Plan – Prioritize – Progress
Keywords are the foundation on which the whole structure of SEO is based on. The user searches in the keywords and the search engines execute their search algorithms on the basis of these keywords. Hence, the selection of keywords and keyword research is what the SEO journey starts with.
The main objective of ranking high on organic search and thereby getting targeted traffic can be achieved much faster by targeting the Long Tail Keywords. Long Tail Keywords are phrases with more than three or four words specifying the product or service that you offer. Any well planned SEO campaign first focuses attention on long tail keywords which are more specific rather than generic keywords or head terms.
If the website in question is about Edible oil then see the no. of results Google displays for various key phrases as follows:
Search Query – [Edible oil]:
Search Query – [Edible oil refining]:
Search Query – [Edible oil refining company]:
As you can see that the number of results being displayed get reduced if you have a longer phrase – which (usually) means the competitiveness decreases and the potential of ranking increases if you are targeting for a longer keyword.
If you focus only on generic keywords or head terms, the rankings will take more time and in the meanwhile you lose out on the targeted traffic, which the site may have got as a result of ranking for long tail keywords. On the other hand if the long tail keywords are targeted in due course, the site starts ranking for the head terms and the site shows an increase in targeted traffic over a period of time indicating progress.
Research on search behavior has proved that the searchers are becoming more specific in their queries and keying in long tail keywords more as this saves their time. Google Instant has also given an impetus to the long tail searches as the long tail keyword suggestions offered by Google as the searcher types the query is easy to select and search for.
Hence, setting the priority for long tail over head terms is surely more sensible as this will show an increasing and a progressive trend in the traffic in your analytic reports and help you to get visibility on search much earlier.
If the client wants to target the local market then the long tail keywords having a local intent reduce the competition much further and increases the chances of the website to rank high in the SERPs as soon the site gets indexed.
But, the main challenge in selecting the long tail phrases is to work out the right combination of words which will bring the targeted traffic right from the early stage of the SEO campaign keeping in mind the content of the site.