What are the best keywords to use for your online content and online advertising? I always say, “The keywords your clients are searching for!” That’s kind of a flippant answer, but it’s the truth. There are no “best” keywords and no magic formula. But there is an answer to this question.
Many people who put up a website for their business (or for their clients) just shoot in the dark with guesses. It’s easy to do. You’re a business owner, and you know your clients and customers better than anyone, right? So you should know what they’re looking for, right?
Without doing some research, you literally have a blindfold on, and are shooting into the dark hoping to hit something. Sometimes, you’ll get lucky and hit something that resonates with your customers. But more often than not, you’ll miss the mark, and just waste your time and energy.
The Long Tail of Keywords
A very common mistake is to try to optimize your content for very generic phrases like “dentist” or “lawyer” or whatever your business is all about. Assuming you use Google yourself, think about what you type into the search bar. It will not be one- or two-word phrases. You are going to search for something very specific, perhaps with a location, but with a better description of what you want. Perhaps you’d search for an:
Estate planning lawyer in Walnut Creek, CA
OK, now we’re getting specific. This is called a long-tail key phrase, because these very niche phrases are very specific, and don’t have many searches. So the “tail” is in the graph showing that the keyword variations trail off to infinity with three-, four-, five-, even ten-word phrases (I used 7 words in the example above). The more specific the phrase, the farther out on the tail you get.
Long tail keyword phrases have several advantages:
- They’re easy to optimize for
- You have very little competition (if any)
- They’re very specific, so your landing page and be specific to that exact phrase
- They’re easier to convert your customers, because you’ve delivered what they’re looking for (in your content)
However, without doing keyword research and discovering exactly what your customers really search for, you’re not going to make anything up that’s terribly useful. Instead, you want to find keywords that meet the following criteria:
- Many people search for it (if possible)
- You have little competition on Google for position
- It’s relevant to your customers who are searching (and it’s something you deliver of course)
There are several keyword suggestion and research tools at your disposal, which give varying degrees of useful information. Some free ones include:
All of these will give different levels of information that can help you find out what are the best keywords to use for your online advertising. They have different advantages and disadvantages (which is a post for another day).
Just remember that you must do keyword research before you create any content for your website or blog. Yes, we did for this post too.