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Keyword Research: Broad, Targeted and Long Tail

Keyword Research: Broad, Targeted and Long Tail

Much of your search engine optimization (SEO) and Internet advertising success relies on solid keyword research. And to get the most mileage out of your keyword optimization, it’s best to target keywords with varying levels of focus. That’s because there’s a certain amount of tradeoff that occurs when choosing your keywords. In general, a broad keyword has high search volume, high competition and low conversion. A more focused keyword, on the other hand, may have less search volume, but lower competition and higher conversion (if targeted correctly). The rationale is that those who are using very specific search terms—for example, “how to identify vintage fiestaware” instead of “dinnerware”—are more likely to have a very clear purpose for clicking through to your website, thus, it’s easier for you to guess what they are looking for and to deliver it. Of course, if you target nothing but laser focused, highly specific keywords, you’ll only garner a handful of niche traffic. While this works for some strategies, you may want to branch out a bit for wider Internet marketing campaigns. In order to do so, focus your keyword search on filling out three different tiers of keywords:
  • Broad search terms
  • Targeted search terms
  • Long tail search terms
That way, you’ll be well-positioned to capture a share of the high volume traffic but you’ll also cater to the more niche audiences. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of each keyword tier:
Broad search terms
These are highly generic, one to two keyword search terms that relate to your entire industry. Target these towards the broad search terms with the highest traffic and greatest relevance to your website. For example, if you had a store that sold rebuilt engines, your broad search terms might be: automotive, car parts and motors.
Targeted search terms
Targeted search terms get a bit more specific, but still have high search volume. These can expand to the three to four word length and should include some pertinent modifiers or adjectives. Verbs also work well. Applied to our used engine store example, we might use: buy used engines, rebuilt engines and discount used engines.
Long tail terms
Long tail search terms focus on attracting a very specific audience. The search volume for these terms will be drastically lower—but it comes to quality over quantity. The key is targeting your long tail terms so that it attracts visitors who are very likely to convert. One good way to choose long tail phrases is to imagine what someone might type if they knew your page existed and they were trying to find it again, or if they had a specific item in mind and wanted to buy it now. For example: rebuilt chevy engines for sale, how to buy a rebuilt engine at a discount and rebuilt engine vendors online.
When choosing keywords for your SEO campaign, don’t focus all of your efforts on a single long tail or broad search term. Although you’ll likely optimize for some key phrases in between these two extremes incidentally, it’s best if you are conscious of which relevant terms bring in traffic from these three tiers and choose a balanced selection of keywords appropriately.
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