How Long Should Your Keywords Be?
An ongoing debate for anyone choosing an SEO keyword strategy, what are the factors which can help you decide which keywords to use? One way to split out groups of keywords is by their length:
Examples include lifeboat, chocolate, chicken soup, gold necklace, garden soil, hot cross buns, navy blue dress.
Examples include chicken noodle soup recipe, Australian fire opal silver ring, search and rescue urban search techniques.
What do long tail keywords offer?
Most obviously the long tail keywords are much more specific. If there is a clear way to define your niche in the marketplace, and you can put into words the likely search terms that your ideal customer would use to find your business, long tail keywords offer several advantages:
- The visitors to your site are more likely to find what they are looking for as their search was more detailed.
- Your site is likely to rank higher as there is less competition in specific searches.
- Visitors who find your site are ALREADY looking for exactly what you offer so they are more likely to be ready to make a purchasing decision.
- If you decide to kickstart your marketing with a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign, the long tail keywords are likely to cost less per click than broad targeting, short tail keywords which many others will also be trying to win.
The major downside – and it is a big disadvantage – is the volume of searches being done. Although you are likely to win a higher click through rate and connect with the right prospects, the overall number of searches being done for that particular (long tail) keyword will be lower than a broader search. For example, there might be 1000 searches for jewelry, 400 for gold jewelry and only 25 searches for gold jewelry necklace Figaro chain. Working the numbers: if your site converted 100% which matched that long tail keyword, it would be the same as converting 2.5% of the top level (jewelry) search but that may be difficult if you are ranking significantly lower – maybe pages lower than your competition.
What do short tail keywords offer?
They basically offer the flipside of all the points mentioned above – the biggest advantage being the sheer volume of searches being done. The bad news is that it can be difficult to rank highly and the field is competitive, leading to a high CPC (cost per click) if you decide to try PPC and a potentially long struggle to improve rankings to get anywhere near page 1, let alone position 1.
When a very specific search is entered (a long tail keyword), the viewer knows EXACTLY what they are looking for. That’s precisely why they are more likely to convert into a buyer after they reach a site. When a potential customer doesn’t know exactly what they want, they are more likely to enter a short tail keyword and may stumble across your site and then start to hone in on your product. It’s like an almost ‘accidental’ acquisition because your site has the chance to convert a general search into a specific interest in your product or service.
SEO Keyword Strategy is a fine tuning exercise which has to be ongoing. Experimenting with long tail keywords could unlock a new marketing opportunity. If you’re looking for an SEO agency to help identify new keywords, contact us today.