Keyword Choices; Play some simple game theory and find the Goldilocks keywords
Every company should be building and developing a connection with Google; increasingly Google controls who meets who. Even in the B2B world where sales cycles can be long, Google was often right there at the very start showing who should get an initial meeting or a request for quote.
Optimizing Google is a long term and continually ongoing effort; mostly it boils down to educating Google about what you are an expert on.
This sentence, of course, hides a lot of complexity. But at the heart of it is “what keywords or keywords phrases, are you going to try and convince Google you are an expert on?”
Everyone focuses on the obvious words, the ones that spring to mind and usually the ones that cause them to despair that they are not on the first page of Google search results for. The downside is that almost everyone else is thinking the same way, these keywords can be extremely competitive. Unless you have been working hard at educating Google, there are usually companies with a better and/or longer relationship with Google, and you will likely fail at overcoming them and moving up in the search results. Using the Goldilocks theme, these words are “too hot”.
The downside is that almost everyone else is thinking the same way, these keywords can be extremely competitive. Unless you have been working hard at educating Google, there are usually companies with a better and/or longer relationship with Google, and you will likely fail at overcoming them and moving up in the search results. Using the Goldilocks theme, these words are “too hot”. Educating Google that you are an expert on keywords that receive almost zero search traffic is no good either (“too cold”).
An alternate strategy is to go for a larger basket of second tier keywords; they are winnable as there is less competition, and the larger basket of keywords equals or outperforms the handful of very popular obvious ones. Not too hot, not too cold, this bowl of keywords is “just right”.
The game theory theme of this post comes from changing your perception of search engine visibility from a zero-sum game, one in which you win or lose that popular keyword, to a strategic, long-term process in which you first win the second tier keywords, which with continual effort and investment, become an inroad to eventually winning the very popular keywords.
Most importantly, the ‘long tail’ can come into play. Longer, less common keywords might be just the right temperature for the searcher, as you will find that ‘san Francisco nob hill real estate’ will convert much better that ‘san Francisco real estate’, which undoubtedly will have more volume (and competition) but much less relevance.
The long tail of a keyword represents a far greater number of searches than the head. In a 2008 report, Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise, revealed that for any given topic, the top 100 keywords account for just 5.7% of all website traffic – while long tail keywords account for the remaining 94.3%!
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About Yves Matson
Yves is a seasoned and proven sales and marketing leader in information technology, marketing, and manufacturing. From the boardroom to the trenches, he is a well-rounded Business Development professional who has helped small start-ups to large companies successfully bridge the gap of sales transformation.