There are a myriad of factors involved in increasing organic, search engine traffic to your site.
Covering every element on one page would be nearly impossible.
Today we’re going to focus on just one piece of the puzzle: keyword research.
If you’re not familiar with the concept, a keyword is simply any word or phrase that gets searched in Google (or another search engine.) Keyword research involves learning how often particular searches are done, and what the competition and current organic results for those searches look like. From that, you can make intelligent decisions about which keywords to target with your content and SEO efforts.
Effective keyword research is a huge part of being successful online – particularly with acquiring organic traffic. As Moz puts it;
“Ranking for the right keywords can make or break your website. By researching your market’s keyword demand, you can not only learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO, but also learn more about your customers as a whole.”
The Long Tail Strategy
Long tail keywords are search phrases that tend to be more specific, andsearched less often. For instance, “Lose Weight” is NOT a long tail keyword – that would be commonly known as a “head” term, which is more general and searched much more often.
A long tail keyword in the “weight loss” niche might be “late night low carb snacks.”
That phrase will no doubt be searched less often, and the searcher intent is much more clearly defined. You have a really good idea of what that person is looking for.
While looking for “weight loss” is more open-ended. I could be looking for different diet comparisons, exercise plans, before and after weight loss pictures, or many other things.
The good news is, about 70% of all searches are long tail searches.
This means that by focusing your content on the right long tail keywords, you can rank very well in the search engines for a bunch of different terms that will bring highly targeted organic traffic to your site.
This exact strategy is what we recommend to both established websites, and businesses that are just starting out online.
Find the low competition, long tail keywords in your niche and create high quality content that focuses in on that term.
What Has Changed in 2015
While keyword research has remained pretty consistent, what you do with those keywords has changed quite a bit over the years.
Gone are the days of “keyword stuffing” where you included the exact keyword over and over (and over) again in your content so you could indicate to the search engines that your page was REALLY focused on the “best toaster oven.”
When your page or post is focused on a specific keyword, there are still a few common sense on-page things you should be doing:
- Include the exact keyword somewhere in the page title.
- Include the exact keyword somewhere in the page description
- Include the exact keyword early on in the content, and ideally a couple times more throughout the article.
Beyond that, using your keyword in an “H2” subheader and in the alt text of one of your images on the page is a good idea, but not critical.
Focus on humans, not Google
In all you do, you should be thinking about your human visitor first.
When you are writing on a topic or a keyword, you are naturally going to use different varieties of that keyword throughout your content and words that are related. Since Google is concerned about the context of a searchers intent, writing excellent content that talks about not only your keyword, but all the other pieces that go along with it really helps search engines better understand your content and it pleases your human visitor.
Sergio Redondo describes it like this: “When we talk or read about a specific term, this is usually accompanied by a series of other words that help to contextualize its meaning. By following the above example, if a content speaks about the panda bear it is logical that we also find in the text the following words: ‘bamboo’, ‘China’, ‘animal’, ‘mammal’, etc.
If we are able to identify all these ‘companion’ words and include them in our text, we can give clues on the subject of our content to search engines.”
In 2015, doing what is best for your human visitor is really what the search engines want anyway.
Kill many birds with one post
In the past, the common thought was that the only way to rank a page for a keyword was to have a page focused specifically on that one keyword.
While this approach still works when the keyword warrants it, it isn’t always the best way to go about it.
What do I mean by that?
If a keyword is a subject that you can create a thorough resource for, like a 1,500 – 2,000 word article, then you should absolutely optimize for that primary keyword and just roll with it.
On the other hand, if it would be weird and unnatural to write 2,000 words about a certain keyword that could be completely covered in just a couple hundred words, then you should look to combine some other related keywords together into one large post on the topic.
Need an example?
The Digital Marketer team talked about how they had succeeded with this concept on one of their web properties, Survival Life. They created a post called “36 Paracord Projects For Preppers” that ranks in the top 10 of Google for thousands of different keywords.
They accomplished this by making a huge, curated list of things you could make out of paracord like wallets, keychains, and more. Since one short post on how to make a wallet out of a paracord would be a little thin and unimpressive, they decided to take all these ideas and build a massive, highly useful list of all the paracord projects one might want to see.
By doing that, they’ve ranked this one page for many long tail search phrases related to each of the 36 paracord projects they mention.
How Can I Do This?
The ultimate question is “how can you take this information and apply it to your business and your website?”
The first step is to find the long tail keywords in your industry, so you know what people are searching for and you know where to best spend your time (on less competitive keywords.)
Without this information, it’s like you are throwing darts at the dartboard while blindfolded. Please, don’t do that.
Start by taking a free trial of our keyword research software, Long Tail Pro, which will save you a ton of time and give you the competitive analysis you need to make content decisions. Click here to start.
The second step is to build the content that deserves to rank.
Finding long tail keywords is just part of the battle. You then have to build optimized, high quality content that stands out amongst the rest. Once you’ve done that, you’re well on your way to more organic traffic and better search engine performance for your business.
Best of luck!