Selecting the right keywords for your website is fundamental to successful search engine marketing. For example, if the website is for Adam’s Amazing Aardvarks, it doesn’t make much sense to try to rank for the term “aardvark” right out of the box because it’s simply too general for the business results it will probably generate. Short keywords, typically one- or two-word terms, may have a higher number of searches but will have a lower success rate in terms of conversions. Which is why, when you start up, you should build your website’s keyword pyramid from the ground up.
Optimizing your website for shorter terms usually involves a large amount of effort with lower conversion rates. For example the people who come to Adams Amazing Aardvark website on the term “aardvark” are most likely looking for research information or photos at best. People who have a real intention of transacting will most likely be looking at other terms which will define their query better.
Long-tail keywords are easier to rank and will also have a higher rate of conversion. For example, if Adam is selling ants to his customers as aardvark food, he should have a webpage called aardvark-food.html with details on the ants he sells. This approach will help Adam attract customers based on what they specifically want to buy and also allow him to optimize for quicker success.
Once you start generating traffic with long-tail keywords, you can start having success with shorter keywords as well. Long-tail is the building block of long-term success and is essential to making sure that your website gains a strong presence in your business segment.
If you look into the analytics of your website, you will find a surprisingly large amount of data that points to long-tail keyword volume. In fact, most websites have about 70% of their traffic from varied, longer-term searches vs. one- or two-word queries.
When researching the right long-tail terms for your website, look to your competitors, see what pages they have. You won’t be able to tell which ones convert best, but you will get an idea of a good model to follow. Also, think like your prospects, imagine which keywords your target audience might be looking for, ask a friend or your customers what terms they used when they found your website.
Lastly, make sure your pages are named according to your target terms. For example, Adam’s site should have a page named something like buy-aardvark-food, buy-aardvark-medicines, aardvark-habitat. etc.
“Aardvarks” may not be the best example for a website planning to generate large sums of revenue. But the idea here is to give you a picture of what long-tail keywords are and how you can use them for your website.