Vanity keywords are keywords that are often too broad or represent an entire industry and are therefore difficult to rank for. You can push a lot of effort into trying to secure these keywords and phrases but ultimately it can derail your overarching strategy. By all means, if you have the resources, run the efforts alongside a wider strategy… go nuts. If you don’t have endless time and resource, you should consider long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords can provide you with quick wins and can actually be as successful in generating traffic, if not more so, compared to vanity terms.
Equally, vanity terms can be an exceptionally effective sales tool, however, it’s important to weigh the cost of achieving these goals (or trying to achieve them) and the potential value of the new business it could generate.
The importance of keyword length
Long-tail keywords allow you to truly set your website apart from the competition. More and more, users are searching using long-tail terms to find what they are looking for. This saves them time by filtering out the obsolete results that tend to fall under broader industry terms.
Using research tools such as Keyword Planner, you can find long-tail keywords which fall under your service or product offering, which have decent numbers of searches but also have lower competition scores and cost per click.
People actually use long tail
We search for specific information, so, our content should be optimised to cater to this. The way users search is not usually via broad terms such as ‘recruitment’ but more so specific such as ‘marketing manager recruitment’ or ‘marketing recruitment agency in Leeds’.
We do this because we know that the specialist information will be revealed, rather than a top-level landing page or homepage that we then have to use as a jumping-off point for yet another search.
Particularly when considering your mobile optimisation strategy, you need to be clued up on the types of suggested search terms your users will be presented with when they begin to enter a relevant term. These could enhance your keyword research or presumptions and should form part of your long-tail keyword strategy.
You can also use the ‘people also search for’ function to gather insights as well as noting auto-fill search terms on eCommerce sites such as Amazon.
Finally, when we think about how users search with voice search, the queries are often much longer and conversational than a traditional search. When considering your voice search strategy, long-tail search terms can help in optimising your site for this purpose.
How to use long-tail keywords
There are a number of ways to use long-tail keywords to your advantage. The first is the most obvious; to be found! Yes, integrating a long tail keyword strategy into your SEO plans can help people find you for more specific terms.
You can use this opportunity to create loads of blog content, video and interesting site copy that will build a profile that reflects these long-tail keywords. We’re talking variations, we’re talking alternative phrases, we’re talking related key terms. All of this can culminate in a very real and valuable capability to rank for long-tail keywords that people actually use to find the stuff they need.
We have also seen brands and companies use this as an opportunity to easily rank for search terms that very few people rank for and have low search volumes. Although this might seem counter-productive, it can actually be used as a sales tool. “Oh did you know we can be found on the number one spot on Google for ‘very long chain of keywords’ which makes us specialists in our area?” and for some industries, this works!
So the second route may not work for everyone, but it can be used to build trust – you’ve got to create the content to get the ranking – and it can be used as a sales tool to show how much work you’ve put into studying the topic of “very long chain of keywords”.
Also published on Medium.