If you’ve read about search engine optimization (SEO) or attended workshops on improving your search engine results page placement, you’ve probably been introduced to the concept of long tail keywords. They’re a series of words or phrases that folks enter to narrow the field of results on Internet searches – e.g., “Portland Oregon movie theaters” instead of simply “movie theaters.”
- If you’re searching for information, you’ll increase the odds that you’ll find what you want quickly.
- If you want to get found, you’ll increase the odds that your web page or blog post will land among the first few pages of search results.
For example: A search on the word writer yields 527 million results. A search on Beaverton writer narrows the field to 1.1 million. Place quotes around “Beaverton writer” for an exact match and the field narrows even further to 600+ matches.
Of course, 600 matches = 60+ pages of search engine results. So what are the chances that your site makes it to the top of the list?
The search engine will weigh in on the total traffic to your site, the breadth of content relevant to writing and/or Beaverton, and the number of reputable links that deemed your content noteworthy. Absent a strong showing in one or more of those factors, you’ll need to choose an even longer string of words – perhaps Beaverton writer and editor – to get noticed.
But wait? Do I really want my on-line presence to be dictated by long tail keywords? Won’t it hamper my creativity, or make my writing stilted?
If you’re generating mounds of content for the sake of getting noticed by search engines, then you need to be attentive to long tail keywords. The practice of optimizing content for targeted phrases will improve your rankings and make it easier for your prospective clientele to find you!
HOWEVER… you want to impress your readers once they accept the invitation for a visit. Stilted writing is not attractive. Use your creativity to weave your long tail keywords into the natural flow of ideas.
I’m all for an effective SEO strategy, but you can’t overlook your responsibility to be relevant, conversational, and informative.