Keyword Strategy & Selection For Public Facing Websites

Understanding proper keyword strategy for your public-facing website is a vitally important step for building organic traffic. If you have recently gone live with a new website, or if you are looking to improve traffic for your existing website, this article will be of use!

This article is here to help you understand the theory behind keyword selection and strategy. So, where do you start?

The Cost Conversion Curve

When starting the journey into the world of SEO (search engine optimization), a lot of content writers, bloggers, and marketing professionals do not take into consideration cost vs. conversion in their keyword selection process. In many cases, their time is focused on a few highly competitive keywords. When this occurs, results turn out to be sub-par rankings with low conversion rates.

To build the foundation to secure high-volume keywords, it is essential to include long-tail keywords as part of your initial strategy.

The following graph shows the relationship between high cost, high competition keywords, and the probability that those keywords will lead to a profitable conversion on your website.

Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords were mentioned earlier, but what, exactly are they?

“Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they’re closer to a point-of-purchase or when they’re using voice search” – WordStream

Long-tail keywords are much more likely to convert a visitor to you than a highly competitive, single-word keyword. As long-tail keywords are generally more specific, conversion rates associated with them tend to be much higher.

It can be tempting to think that using a popular, one-word keyword will get you on more people’s searches. In a way, it will, but it will be pages and pages away. Basically, the difference between long-tail keywords and single work ones is this: would you rather be on the first page on someone’s Google search or the hundredth?

Not only that, but even if they do find you through a single word keyword, you’re far less likely to actually be relevant to what they’re looking for. For example, you are far more likely to convert a visitor who landed on your website using the keywords “Buy Size 12 Blue Cowboy Boots” than someone who found you through the keywords “Cowboy Boots.”

Search Volume and Ranking Potential

When selecting keywords, a long tail keyword will be less competitive, have less search volume, and consequently be far easier to secure a high ranking. This is important to consider when selecting which keywords you will target as part of your SEO strategy. Although there may be a significant payoff for a generic keyword regarding search volume, the ranking potential for that keyword is usually very low. The following graph illustrates exactly that:

The main observation that can be made from this graph is that to get the same total search volume for long-tail keywords you will have to secure many high-ranking positions.

Minimizing Risk in Your Keyword Strategy

A large and diversified keyword basket is less susceptible to variations in traffic due to ranking loss. Success in SEO, in many cases, can be difficult to accurately measure. As traffic can fluctuate due to market and seasonal trends, fads, and industry competition, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly where traffic gains or losses are happening.

When trying to minimize this risk in SEO, a great way to do this is by building a diversified keyword portfolio. Similar to investing, putting all your work into a few high-risk keywords can provide a high return, but it also presents a much larger risk.

Try building out your list of targeted keywords like you would build out a portfolio. Split your efforts between high risk/reward keywords, medium risk/reward keywords, and low risk/reward keywords. This will help protect your SEO investment by ensuring that a single keyword ranking loss will not drastically impact your overall SEO performance.

This graph is an example of the relationship between keyword investment risk and the number of keywords included in your SEO strategy:

Keywords and SEO can seem confusing, but the more you learn about it the more ingrained it becomes in your everyday work. Taking the time to understand long tail keywords and other SEO practices is beyond worth it for your business. That includes keeping up to date with SEO practices. The online world changes quickly. It’s much easier to spend a little time here and there updating your practices than falling behind and having to relearn everything.

Do you have any keyword strategies you use? Let us know in the comments below!

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This blog post was originally published in May 2018 and has been edited to improve accuracy and readability.

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