web trafficIn order to generate traffic to your website, you are going to have to undertake some research into the keywords that you wish to target. This applies whether you use SEO or paid advertising to generate traffic.

For new businesses and online entrepreneurs, this can seem like a daunting task, not least because they are not sure where to start. Alternatively, they may have tried previously, but ended up getting lost.

Lost and Confused

confusedTo be fair, it is no surprise that those new to online marketing get confused when it comes to keyword research, due to the fact that so much information and advice are available. Some of it is accurate, some of it paints only some of the picture, and unfortunately, there is plenty that is completely misleading.

The simple truth is keyword research doesn’t have to be complicated, or a long drawn-out process, provided that you get the basics right. I think that is where so many go wrong in that they try all sorts of convoluted research systems instead of using a keyword research tool that does all the hard work for you.

Definition of a Keyword

keywordLet’s start with the basics, and define what we mean by a ‘keyword’. In fact, even that word can cause some puzzlement, as we are not always looking for a single word. For example, ‘fishing’ is a keyword, as are ‘fishing reel’, and ‘surf fishing reel’.

Our definition of a keyword is, therefore, any word or phrase which may be searched for when someone is looking for information relating to a particular subject. They type the search term, into a search engine like Google, and as a marketer, you want your website to be one of the ones that appear in the first page of the search engine’s results.

It’s at this point many marketers go wrong because they try to rank their website for those one or two-word keywords, and worse, for highly competitive keywords. The fact is that to get anywhere near the first page of Google for those very competitive keywords you need to have a lot of resources, including a budget, and a lot of patience, as it could take a lot of time.

Competition Time

wikipediaLet’s use the fishing example from before and imagine you wanted to start an online business which sold fishing equipment as an affiliate. If you tried to rank for the keyword ‘fishing’, there are nearly 4,000,000,000 (4 Billion!!!) results for that term. That’s 4 billion other pages you would be competing with.

Secondly, the sort of sites that rank on the first page for ‘fishing’ include Wikipedia, Walmart and Fox News, and let’s face it, Google is not going to nudge them out of the way for your new site. Even on page two of the results, there are government and state websites which carry a massive amount of weight in terms of ranking so it would take a huge amount of effort to try and challenge them.

Even a two-word phrase like fishing reels sees the likes of Amazon and well-established fishing websites such as Cabela’s and Fish USA appearing on page one. When you first start out, you are will struggle to challenge these websites for a highly competitive keyword phrase like fishing reels, unless you have a huge budget.

Long Tail Keywords – Yours For The Taking

fishing keywordNow you might be thinking ‘Why bother?’ given that it is nigh on impossible to compete with huge, well-established websites, but that only applies to the mega-competitive keywords. The fact is, in every niche, there are hundreds of less competitive keywords that you could easily compete for, and more importantly, rank for on Google.

These are known as ‘long tail’ keywords, and they are normally phrases of three words or more that relate to a particular niche. They might not get the tens of thousands of searches every month that a single word keyword like fishing might get, but they do get enough searches to make it worthwhile trying to rank for them.

For our example, we have established that fishing reel might be a step too far in trying to rank for, but what if someone was searching for a particular type or brand of fishing reel?  Examples could be ‘Click and Pawl Fly Fishing Reel’ which is a type of fishing reel, and ‘Penn Spinfisher Spinning Reel’, which is a specific product. If we were to target some of those long tail keywords, then we have a better chance of ranking for them.

Keyword Nirvana

longtail keyword researchThe great thing about long tail keywords is there are so many of them. This means that your competitors will not have the time and resources to try and target all of them. Using keyword research tools, you can determine which longtail keywords are less competitive and thus move in and start targeting the traffic they generate.

Another benefit of long tail keywords is that the larger brands, companies, and websites tend to ignore them. This means you are competing on a more even playing field when you target long tail keywords than you would be going after short, highly competitive keywords.

From Tiny Acorns

easy keywordsThere is nothing wrong in having the long term aim of eventually being able to compete for some of the high traffic keywords in your niche, and I am in no way saying you should not be ambitious when it comes to your business

What I am saying is that when you first start out, make it easier for yourself by going after the ‘low hanging fruit’ that are long tail keywords.

Results are much easier to achieve when you take this approach, and your business will gain momentum a lot quicker.

PS: If you want to do some research to find longtail keywords for your niche, click the image below:

KWFinder - find long tail keywords with low SEO difficulty

PPS: Please feel free to comment on or share this blog post.

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