Search engine optimization is a complicated process with many moving pieces. You need to create content, write page titles and meta descriptions, post on social media, accumulate backlinks, and so much more. However, one of the less considered pieces of any good SEO strategy is conducting keyword research. Keywords can be categorized in a couple of different ways. There are short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords, which, while obviously similar in the sense that they both involve searches related to your business, are important to differentiate because they offer different results when used. Heres a quick explanation of the differences:
The first kind of keywords are short-tail. These consist of 1-3 words which comprise a commonly-searched term. For example, you could search shoes, which is going to return an enormous amount of results. The top organic results are likely to be national shoe distributors like Designer Shoe Warehouse, Nike, or possibly Wikipedia explaining to you what a shoe actually is. These keywords are highly competitive and not focused enough for most businesses to target. Furthermore, if you were to try to run ads on those keywords, you will find them to be extremely expensive due to the high volume of searches each month.
The second variety of keywords are called long-tail. These keywords are comprised of 3 or more keywords and look more like phrases than short-tail keywords. While “shoes” is a short-tail keyword, you could search for “Red Men’s Nike Shoes” which will return far more specific results than a general search like shoes. These keywords are far more specific, and as a result, have a far lower search volume, but it is far easier to be found for a long-tail keyword as a result. Most businesses want to focus on long-tail keywords as there will be less national competition and a far higher likelihood to convert on your leads.
If you are trying to optimize your site’s content for specific keywords, there are a variety of tools that can help you identify which keywords to target. One of the first things you should do is visit your site’s Google Search Console. One of the things that this tool does is provide you with a list of queries that users search for related to your business, and how many impressions your site receives (which is every time a user scrolls past your site in the search engine result pages). Knowing what users are searching for when they find your site can help you learn which keywords to work into your content in order to increase the frequency with which users find your site. There are other tools you can use to help you explore keywords further, including Google’s Keyword Planner if you’re going to be running ads, or Google Trend’s! Try to put yourself in the shoe’s of the consumer and consider what you would search for if you were trying to find the product that your business offers. Brainstorm with your team to consider what some of the most popular search terms related to your business may be, and then work to refine them by using these tools!
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