How to Select Keyword Phrases to Target…
What are “Long Tail Keywords”? What is a “Long Tail Keyword Phrase”?
This is the definition in my “SEO Brain Dump“ which is only available as 1 of the bonuses to signing up to my email list…
Long Tail: Refers to a less searched, more specific keyword phrase. For example, “Internet Business” is a broad keyword phrase. Because it’s broad, meaning it covers a lot of sites and a lot of sites try to rank well for it, it’s hard to get your site to rank well for that term. However, “Internet Business Coaching Program” is a more granular, specific term. Fewer sites try to rank well for it and less people search for it. Is that bad? No, actually it’s good if you’re selling Internet Business Coaching because the people who do search and find you are more likely to do business with you.
Why is it better to have fewer people landing on your page, site, or blog? It’s better to have targeted traffic, or traffic that’s interested in what your site is offering or is about. If you had to choose between 10 “targeted” visitors who were looking to purchase your product or learn about the topic of your blog, or 1000 visitors who had only tangential interests in your products or subject, which would you choose? Even if you’re not very smart at all, the obvious answer is 10 “targeted” visitors.
As your momma probably told you, you can’t make up for a lack of quality with quantity. Well, maybe your mother didn’t tell you that, but she sure should have!
That’s what long tail keywords are all about. Because they are more specific, they’re more targeted. Because fewer sites are trying to compete for them, they’re easier to rank for too. So it’s a win/win situation.
You can use a couple of methods to gauge competition for a keyword phrase and also how many searches are performed per month.
The quick and easy way to determine competition is to do a search in Google for the keyword phrase you’re interested in, for example if you are selling “blue banana brushes” then you’d just type this in Google and see how many sites are listed. This particular search on this particular day says 1-10 of about 145,000. (I tried to pick something that would not exist!). You may also want to go to the next page of results to see if the 145,000 figure changes. Update 11/2017: now 3.4 million!
The next quick thing you can check is to do this search in Google, “allinanchor:Blue Banana Brushes”. This “AllInAnchor” search will give a lower total figure, in this case on this day, 1-10 of about 955. This search gives the number of pages that have links to them that use the words in the phrase “Blue Banana Brushes” in the anchor text of the link. This figure can more accurately represent the stiffness of the competition for ranking for this term. Update 11/2017: now 64,700!
Now what about finding out how many searches people perform for a term? You’ll need to have a Google Adwords account. Sign up for one and you can use the Google Keywords Tool. You don’t have to fund your Adwords account to use the Keywords tool. In the Google Keywords tool, you type in a keyword phrase or list of keyword phrases and the tool will return to you the number of monthly searches, both US and Globally. This will give you a feel for if it’s worth trying to rank for. Update 11/2017: Google makes this much harder, you can’t just search for keyword phrases and see the results; you have to enter a lot more information.
There’s no fixed formula for determining how to use the information you’ve just gathered. I wish there was! For example, I rank very high (update 2017: used to!) for “Internet Business” (which is NOT long tail), currently, today, if you do a search in Google for it, it returns 1-10 of about 439,000,000 (update 11/2017: 935 million!). The AllInAnchor returns 7,020,000 (update 11/2017: 13.8 million). These are BIG NUMBERS. It would be very hard and take a lot of work to get on the first couple of pages and require effort to maintain. These numbers are NOT what you should shoot for! Look for smaller numbers.
For example “Copper Cooking Pots” returns 1-10 of about 1,440,000 (update 11/2017: 3.8 million) and 731,000 (update 11/2017: 93,200) AllInAnchor. Big numbers, but doable! Google Keywords tool shows 1,300 searches last month (October) and Global Monthly Search Volume of 1000 (update, did not recheck this since Google makes it harder to get this info now). Not big search numbers, but if you nail the #1 spot then you’ll get some highly targeted traffic. I would probably play around to find a related or similar keyword phrase that has more search traffic but still kept the doable competition numbers.
Update 11/2017: notice in the “Copper Cooking Pots” the number of AllInAnchor when down… this is because Google, since this article was originally written has pruned a lot of links from link directories and link building schemes.
So there you have some solid advice on how I select keyword phrases to target.
Until next time,