Do you know how to increase the quantity and quality of the traffic coming to your website using your blog? You already know that blogging for your business is an important part of your digital marketing plan. Next to having a brilliant website filled with information about your business, products, and services, a business blog is the best way to increase your online traffic. The key to drawing the right leads to your blog is simple: build relevant, interesting, and topical content around the right keywords.
Content and keywords go hand-in-hand. Keywords are how search engines will organize search results for the user, and the content you create around the keywords is how you drive traffic to your website. Your content needs to stay current and should be constantly providing information to remain relevant and maintain value. But first you must develop your keyword list.
Keywords are the words and phrases users type into a search engine when looking for a product or service. Keywords have two classifications:
- Short tail keywords are also referred to as broad keywords. Generally a single word or simple two-word phrase used to target a larger audience. The leads brought in are at the top of the sales funnel.
- Long tail keywords, also called narrow keywords, are used to target a much smaller faction. Typically a phrase comprised of three to five words specific to the products and services your business offers. Leads generated by these keywords are somewhere between the middle and bottom of the sales funnel.
The sales funnel starts at the widest part of the opening at the top, bringing in as many leads as possible. As the funnel narrows, leads travel through the buying process, and the prospect pool begins to thin out. Here are the six steps of the buying process:
- Awareness – unqualified lead becomes aware of their need for a product or service
- Consideration – becomes a more qualified lead as they educate themselves
- Intent – lead become a viable prospect and knows exactly what they want
- Purchase – prospect is successfully converted into a sale
- Loyal Customer – repeat business
- Advocate for your brand – free word-of-mouth marketing
As an example, let’s say your business is selling restaurant equipment. When Mr. Restaurant Owner is in the market for a new range and is just beginning the process, he will search using generic short tail keywords:
- commercial range
- six-burner range
- commercial gas range
Once he has done a bit of research and has a better idea of what he wants, Mr. Restaurant Owner starts to narrow his search by using the more specific long tail keywords:
- 6 burner commercial gas range with griddle
- Sunfire 6 burner gas range with griddle
- Bakers Pride 6 burner 2 oven gas range with griddle
Using the ST keywords, Mr. Owner is simply ‘window shopping’ from the top of the funnel. He is not ready to commit to a purchase because he doesn’t really know what he wants. As he travels down the funnel, becomes more educated and knows more of what he wants, he then uses the LT keywords to narrow his search. This search will most likely end in a sale.
If Mr. Owner is pleased, he will become a loyal customer and not only will he return to your company anytime he is in need for the products you carry, but he will also spread the word to other restaurant owners about his experience. These business owners will visit your site as pre-qualified leads and will require less finesse to become new customers.
Now is about the time you will be mumbling to yourself “If long tail keywords bring in more qualified leads, then why should I even bother with the short tails?” Good question. Before revealing the answer, let’s overview the pros and cons of each type of keyword.
Short tail keywords
- Easier to develop because of their general nature
- Fit effortlessly into written content
- Drive large amounts of traffic to your site
- Steer leads to your site that wouldn’t think to search for your specific product or service
- The quality of all those leads will be of lower caliber
- The majority of users are just browsing and not ready to make a purchase
- Due to the high level of competition for these generic keywords, your business may rank low in the search results and might not show up on the first results page
Long tail keywords
- Higher quality leads searching with these keywords know exactly what they are looking for and are more likely to complete a sale
- The more business-specific your keyword, the less competition there will be, and the more likely you are to rank high on the first results page
- Reach niche audiences larger competitors may be overlooking
- Using keywords that are too specific, especially if you do not understand your target market(s), could box out other niche audiences
- Draw less traffic to your site and therefore miss out on potential leads
- It can be a challenge to create content around them that flows properly and doesn’t appear awkward
Each has their benefits, so a good balance of both is optimal for every blog entry. That’s not to say you should use the exact same keywords in each and every blog. You should form a list of both short and long tails and work creative and topical content around them. Keep in mind that quality trumps quantity. Using too many of the same keywords in a single post is bad for SEO.
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