Keyword Selection: Picking Your Tail

Posted: November 10, 2010 in Online Marketing
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When it comes to keyword selection numerous debates are waged over short or long tail keywords. For those that are not SEO geeks (I confess, we really do exist), a quick definition may help. In simple terms, the difference between the two, as the name implies, is the length. Short tail keywords are very generic and will return many results in a search (e.g.  women shoes). Conversely long tail keywords are more specific and will lead to better search results (e.g. Christian Louboutin Rolando Leather)

As an online marketing professional, I advocate an emphasis on long term keyword selection for your website because of search engine evolution, keyword competition and behavior research.  Let me explain a little further.

First, search engine evolution, originally all search engines followed a directory structure, where you had to ‘drill down’ within pre-defined categories to find a selection of websites that  were entered by the web geeks (again I confess).  They evolved (search engines not the web geeks) with spidering technology and simplified, allowing you to enter specifically what you were searching for (can you say “Google”).  The next factor, keyword competition, simply comes down to a battle for real estate. Try the searches mentioned in my examples, women shoes , will return over 100 million results while, Christian Louboutin Rolando Leather, will return only 185,000. Two things to consider, from the searcher viewpoint, specific searches, return – better search results (search that, I couldn’t resist an advertisement), secondly, from the advertiser viewpoint, it’s less competition for page 1 placement in the search engine. Finally, human behavior (I can talk for week about this alone), just like the search engines, we have evolved. As searchers, “we want, what we want, and we want it now”, we have learned that the more specific we are, the better our chances are of finding what we want in the search engine results, 97% of searches never go pass the first three results.

So, what did we learn?

Embrace the use of long tail keywords as part of your keyword selection criteria. You will find that the combination of human behavior and keyword competitiveness will put your website higher in the search engine results and lead to higher website traffic.



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