as much traffic as you’d like. Whether you’re using PPC or search engines to get your traffic, your keywords are going to affect your ranking and link performance.
Another reason why keywords are so vital is the fact that you need targeted traffic. Ten thousand visitors coming to your domain via the keyword “books” is probably going to be worthless compared to 500 visitors who come via the keyword phrase, “Harry Potter books,” if that’s what you’re selling.
Someone who is searching for “books” is probably just browsing. They may not even be interested in buying anything – they could be interested in selling books, book bans, book publishers, and more.
But someone who is searching for “Harry Potter books” is probably ready to buy something right then and there. So it’s not enough to just get a lot of traffic – you need a lot of traffic that’s willing to take the action you want them to take.
Whether you’re looking to sell eBooks, promote affiliate products, get leads for a CPA offer, or just get sign-ups to your list, you want targeted visitors who are likely to be buyers now or in the future.
Once you’ve chosen a niche you’d like to pursue, you need to research the keywords you’ll use. If you’re writing articles, you’ll need to choose keywords to use in the titles and text. If you’re building niche websites, you’ll need to use keywords in the domain name. If you’re buying PPC traffic, the keywords you choose will likely be one of the biggest factors determining whether or not your campaign is profitable.
WordTracker is a very good tool for researching keywords. If you can’t afford to get a paid membership there (even for a day), they have a very good free keyword tool at http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com.
Google has their own keyword tool, but they don’t show you numbers. They only give you a general idea of the searches a keyword gets, as indicated by a colored bar: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal.
First you’ll want to enter a base keyword for your niche. Let’s say you’re targeting the golf niche. You might enter “golf” into the keyword tool of your choice. Then the keyword tool will show you a number of related keywords.
You might come up with “golf clubs,” “golf tips,” “golf swing,” “golf bags,” “golf carts,” and “golf courses.” This is a short list of more broad terms. But you’ll want to generate a warehouse of keywords that you can use over the coming months and years, so grab them all!
The Difference Between a Long and Short Tail
Long tail is a big buzzword in marketing these days. The term “Long Tail” was initially coined in 2004 by Chris Anderson in an article in Wired magazine. The term was initially used to describe the niche business strategy that is used by companies like Amazon.
Marketers are now using the term to describe the phenomenon that “long tail keywords” could get more traffic combined than the broader, more general keywords. For example, let’s say the keyword “dog training” gets approximately 2,420 searches per day.
Then you start looking at the long-tail keyword phrases for that niche – dog training collars, dog potty training, dog training careers, and so on. When you add up all of the long-tail keywords, which are easier to dominate in the Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), it equals more traffic than if you simply went after Dog Training.
If you have 10,000,000 websites competing for the term “dog training,” but only 361,000 competing for “dog training DVD,” then you have a far greater chance of reaching the first page than you would if you were competing against 10 million pages.
Being ranked number one for a broad term like “mp3” would probably take a truly exceptional SEO expert many months of very hard work and a very large budget for buying backlinks to accomplish.
Ranking for a term like “1970s rock mp3s” might be much easier – because it’s a long tail. If the term gets 50 searches per day, and you rank number three, then you might get 20 or 30 hits to your website per day.
If you rank number 30,714 for the term “mp3,” you won’t get any traffic from that at all. Finding good long tail keywords is very important, because you need those long tail phrases to bring in traffic.
While some marketers shun long-tail keywords, believing they have to rank well for the prime keyword phrases, others are using it to reach a demographic that has money in hand. Would you rather get traffic from people searching the word “golf” or from someone who types this into Google: “Taylor Made R580XD Titanium Driver?”
The person who gets more specific with their searches is usually someone who’s ready to buy – someone who knows what they want. The person typing in golf may want to know its history for a project, might want to take a golf vacation, or could be interested in attending a local tournament. That won’t do you any good if your site sells golf clubs, but the long tail phrase will cater to that crowd.
Pick your keywords and phrases carefully. Separate your broad, generic terms from your long-tail phrases so that you can monitor your Google SERP positioning and see how your keyword list is performing for you.