Targeted Keywords – Should You Target the Most Popular Keywords Or the Long Tail?

The vast majority of internet, niche or affiliate marketers are simply concerned with driving traffic to their websites in as large a quantity as possible which then in turn will lead to greater sales. There are different strategies that can be put in place regarding how the chosen keyword phrases are incorporated into articles and copy on the pages of the website.

Many marketers new to the game, will search for the most popular keywords related to their niche and build their page or indeed their site around these keywords. For a novice at internet marketing and SEO this would probably be a mistake. The competition for the most lucrative keywords is bound to be extremely fierce and someone inexperienced is unlikely to be able to get their site high in the rankings and hence very little traffic will be the result. It is true to say that there will be huge numbers, potentially, of people searching the web for these keyword phrases which are very popular but you really need to try and get ranked on the first page if your site is to glean much traffic from the search engines. Indeed the first two places will take the majority of searches.

In many cases the top ranked sites will be sites which carry high authority. For a newbie to keyword SEO and link building, it would be nigh on impossible to knock these high authority sites of their top spots in the rankings. So what should you do?

The answer for most beginners is to focus on the not so common keyword phrases. Phrases that may receive only a fraction of the searches but, and this is the crucial bit, only have a fraction of the competition. They are known as long tail keywords. Eg. Without a significant SEO campaign you would find it hard to top the rankings as a newbie for a keyword phrase of ‘magic tricks’. However if you targeted ‘magic tricks explored’ or ‘magic tricks exposed’ the competition will be far easier to rank higher than, in most cases. True enough there may only be a fraction of the searches but if you could get in the top two spots, then those searches could all be yours.

Now if you optimized your site such that each article on your site had a single long tail keyword phrase such as this as its focus, then potentially all your articles could be drawing in some searches and as a result the overall total of visitors could be quite large. This is a very successful ploy by many experienced internet marketers. The sum of all the long tail searches usually exceeds the searches for the most common keywords.

Once you become more skillful with your keyword SEO and how you build back links to your site, you may be able to target keyword phrases which are more lucrative as you will have the skill set to out rank many rivals and potentially build your site’s reputation as an authority site in its own right. You will soon learn if it is possible to take on the top sites for any particular phrase and out rank them. There are many keyword and SEO tools will you can use to help you deduce if it is worth your while trying to do this. Some SEO tools will tell you the strength of the competition in terms of the number and quality of their back links for example.

Most experienced marketers will therefore target a mixture of long tail keywords and selected popular keywords, constantly fine tuning until the balance is right. If you are just starting out go for the long tail first, leaving the others until you have greater SEO skills.

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