Episode 108: What is a Keyword? What Type of Keywords Should You Focus on?
What was discussed?
Quote of the day: “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” – Ralph Marston
For SEO purposes, a keyword is simply a term that you’d like to show up for in the search results. For example, a dentist in Las Vegas would mostly likely want to show up for the short tail keyword “dentist in Las Vegas”. A long tail keyword would be something more specific, along the lines of “dentist in Las Vegas who takes Signa” or “dentist in East Las Vegas.”
Someone that’s searching for specifics (examples: “dentist in Las Vegas that takes Signa,” or “dentist in East Las Vegas”) is often far more likely to call and book an appointment than someone who is just searching for “dentists in Las Vegas.” They’ve already defined what they need (dentists near them or someone who takes Signa) and aren’t just doing a general search.
In the beginning, shorter keywords were highly valuable, but eventually, people realized that qualified buyers are often searching for specific terms.
You’ll want to have a mix of keywords that your website is ranking for. Your website needs to be optimized in a way that it makes sense to those who are searching for keywords and redirected to your website. It should be optimized for readability by both the user and the search engines.
This is important because: 1) That’s how natural language will read and search engines are becoming smarter and smarter, and 2) You want to satisfy both types of searchers.
Optimizing your site for both long tail and short tail keywords doesn’t automatically mean you’ll rank for those keywords. Optimization of your website itself for on-page SEO is just one of the things you need to do to rank well in search results.
If you’re focusing too much on the more specific keywords, you might not be getting enough traffic. Because of this, you won’t be getting as many visitors as opposed to if you were ranking for both short-tail and long-tail keywords. For example, let’s say you wanted to rank for “top plastic surgeon in San Diego.” To optimize your homepage to rank for this, you might include a header tag that said “Dr. Smith, recognized as the top plastic surgeon in San Diego,” or you could write a blog post that covered the top 10 plastic surgeons in San Diego. Then, when someone lands on that blog post, you can include a coupon or discount on that page.
That way, you’ll be getting more traffic for broader keywords and you’ll be able to entice visitors with specifically targeted discounts. By optimizing your site to rank for more keywords, you’ll be showing up in more pages in the search results.
As a best practice, you should have a main or a one or two phrase keyword and then a longer tail keyword for each page you’re optimizing for. Optimize your title tags (the main meta tag of the homepage, or whatever page you’re optimizing) and then throughout the text of that, put in your longer-tail keywords or variations of that keyword so that you can rank for that term.
It’s important that your site reads naturally and that it makes sense why you put text where you did when someone is looking at it. Whatever SEO company you work with should already be doing this, so be sure to talk to about keywords you’re interested in ranking for. The company you’re working with should be open to hearing which keywords (short and long) you’d like to be ranking for and should be able to help you in that process.
If you need assistance with optimizing your site, be sure to contact us today so we can see if we’re a good fit for each other.
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