SEO Keywords: Are You Branching Out?

Nowadays, exact match domains and anchor text can be a huge no-no. The focus on being search engine friendly is to include more natural and user-friendly terms that actual humans would search.

Why Variation is Important
In the post Penguin-era, it’s important for an SEO campaign to include different keyword variations, synonyms and long tail terms to catch everything that could fall in between the cracks. In some industries, such as the health or legal field, it can be difficult for clients to give the okay on including more broad or all encompassing terms. The key here is to have content with the correct jargon but to be open to the idea of focusing on queries that customers are likely to search, even if it’s not “technically” correct. There are ways to make this point clear with the content you add and educate your visitors.

Search Traffic Matters
It may be difficult to explain to clients why it’s important to focus on terms that they aren’t necessarily interested in. For example, if they are only interested in very specific phrases with low to no search traffic, aggressively pursuing these keywords might not bring a worthy ROI. On the other hand, focusing on related terms that are searched more often will help bring relevant visitors you need to your site. Once you establish favorable rankings focusing on these keywords, you can zero in on more niche and specific keywords. Having a strong foundation to tie it all back to is important in maintaining your rankings.

Are You Convinced?
Branching out of your most desired keywords list also means including branded terms and even throw away terms. Of course, you’ll still have a main list that you’re actively optimizing for, but it doesn’t hurt to diversify.

Check out these helpful articles on keywords, anchor text and more:

SEO Analytics, Middle Earth-Style
Google Penguin Update: Impact of Anchor Text Diversity & Link Relevancy
Anchor Text Variation in your Link Profile: Do It

Google Instant and Long Tail Searches

Since Google Instant launched, there have been concerns that long tail searches won’t be as beneficial to SEO and PPC. Let’s take a look at what is affected and why:

What is ‘Long Tail’?
As this dino-graphic shows, generic keywords are more likely to yield a large volume of general search results. But if you get more descriptive with the keywords you’re searching for, you’re more likely to get specific results and find what you’re looking for. Example: searching “hair salon” versus “kids hair salon in los angeles”.

When you use broad, generic keywords, this means that you’ll have a lot of competition. In the SEO world, this means that it will take a lot of time and effort to be a viable competitor. When it comes to PPC, this means that you’ll have to bid more in order for your ads to show up at the top of corresponding search queries.

When you concentrate on your niche business with long tail keywords, it makes it easier to succeed. Or at least, that was the point until Google Instant came along and “killed” the long tail.

The Google Instant Connection
In addition to making things more complicated for SEO and PPC, some believe that Google Instant is also making searchers more lazy. But is there any substance to these claims? One thing is for sure, Google Instant is changing the impressions game. Did you know that if a user stops typing on a particular keyword and results are displayed for a minimum of 3 seconds, that counts as an impression even if they start to type again. Boo to slow typers!

Check out this search for “hair salon”. If I’m searched for a salon in LA, why would I type any further? I would simply click on the suggested term.

The argument for paid search is that people would stop bidding for long tail searches since they would benefit more from broad terms, such as this. This means high competition, high prices and more money for Google.

What do you think about Google Instant and how will it affect SEO, and long tail when it comes to paid search?