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Why You Should Give Up On Your Top Keywords

By Colin Ryan

Industry News, Guides & Tips

Why you should ignore your top keywords

via darrenslaughter.com

It’s Time to Get Real

Running a successful business on the web means being found by your customers. Being found means showing up on search engines, which means ranking highly for the keywords people are using. The better the keyword, the better the business you’ll draw from it.

At least, that’s the conventional wisdom. But when it comes to your top keyword, my advice is simple.

Ignore it.

That’s right. Bury it. Don’t spend another minute on it. Instead, you should be investing your energy in long tail phrases—more specific queries of four words or more. Here’s why.

Your top keyword isn’t realistic.

If you or your website are new to the game, you simply won’t rank for your number-one keyword anytime soon. Ranking standards for competitive keywords are stacked against challengers; they rely largely on factors like site age, which is beyond your control, and volume and diversity of backlinks, which require either tons of time or tons of money to develop.

The long tail generates more traffic and revenue, more quickly.

Let’s say you ignore my advice and concentrate on your number-one keyword. You may end up on page two of Google’s search results. But let’s face it: there’s no value in page two. In fact, there’s pretty much no value in anything but the first five spots—and by the time you get there, you’ll have nothing but red in your ledger to show for it.

Long tail phrases, on the other hand, are much less competitive, so you can concentrate on more than one at a time and build up your ranking much more quickly. Less time and more phrases means you’ll make more money, earlier.

Long tail keywords convert visitors to customers more often.

Top search queries may generate more revenue overall, but on a case-by-case basis, long tail keyword phrases get better traction from visitors. In fact, people who click the top search link are less likely to click again on the site at the other end than people who choose links lower on the list. That’s because people searching long-tail phrases know more about what they want, and are more prepared to make a buying decision once they find the right solution: you.


Long tail phrases are a perfect fit for the real estate industry.

A web search for real estate is inherently more specific than a web search for just about anything else. If I want to buy a pair of Levi’s, I don’t need to search “Levi’s jeans greater Boston.” I can get Levi’s from any online retailer. Homes, on the other hand, are inseparable from geography, which means that long tail searches, which make up 70 percent of all search engine queries, actually take a larger portion of the pie in our industry.

Long tail phrases will help you get your top keywords.

Long-tail phrases are the gift that keeps on giving. By building a healthy list of long tail phrases and nurturing the traffic that comes with them, you’ll automatically gain more authority with search engines. In other words, your long tail efforts will actually make you more competitive when it comes to your top keywords.

What do you think? Is the long tail the secret to success, or are your top keywords too important to ignore? Tell us in the comments!

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