When you are starting a business, targeting the general public is hardly the way to go. You want to offer a product that satisfies a specific need. That’s why when you are targeting general keywords such as travel, footwear or domain names, you can have 5,000 searches a day but in reality discover these keywords rarely convert. The competition is fierce on general keywords so your best bet is using long-tail keywords. There are millions of unique searches performed by people that are looking for specific information on the Internet.

What are long tail keywords?

Keywords can be short-tail (often generic keywords such as “women sandals”) or long-tail.  Long-tail keywords are phrases starting with three, four terms that are extremely specific to the product or service that you are selling.  Long-tail keywords are more efficient and more likely to convert because when customers are searching for a product, they use a highly specific phrase to ensure they will find exactly what they’re looking for and buy it immediately.

Why use long-tail keywords?

There are two very important reasons to use long-tail keywords:

  1. Rank well much easier than with generic keywords where the competition is high
  2. Increase sales, as people who reach your page through the use of long-tail keywords usually end up buying the product or service.

Highly specific long-tail keywords often rank well easier than generic single keywords. For instance, a site that sells travel packages for a specific area (mountain, sea or Dubai, London, etc) would convert better when it’s optimised for long-tail keywords such as “all inclusive Dubai holidays” or  “family short break London” or “couple short break London last minute” than it would for a generic keyword such as “travel” or “travel packages”.

When you choose to optimise for generic keywords, you will soon come to discover you have to compete with big sites, in this case travel sites like Travelocity.com and even Wikipedia, Yahoo.com or CNN.com. Also, people are often using generic keywords when they’re researching on a product or service and they’re not yet decided.  When they visit your site on a long-tail keyword, it means they’ve already made their decision and are ready to buy your product or service. This also means that long-tail keywords send you targeted traffic that is there to buy, not to research.

Create more pages

Put a list together with the long-tail keywords relevant for your niche and create more pages for each combination. Google likes the websites that include more pages so you can’t go wrong with that.

Each webpage should be unique. This means unique title, meta description and content for each page where you focus on a specific long-tail keyword from your list. The purpose is to optimise for each valuable keyword so you can outrank your competitors, attract more customers and get more sales.

Combine short and long-tail keywords

There are many benefits to optimising your website for long-tail keywords. However, try not to overdo it and optimise for keywords that are too specific because you might get little traffic which would make it difficult to sustain your business.

You should have many pages with content that is optimised for long-tail keywords, which will send you a smaller amount of traffic that is highly targeted. Along with that, you should also create a few pages with content optimised for more generic keywords. These pages will send you a larger amount of traffic, although less targeted.

At the end of the day, it’s the 100 buyers that count, not the 1,000 visitors that are visiting your site for research purposes only.

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