07 September 2012

Choosing Keywords to rank on

I get a lot of questions about SEO... but here's a common one I've been hearing a lot lately:

"Which keywords should I focus on?"

It's hard to give a blanket answer about keyword selection because every business is different.

But here's some advice that'll probably apply to your situation.

If you're choosing between a few different keyword variations, focus on the one that's most relevant to your business. And specifically, you want to focus on keywords that have HIGH "
buying intent."

I'm talking about keywords where there's ZERO doubt that this is a prospect interested in your products or services. (In other words, no tire kickers.)

Here's a hypothetical example to explain my point.

Let's imagine you're a dentist based in Cape Town and you specialize in cosmetic dentistry.

What keywords should you focus on?

Let's imagine you're deciding between three options:

1. The keyword "dentist" - 
2. The keyword phrase "Cape Town dentist" - 
3. The phrase "Cape Town cosmetic dentist" - 

My advice: You should focus on "Cape Town cosmetic dentist" because it's the most relevant keyword - even though it's got less search volume.

And there are 2 reasons why...

Reason #1. Get Faster Rankings

It's much easier to get ranked on the first page of Google for a more specific phrase like "Cape Town cosmetic dentist" than for a shorter phrase like "dentist."

(In the SEO world, these long phrases are known as "long-tail keywords").

It's common to be able to rank for a 3+ word long-tail phrase within 1-2 months, but you might have to invest for 6-12 months or longer to appear on the first page of Google for a shorter phrase.

Reason #2. Get More Customers
And here's the even more important reason to focus on relevant long-tail keywords: you'll get more customers.

If people search Cape Town cosmetic dentist and land on your website, they'll be
way more likely to become a patient, versus if they just searched "dentist" or "Cape Town dentist."

Think about it...
WHY do you want to rank on the first page of Google anyways?

Rankings alone won't get you customers. Traffic alone won't get you customers. In order to get new customers, you need traffic PLUS

You need people to land on your website and then contact you and do business with you. And you'll enjoy much higher conversions if you focus on keyword with clear
buying intent.

When in doubt, focus on more specific, more relevant, longer keyword phrases.