The selection of keywords is fundamental to the search process. Although keywords themselves don’t carry significant weight in isolation, when analyzed in conjunction with the overall theme of a page, they inform Google to the legitimacy of your content. Keywords are effectively the “building blocks of language and search” (SEOMOZ, 2011).
Best Practices of Keyword Optimization
One common mistake is to use single keywords, that are difficult to rank for and are usually not well targeted. A better practice is to use longer keywords that are easier to rank well for and typically have better conversion rates.
For example, people that use shorter keywords to search are usually ‘shoppers’ (i.e. ’42 inch TV’). Whereas longer keyword searches are more likely to be actual buyers (i.e. ’42 inch LG 1080p LED HD TV’). Therefore, by utilising longer keywords (long tail keywords), you will be targeting people who are more inclined to make a purchase, as they know exactly what they want to buy.
Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords can be defined as “typically longer keyword phrases that are very specific to what a website is selling and what people are looking for” (Wordtracker, 2011). To support the use of long tail keywords, it is believed that higher visibility can be obtained, as longer phrases have less competition. More importantly, it provides a means for businesses to focus on a particular market niche or geographical location. To be successful, highly specific keyword phrases should therefore be used.
Over 90% of searches are long tail keywords
The long tail of a keyword represents a far greater number of searches. As in a 2008 report, Bill Tancer, (Hitwise global research) revealed that for any given topic, the top 100 keywords accounted for just 5.7% of all web traffic. The significance being that a website is able to attract more traffic by targeting more specific search terms. In addition, it is also important to consider the use of acronyms, as people with specialist knowledge will often search for the shorter version of a word. To support this, the term “SEO” receives 11,100,000 global monthly searches, where as “search engine optimization” receives 673,000 (Google AdWords Keyword Tool, 2011).