Many businesses owners believe that keyword research is just a bunch of hooey.  Why put all that effort into figuring out your keywords when it is quite obvious which ones are for you?  Well, if you are willing to bet your web traffic on it then, fine.  But if you are not COMPLETELY confident that you are using the right keywords in the right circumstances, keep reading.

Long-tail vs Short-tail:

  You’ve probably heard these terms thrown around.   I short tail keyword is one of the more popular keywords.  If you have a jewelry store, an example of a short-tail keyword you might choose would be “earrings.” Sure, it describes what you have, but it also describes what thousands of other businesses have.

As a woman I know that there are a million quadrillion earring types in the world.  You don’t want to be somewhere in THAT mess.  It’s more likely that you have some specific style of earrings at your store, such as “sterling silver filigree earrings.”  Doing a quick test on the Google Adwords Keyword tool will show you these two keywords will get quite different results.  In fact, that “earrings” enjoys over 1.8 million searches per month (again, that’s per MONTH people).  Yet, “sterling silver filigree earrings” only gets an average of 170 searches per month.  So I ask, each month would you rather work to stand out in a crowd of 170 or 1.8 million?

Browsers vs. Buyers:

So the real kicker about long-tail or short-tail keywords is this: research shows that the more specific the keyword (i.e . long tail) the more likely the person is ready to buy. For example, if I know my dear aunt loves not just earrings, but sterling silver filigree earring, I am going to search on that term to find those earrings to buy her.  If I just want to see what kind of earring out there in the big wide world, I’d use the search term “earrings”.   But as one of the 1.5 billion internet-using people in the world, I would not be expecting to get lucky from such a broad search term.

What does that mean for you?  Well, if you are aligning yourself with “earrings” as one of your keywords, you may be barking up the wrong…er, keyword.  Plus you are getting lots of people browsing for ideas, not searching to buy.

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