Are you frustrated with your online traffic? When you do keyword searches, do you rank on the 3rd or 4th page of Google? Are you stuck, feeling you’ve done everything right but don’t see any results? Maybe you’re optimizing for the wrong keywords.
Keywords fall into two categories: short and long-tail. Large category searches, such as ‘air conditioning’ or ‘house cleaning’ fall under short-tail keywords. These types of searches bring back thousands of results. As a small local business, it’s unlikely that you will be able to rank highly against e-commerce giants. Even something like ‘car mechanic’ is a short-tail keyword.
Long-tail keywords focus on specific and narrow searches. ‘Quick Volvo stereo replacement Petaluma CA’ is an example of a long-tail keyword. ‘Summer HVAC service installation time frame’ would be another. These keywords are targeted towards specific, niche goods, services, or questions.
As you might have guessed already, it’s much easier to rank highly on search engines using long-tail keywords. Why? Well, because they are so specific that these long-tail keywords do not make sense for very many companies. It lessens the SEO competition.
You might think that optimizing for long-tail keywords will make it even harder for customers to find you. After all, aren’t customers going to just type in one or two words and go with whatever comes up? Not necessarily. Think of long-tail keywords as a question your customer wants answered.
Let’s run through a scenario to illustrate how long-tail keywords help your customers find you:
I’m in the market for a carpet cleaner. I often have dogs and small children visit my house, so I want to make sure that anything used will be green and safe. Additionally, I live in Oakland and am convinced that there are tons of businesses in my area – so I also need one that’s close by. I want to find out 2 things:
I won’t type in ‘Carpet Cleaning.’ That won’t give me all the information I need. I won’t even type in ‘Carpet Cleaning Oakland.’ It’s still too broad. Instead, I will most likely type in ‘Safe green carpet cleaning products Oakland.’
Sure enough, this pulls up a much more manageable list of companies that seem to fit my description. Additionally, it pulls up companies who have taken the time to answer my most pressing question – What products do an environmentally green and safe carpet cleaning company use during service.
Worried about how to choose your long-tail keywords? Listen to your customers and the questions that they ask you. Reread your online reviews. Find the questions you know you can answer best for your customers. Start optimizing pages around them.
Forget trying to optimize for ‘HVAC repair.’ Given enough time, great content, and followers, that might happen organically. For now, think about your customer. What helpful information can you provide? What questions do you want to answer for them? Turn these questions into long-tail keywords, optimize, and answer them.
Not only will customers start to find you, they will be better fits for your company. After all, you provide exactly what they are looking for.