Keyword optimisation is perhaps the most important yet most poorly understood element of SEO. But keyword optimisation is no black art and any half-decent direct response copywriter should grok it immediately.
I don’t know about you, but I’m heartily sick of seeing outrageous claims by people selling Internet Marketing information, keyword optimisation strategies, tips and techniques propped up by a few very rare and exceptional successes.
In reality, though, while it takes a lot more work than the sellers of this information like to admit, keyword optmisation is actually very easy in principle – and most of the problems come from our old friend the 80/20 rule (and they’re only problems because we ignore the 80/20 rule, I hasten to add).
Fact is, most people make three huge mistakes when they try to improve their natural search engine rankings with keyord optimisation:
- First, they spend their keyword optimisation efforts on wrong keywords entirely (as in, they’re not focused enough).
- Secondly, they do their keyword optimisation for the right keywords (in a sense) but don’t understand it’s not enough just to dominate rankings for the most popular keyword in their niche.
- And thirdly, they often try keyword optimisation in too competitive a market without what we might call “ranking collateral”.
So, first off…
Keyword Optimisation for the Wrong Keywords.
As you know I live in Ireland. If I mosey on along to google.ie and type in, say, “photography Galway”, on the right-hand side I get loads of results, some of which are actually from photographers in Dublin.
Yes, these are Adwords (which people are paying money for) from photographers in Dublin who are popping up when someone is looking for a photographer in Galway.
Now, I don’t know whether you know Ireland or not, but believe me when I say you wouldn’t want to drive from Dublin to Galway just for some mugshots. Some people would, but the vast majority won’t. So a Dublin photographer doing keyword optimisation to target the people of Galway is a waste of time, effort and money.
OK, so you might say, “But, you short, bald irascible git, this is Adwords not SEO keyword optimisation!”.
True. But I don’t care – the same principle applies to keyword optimisation wherever you find it. Business owners do their keyword optimisation for too broad a category – say, “photography” rather than “photography galway”.
Not only will the first generate you many spurious enquiries, but it’s also much harder do the keyword optimisation and rank for.
Thirdly (yes, I’ve skipped ahead – I’ll do No.2 in a minute, because it’s the most interesting, the most valuable, and the least well understood by the plebs)…
They Go for the Big Fish Without the Proper Bait or the Right Equipment.
OK, that’s a crap (or “carp”) metaphor. But what I mean is, they might try keyword optimisation immediately for “photography”, which returns 54 million results rather than, say, “galway photographer” which returns only 201,000.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out keyword optimisation to get you into the top 10 with 201,000 competitors is much easier than keyword optimisation with 54 million competitors, does it?
And this is related to the second point: why it’s not always best to aim your keyword optimisation at popular keywords.
Or, to put it another way…
Keyword Optimisation for Keywords with High Search Volumes Might Get You a Lot of Traffic, but Might Not Make You a Lot of Money!
There are a few reasons for this, but I’m going to cover just one of them now (the others are worthy of a post in themselves).
It’s to do with what you might call buying temperature. Someone searching for “photography” could be after anything to do with the subject – books, galleries, cameras or, as a photographer might hope, a photographer.
But someone searching for “galway wedding photographer” is most likely at least thinking about someone to take photos at his or her wedding, correct?
That’s Why with Your Keyword Optimisation You’re Often Best to Target the So-Called Long-Tail Keywords!
Not only are they easier to rank for, but the lower search volume is often compensated for by their buying temperature
Now, you’ll find this theme – niches and keyword optimisation – cropping up all over the place and any marketer or direct response copywriter worth his salt will understand it in a trice.
Y’see, the Internet, SEO, keyword optimisation, Social Marketing and all this other new-fangled stuff calls for a difference only in style not substance.
There are a lot of people getting rich out there selling “secrets” to keyword optimisation which are nothing of the sort and are really just sensible observations and “niching” on very familiar and formulaic strategies that have been around since year dot.