The Importance of the Longtail Keyword
Perhaps the most important part of the research phase of an SEO campaign is the keyword research process. The keywords that are chosen have huge implications on the whole campaign that follows. Some companies or website owners think that they know their target audience well enough to determine the keywords without doing the research. This is a big mistake.
Depending on the industry, it’s very likely that people are searching for your products or services in ways that you hadn’t thought of. The keywords that are chosen are implemented into the content of the webpage and used in every link building tactic. Missing important keywords can result in missing out on potential business opportunities.
Keywords can be separated into two types, broad and niche. The most obvious keywords, and the ones with the highest search volume, are broad. Obviously, that also means that there is more competition for these keywords. If you do a search for something as broad as “dresses” you’ll get a crazy amount of search results back. Will you scroll through all of the pages? No way.
You’ll probably browse around the first search results page, and there’s a small chance that you’ll look on page 2. These pages are filled with websites from well known companies like David’s Bridal, Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Victoria’s Secret. These are big brands with a well established online presence that have domain age “trust factor” working in their favor. If you are a smaller boutique, it wouldn’t make sense to target only “dresses” and rank on page 32. This is why it’s important to incorporate niche keywords that are more specific and have less competition.
Niche keywords are often longtail keywords, keywords that include two or more words. They are more targeted and are used differently than broad keywords. Broad keywords are often used by a searcher that is still in the beginning stages of decision making. They are in research mode. Longtail keywords are used by searchers that are transitioning from research mode to purchase mode in the buying cycle.
For this reason, niche keywords produce higher conversions than broad keywords do. A longtail keyword for the boutique to target might be “black cocktail dresses”, instead of the broad “dresses” keyword. The search engines crawl individual pages, so it’s important that the keyword be as specific as possible to the content on that particular page.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t target broad keywords. It just means that you shouldn’t only target broad keywords. It also doesn’t mean that you should target keywords that are extremely longtail, like “silver and green sparkly cocktail dresses for petite women to wear to a wedding”. The best keywords to choose are mid range, not too broad or too specific, but somewhere in that center “sweet spot”.