A Common Keyword Research Mistake

Written by Nick Stamoulis

482988329-300x150Depending on the industry your company (and website) operates in and the content on your site, there might be hundreds of keywords that you could target with your onsite SEO (incorporating keywords naturally into the on-page content and meta information of each page of the site). Best practice dictates that you only target 2-5 keywords per page in order to keep it natural and avoid “keyword stuffing”, which means you’ll have to get picky. Even if your keyword research was on the right track, you might miss the mark when it comes time to choose the most appropriate keywords for your site and your SEO goals. One of the most common keyword research mistakes that site owners make is that they don’t choose keywords that are specific enough for their website. They are still in the right ballpark, but they didn’t take it all the way and are missing out on valuable SEO opportunities.

Let’s say your company offers B2B lead generation services. Obviously, keywords like “lead generation,” “b2b lead generation” and “lead generation company” are going to be incorporated into your site on various pages. However, these keywords are so broad that you might run into a few issues in your quest to improve your organic SEO. First and foremost, the broader the keyword the larger a search volume it will have, which means more companies are competing for that keyword. This makes it much harder to rank well in the search engines.

Secondly, broad keywords like “lead generation,” could potentially drive a lot of traffic to your site, but they might not be sending the RIGHT traffic to your site. What kind of lead gen services does your company actually offer? Live telephone leads? Online leads? Do you specialize in a particular niche like real estate or finance? Those broad keywords might accurately reflect your business, but chances are there are quite a few long tail keywords that are even more appropriate.

Signpost KeywordsWhy is it so important to target those long tail keywords? Site owners often wonder why they should target a keyword that only gets 250 searches a month when they could target one that gets 2,500 searches. The answer is simple—those long tail keywords are going to bring a more targeted visitor to your site. Someone searching for “lead generation” could be looking for a multitude of things and might not be ready to buy anytime soon. Broad keywords are typically used when visitors are still in their research mode and are “shopping around.” Or, they could simply be looking for information, as opposed to looking to hire a company that provides a related product or service. However, if someone found your website after searching for “b2b live lead phone transfers,” chances are they know exactly what they are looking for and are looking to make a purchasing decision soon. You might only get 10 visitors each month by targeting “b2b live lead phone transfers,” but they are a much more targeted and highly qualified visitor.

Utilizing long tail keywords is also beneficial today because search behavior has changed. People are now searching using full sentence questions and the search engines have adapted their algorithms to meet the needs of these searches. The search engines no longer pick out specific keywords in a search query but rather look at the search query as a whole in order to determine what the searcher is looking for. This semantic search aims to understand the searcher’s intent, and answer the question they have.

While it might not make sense to target extra-long tail keywords on the primary pages of a website, because they are so niche, a great place to target these keywords is within blog posts. Remember, the search engines rank web pages individually, not websites as a whole. If your blog post is highly relevant to a long tail keyword search query, it can appear prominently in organic search. Would you rather get more visitors or more qualified leads? The keywords you target are going to dictate the kind of searchers that find your site. By incorporating long tail keywords into your site you’ll get better traffic, not just more. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can only target keywords with a large search volume. While it is important to incorporate broad keywords into your site’s content, don’t forget to add those long tail keywords!

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