Now that you’ve outlined the page’s search intent, it’s time for keyword research. (There’s a bit to go through but hold on as we promise it’ll be worth it)
Every page should ideally have 1-2 main target keywords. Think of your main target keyword(s) as the easiest, simplest, and most popular searches your ideal customer would use to find your products/services.
The example we’ll use throughout this entire article is a business selling face masks (very 2020-esque).
The main target keyword for the above example could be: ‘buy face masks’.
Main target keywords are extremely searched for and therefore very competitive to rank – businesses would’ve jumped onboard as soon as searches soared and maintained their position on page 1.
So, if your main target keyword is too competitive then does that mean you should just give up and throw in the towel? Not at all.
Here is where the importance of ranking for long tail keywords comes in. Long tail keywords are essentially longer and more specific variations that are relevant to your main keyword.
An example of a long tail keyword: ‘buy face masks for glasses wearers’ ← this much more specific yet still relevant to your main overall keyword of ‘buy face masks’
Why do we want to rank for long tail keywords?
- Much less competition – potential to rank faster
- Still relevant to main target keyword and attracts the right audience
Understanding the value of long tail keywords: Thinking from Google’s perspective
From a search engine’s perspective like Google, its role is to provide the most accurate, detailed, and useful information to its users and search queries. If you compare a website that has content targeting a main target keyword with vague, generic, and unhelpful content, versus a website that has very specific content that addresses long tail keyword search terms across many different areas – which would you think would rank better?
The answer is and always will be the latter.
So, instead of chasing after the competitive main target keywords when starting out creating SEO content, aim for the low hanging fruit of long tail keywords first. Over time, as you cover a range of specific long tail keywords and search queries, you’ll slowly see your ranks creeping higher and higher onto top pages of search results.
Keyword Research Tools – Paid vs Free
There are paid and free tools you can use to do your keyword research – the paid tools being more comprehensive and detailed for obvious reasons. Paid tools such as AHRefs also provide you with metrics such as ‘Keyword Difficulty’ and Search Volumes which indicate how competitive or difficult it’ll be to rank for that keyword.
However, you can also get keyword and longtail keyword ideas from free tools such as Keyword Surfer. You can even browse Google Search results for keyword ideas – as you type in your main keyword, see what other queries come up in the auto-suggest section of the search bar.