Finding the right keywords to target for your business might be kind of obvious.. If you are a local Fort Worth electrician, you might be thinking the best keyword to target would be “fort worth electrician” or maybe “electrician in fort worth”.
The examples above are good keyword phrases to rank for and would send a pretty good amount of traffic to your website. But if those were the only keywords you were targeting, you would be missing out on even more potential customers!
Google provides a tool called Keyword Planner that will give you search data on keywords. Google provides this tool in the Google Adwords dashboard to give data to users that would like to purchase PPC (pay per click) advertising.
Google makes this data available so Adwords users can see how much potential traffic/customers they can drive to their website and how much they should expect to pay per click. Below is an example screenshot for our “fort worth electrician” example:
If you look at the screenshot, you will notice that the “fort worth electrician” niche is pretty competitive. It is also expensive with the suggested bid set at $57 – $95. Also remember that is the price per click! Hopefully the electricians website is optimized and has a very high conversion rate.
Organically ranking for those keyword phrases would drive a large volume of traffic without having to pay a significant sum of money for PPC advertising. This is why a successful SEO campaign would be very beneficial in the long run.
The problem with the Keyword Planner that Google provides is that is doesn’t give you all the keywords and stats that people are searching for around a specific niche. The short 1-3 keyword phrases that Google Keyword Planner provides are called head keywords.
Looking at the screenshot above, you will notice that there isn’t any long search phrases. In the SEO world, we call these long tail keywords.
Think back to the last time you were researching something online with the help of Google. Instead of typing in one or two keywords for your search, you might have typed in a longer phrase. These longer keyword phrases or long tail keywords are very important when it comes to SEO.
Not only are long tail keywords normally less competitive, but they also drive a lot of traffic that converts! SearchEngineWatch.com has a nice article that compares head vs. long tail keywords. Below are the key conclusions:
- 0-5 character keywords are, more often than not, too short for advertisers to derive any meaningful intent. As such, they don’t create meaningful impressions, clicks, or conversions for most advertisers.
- 6-10 character keywords generate a high number of impressions. They don’t, however, generate a proportional number of clicks and conversions. Consumers are entering queries of this length; however, they still aren’t far enough along in the purchase consideration funnel to actually click and convert on paid search ads.
- Nearly 60 percent of all impressions, clicks, and impressions occur with 11-20 character keywords. Including 21-25 character keywords brings us to 80 percent of call conversions. As such, 11-25 character keywords definitely comprise the “head.”
- While 26-40 character keywords generate significantly fewer impressions, they are much more efficient than head keywords. Specifically, 11-20 character keywords represented 62 percent of clicks and 62 percent of conversions (a 1-to-1 relationship); whereas, 26-35 character keywords represented 6 percent of clicks and 10 percent of conversions – a 3-to-5 relationship. In other words, the long tail keywords were – ballpark – about 66 percent more profitable than the head keywords (ignoring bids), supporting the notion that long tail keywords are more profitable than head keywords.
- The impression, click and conversion volume with +40 character keywords is minimal. Efficiency on these keywords is very low as well. As such, SEMs should probably not spend time generating/managing keywords with greater than 40 characters.
Very interesting. In short, head keywords drive volume and the long tail keywords drive profit!
Now that you know a little bit about head and long tail keywords, you may be wondering how you find the long tail keywords people are searching for around your business services.
You can easily search Google and find a handful of premium software services that will provide suggestions and keywords. If you are a local business you probably aren’t looking for a paid tool for one time use, so I will go over a couple free methods.
On of my favorite tools that helps uncover keywords is http://keywordtool.io/. With this tool you can type in keywords and it will give you long-tail keyword suggestions. There is also a similar tool over at http://ubersuggest.org/ that will also provide keywords in your niche.
If you followed the suggestions in my on-page SEO guidelines post, you should already have Google Webmasters installed on your website. Once your websites starts getting a bit of traction, you will notice a lot of helpful data in the Webmasters dashboard.
From the Google Webmasters dashboard, click on Search Traffic -> Search Analytics and look at the keywords below the graph. Here Google lists all the keywords your site is listed for in the search engine results pages ( SERP). There is a checkbox above the graph that says “Position”, if you click that checkbox you can see your rankings for each keyword.
This is very insightful information! If you see a keyword or key phrase that is getting a lot of impressions and relates to your business or services, it would probably be a good idea to add the keyword to a future SEO campaign.
These are just a few ways you can find long tail keywords for your website. The purpose of this article is to illustrate the importance of long tail versus head keywords. If you are just starting an SEO campaign and finding you are in a very competitive niche, take a step back, do a little long tail keyword research, and start ranking for easier keywords.
Remember, head keywords drive volume and long tail keywords drive profit!
As always, if you have any questions feel free to send me an email.