When trying to decide what keywords to optimise your website for, it’s easy to focus on broad terms like “builders” or “website design”. While these terms tend to generate a high number of searches each month, they are also highly competitive and tend to have low conversion rates.
Instead, you should consider turning your focus to the less commonly searched phrases that consist of long tail keywords. Long tail keyword searches are those that are made up of about three to six keywords and are used when the user is looking for a more specific result e.g. someone searching “master builder in Albany” instead of the generic term “builder”.
One of the main benefits of focusing on long tail keywords is that it is easy to see what the user’s intent is and therefore provide information that is relevant to them. For example, if someone searches for the term “weight loss”, it’s impossible to know exactly what they are looking for. Are they looking for the cause of their recent rapid weight loss, or are they looking for a way to lose weight? This ambiguity means that although the information that appears high in the search results may contain extremely informative and well-written content, it is likely that it does not contain the answer the searcher was looking for. This results in a high bounce rate for the generic terms. On the other hand, if someone is searching for “ways to lose weight easily”, it is easy to see that they are looking for weight loss tips. This means that the top-ranking results for this search are more likely to enjoy a higher conversion rate as the visitors will be more qualified.
The use and optimisation of long tail keywords has been around for a long time, but an increase of the number of people using these in their searches is likely. The introduction of software such as Apple’s Siri or Google Now, both of which allow people to voice their questions directly to their phone mean that searches phrased as questions are likely to become more common. This will allow businesses to provide more relevant results to searchers.
A good tool for finding long tail keyword searches relevant to your industry is Google Adwords. Type in a generic phrase related to your business and then sort by “Local Monthly Searches”. This tool shows the different variations of keywords that people have been searching and how many times in the last month that particular phrase has been searched for. The ones with the most searches are generally the shorter, highly competitive keywords. Have a look for the longer tail keywords with a reasonable amount of searches and choose some of these to optimise your content for. The more searches a phrase gets, the higher the competition to rank for it. However, it is important to remember that the keywords you decide to choose do have some people searching for them – it’s easy to rank high of obscure phrases, but if no-one’s searching for them then you’re not going to get any visitors.