Once you’ve made the commitment to have a website that will last for the longhaul, the next step is to gather good content rich material (CRM) for your website. If you are in a service industry this means writing original content about what you do and how you do it in a way that is unique from your competitors. Once you have gathered all of the relevant information and created a wireframe it is time to start thinking about keyword optimizing your content.
I’ve been meeting with small business owners for years now and about 25% of them are completely obsessed with Googling themselves. The pet store owner wants her website to be the top search result for the phrase “dog food”, the general contractor wants his website to to the top search result for the phrase “home builder”, and I want my website to be the top search result for the phrase “website developer.” But all three of us are in for a world of disappointment and here’s why…
Google doesn’t know just how amazing we are or how hard we have worked to put together our pet store, general contracting business, or web development firm. All Google knows is that there were hundreds of other websites built before ours with years and years of Search Engine Optimization and online reviews with Yelp and Google Places. If Google is choosing which website should be the top search result for the search phrase “web developer” is it more likely that the person conducting the search was looking for a large firm with thousands of clients and tens of web developers or me? That doesn’t mean I should give up working on Search Engine Optimization or be resigned to languishing on page 8 of the search results. It just means I need to work hard and be smart about how I present the content on my website to the world. It is time to starting thinking realistically about what I am trying to accomplish with my website’s SEO.
Your industry, the size of your business, and your commitment to your website all come in to play when picking website keywords. If you are operating a bakery and you are just getting started it is probably pretty unrealistic to think that you will build a nice 5 page website for your small business and the phones will start to ring from all of the website traffic you will get when someone searches “bakery”. This is because Google “thinks” that most people searching for a “bakery” are looking for a world renowned bakery, not your newly opened establishment. But fear not, there is something you can do with your website’s content/keywords that will help your website be found: rather than focus on generic keywords, you can focus on long tail keywords!
So what are long tail keywords? If you’ve ever searched for content on the internet, then you’ve probably used long-tailed keywords to help you find what you were looking for. Long tail keywords are the set of words (usually about 3-5 words) that you use to get more specific search results than can be achieved with a broad-based more generic search.
Let’s look at a real-life example: You’ve adopted a new cat and are on the lookout for information about different brands of cat food. So you go to Google and search for “cat food” but you quickly realize that your search isn’t specific enough and you are going to have to wade through pages and pages of results to find what you are really looking for which is a local pet shop that carries Science Diet brand of cat food. So you get more specific with your search results by searching “Science Diet cat food Portland pet store.” Now you are making use of a more specific search to fine what you are looking for which is something to keep in mind not only as you search the web but as you build a website.
So what some long tail keywords phrases that might be good for your business. If you are a cafe in Tigard, Oregon that specializes in bagels and Stumptown coffee then you might build a webpage that focuses on long tail keywords like “Stumptown coffee Tigard, Oregon” or “everything bagels Tigard, Oregon.” The odds of getting your cafe found will imprive if you can write content that focuses on specific products and/or a specific location. Emphasize what you specialize in and tailor your keyword focus accordingly and you will find yourself starting to appear in organic search results for those longer and more targeted phrases.