Over 80% of the UK population have access to the internet and 90% of these users use Google when searching for products and services.
Every day millions of potential customers are going onto the internet and looking for various products and services, so the benefits of being found by ‘ready to buy customers’ through Google are huge.
A question that should be asked is ‘How do I want these customers to find my business?’ It would be natural for you to assume that you need to be found for what ‘you’ believe is the most popular search term, i.e. ‘Builder’....‘Plumber’.......‘Accountant’..... and so on.
But what you feel are the most popular searches may not always be the kind of searches that instigate an enquiry.
How to Choose the Right Keywords for SEO
Lots of business owners use The Google Adwords Keyword Tool to help them decide which keywords they believe are most popular (Google Adwords is Google’s Pay-Per-Click service, it is the use of ads that appear when people search for phrases related to your offering as “sponsored links” either at the top of the search results in a light orange box or down the right hand side of the search results). As part of this service, Google allows you to look at the number of searches a particular keyword gets each month, which gives you a great insight into just how many people are searching for a keyword/search term each month. But the most popular search terms are not always the best, and here's why...
Long Tail Keywords Vs. Short Tail Keywords
When it comes to keywords, there are two types; 'long tail' and 'short tail'. Short tail keywords are typically 1-3 words, and often have high search volumes. Long tail keywords are typically longer in length and have less search volumes. Even though they are typically more specific, they also usually account for the majority of search traffic, which is an extremely important statistic.
Example of Long Tail Keywords and Short Tail Keywords
Let’s take the key-phrase ‘Samsung TV.’
This gets around 22,000 searches each month, and as I’m sure you can imagine it is naturally a competitive keyword. This is an example of a ‘short tail' keyword, and it has a lower conversion possibility (chance of someone making a purchase or enquiry after typing this into Google). Why? because there are many different models of Samsung TV with many different options, so the person doing this search has not yet decided exactly what they are looking for yet -so they are probably not yet ready to buy.
The phrase ‘Samsung 40 inch LED TV,’ on the other hand has around 1,000 searches each month.
This is an example of a 'long tail' keyword, and it has a better chance of converting because it is a more specific search term. The person doing this search has a clear idea of what they want, meaning they are more likely to make a purchase - as long as the page that they land on has a good offering.
Being found for lots of long tail keywords can often be better than being found for a few shorter tail keywords - because long tail keywords convert.
Research Keywords Vs. Buying Keywords
The typical journey of someone looking for a product or service, starts off with the ‘realisation’ that they have a need, they then move on to ‘research’ mode (which is looking at what is available out there on the internet), once they have finished research, they will typically move on to ‘evaluation’ (which is when they assess how appropriate or relevant what they have found, is to them). The final stage is the ‘decision’ stage - do I choose company/product A or B?
Short tail keywords often fall into the ‘research’ category. This is when a particular keyword can be described as the type of keyword that could be used by someone researching - in other words “not in a buying state of mind” - not ideal if you are hoping for them to do business with you!
Let’s imagine you own a steel fabrication company. Naturally you would want potential customers to find you on the internet, but how?
We’ll also imagine that the word ‘steel fabrication’ has 300 people searching for this each month, whereas the keyword ‘stainless steel sink fabricator’ has 100 searches per month.
It would be fair to assume that half of the 'steel fabrication' searches could be people ‘looking into’ steel fabrication or finding out what is involved - they could be students researching what steel fabrication is, for example.
On the other hand, it would be safe to assume that the vast majority of people searching using the phrase 'stainless steel sinks' are closer to a “ready-to-do-business” state of mind (they have a better intent).
How to choose your keywords
When it comes to deciding what keywords you would ideally like your company to be found by, it’s important to first understand the nature of the types of enquiries you would like to get.
Whilst 'research' keywords can be very good, particularly with their often high search volumes, it’s important to strike a balance. My recommendation is to have a system that mixes both long-tail keywords and short-tail keywords to get the best of both worlds - high traffic and high conversions.
Article by Daniel Bakerphoto credit: alles-schlumpf via photopin cc