Introducing Keywords

You have so far learned about getting Google to trust you and the changes brought forth by Google’s algorithmic updates. Now, you are ready to get started with the core of what SEO is all about – keyword research. What are keywords? Why are they so important? How to find the right keywords and how to use them? How can you estimate the potential of each keyword? These are some of the things we shall discuss at length in this lesson.

What are Keywords?

A keyword can be a word, phrase or sentence that is used by people when performing an online search. Everything about search engines revolves around keywords. In fact, the whole game of SEO is built around keywords. If not for the indexing of keywords by search engines like Google, it would be impossible for anyone to find your website, offer or service. Using the right keywords can make or break your online business. You can have the most beautiful content, but if you haven’t optimized it for the right keywords, nobody would ever find out about it.

Keywords are of two types – short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords.  

Long-Tail Keywords versus Short-Tail Keywords

Short-tail keywords can be no more than a word or two long. Long-tail keywords consist of a whole sentence and can have three to five words in them. Short-tail keywords have a lot of competition around them, much more so than long-tail keywords. But it is next to impossible to optimize for a short-tailed keyword. For example, optimizing for short-tail keywords such as “payday loans” or “cars” is impossible because of the incredible competition for them.

So you’re much better off finding long-tail keywords to optimize for. Long-term keywords are far more relevant and they are much easier to optimize for as the competition for them isn’t as severe as the one for short-tail keywords.

It is next to impossible for a new domain to rank highly for short-tail keywords as they will not have built the much needed trust with Google as yet. Building trust with Google, as you’ve learned in these lessons, takes time and takes a number of years. When you use long-tail keywords, your chances of getting found out are so much greater, even if you are new to the SEO game.

An important point to consider here is that long-tail keywords have a much lower search volume than short-tail keywords, but they make for 70 percent of the searches on Google. Long-tail keywords get the attention of people who are in an advanced stage of the buying cycle.

So when someone searches using a long-tail keyword phrase such as “cheap payday loans in Alberta Canada” you know they are very serious about what they want and will turn buyers or consumers very soon. Had they been searching only for “payday loans”, then they would be at an early stage of the buying process, where they would be looking for general information on payday loans.

The difference here should be quite clear to you. When you search on Google using a short-tail keyword, you are doing nothing more than just browsing. You are looking for general information about a topic and you are not as yet being specific about what you want.

When you use long-tail keywords, you are being very clear and specific about the information that you’re looking for, because you will have already done the basic research needed to be done earlier by using short-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are nothing but a progression of your search.

So when you use a long tail keyword such as “cheap payday loans in Alberta Canada with no credit check,” you are very close to making a decision and will sign up with an offer very soon. That’s why it is so important to optimize your website for long-tail keywords for maximum results.

Now that you familiar with the difference between long-tail and short-tail keywords, in the next lesson, we get started with the basics of keyword research.

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Read next article: Part 8 SEO 101 for Beachbody Coaches  Getting Started With Keyword Research →