In our lives we have been groomed to compete, to compare and to be the very best at what we do. Typically excellence is associated with ranking, and being number one is always the best. But when it comes to “SEO” and google rankings- sometimes this rule doesn’t apply. I often hear from those that are new to inbound marketing, “I don’t rank #1 for ______ (insert random high competition, low search volume keyword here). Theres more than SEO to consider. I have to stop and ask, “what do you think would happen if you were number one for that keyword?” “Did you know that keyword only has 200 monthly searches?” “How qualified do you think a customer that found you using that keyword would be?” When it comes to rankings, being #1 may seem great- but long tail keywords is where you want to focus your time.
Long Tail = More Qualified
Long tail keywords are more specific keywords associated with your brand. For example, if you sell jewelry, rather than wanting to rank for “gold bracelet” which you may find has very high competition with jewelers who invest much more money and time into their marketing than you, you may find that “white gold and sapphire tennis bracelet” is a better keyword for your item. If a person types in the words “gold bracelet” they could be looking for anything- a yellow gold charm bracelet, a delicate gold chain bracelet- but when a prospect types in “white gold and sapphire tennis bracelet” or any combination of that long tail key word, and your listing comes up, they’re far more likely to buy. Now, the number of people searching for those keywords may be less, but the more content you have in relation to long tail keywords, the more likely you are to get found- and the more qualified your traffic will be.
Recognize the True Value of Qualified Inbound Links
If you know anything about the Panda and Penguin updates from Google, you probably know that link building via directories is far less valuable than it once was. While many used to focus on inbound links to propel their authority (and their page rankings), the post-Penguin world relies on inbound links differently. If you find quality link partners in your industry, blog comments, guest posts, and directory listings can still hold value. You should focus on finding websites that your target buyer would be researching on. For example, if you are a restaurant menu printer, you may focus on restaurant marketing resources, hospitality industry websites or restaurant associations. All of these places are great ways to gain exposure with the appropriate audience rather than focusing on spammy directories that may or may not have an impact on your SEO credibility. While Google has given less and less importance to inbound links, they still believe in putting information prospects are looking for in the right places, which will yield traffic, even if it doesn’t come from the search engine.
Be a Resource for Information
If you have the luxury of ranking #1 for a keyword, maybe you get a ton of click-thru traffic, but without quality content, I can almost guarantee that your bounce rate will skyrocket. How do you make sure that those potential customers that are finding your site actually buy? By publishing engaging, relevant, and remarkable content for them to consume. It’s not about you and your products anymore, it’s about providing relevant information and resources to those that are seeking it out.
Inbound marketing is so much more than SEO. Once you can look beyond being number one, find relevant long tail keywords, rely on inbound links for qualified traffic and be a resource to those finding your website you’ll be swimming in qualified leads. Forget about your rank and start publishing the content that your target customer is looking to you for. Get your team involved- plan a strategy and get to work implementing it. The results will speak for themselves.