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It’s an interesting question. Can you answer it? Most SEOs will jump at the chance of showcasing their best ranking. But what about you guys who own online businesses? If you own an online business and aren’t using any kind of consultancy or agency to help with your Digital Marketing, I want to know, what is your best ranking?
Ranking well in Google is the aim of a majority of online businesses. Ranking 1st or in the top three for your desired key terms is the Holy Grail of any SEO campaign.
Let’s face it, reaching those top spots guarantees income beyond your dreams, doesn’t it?
Hmmm, well maybe but it’s not an exact science and it also depends on your definition of “best ranking”.
So what is your best ranking?
Some will say ranking 1st for their brand name? In fact you could broaden that and say that most would be happy simply ranking 1st for anything, even if it isn’t truly related to what they sell or offer. “It’s exposure of the brand right”.
Others may say getting on the first page for a generic service or product?
Ranking above a well-known big brand may be on the list?
If we are really looking for bragging rights, how about ranking 1st for one word, for example a tyre company ranking 1st for the term “tyres”?
How about complete page-one domination for your name or brand?
All are awesome and worthy of a boast.
But, are they really the best rankings? More importantly are they the best rankings FOR YOU?
As I mentioned at the start, this post is primarily aimed at those online businesses whom don’t engage with any type of consultancy or agency and are going it alone.
You may have read up on your keyword research and decided this was something you can do yourself. This is great; however this is also where so many online businesses fail.
So to help you along, let’s have another look at those above scenarios from a different angle.
This is great, however in reality if you can’t rank first for your brand name you need to look into this.
If this has been your target then you may not be seeing the expected traffic to your site.
You see the “build it and they will come” theory doesn’t really work online.
Ask yourself: Are you a big enough brand that people know about you? If the answer is “no” then you need to be focusing further afield than simply ranking for your name. If no one knows who you are, they won’t be searching for you.
This is great. Ranking for generic terms is hard, hard work and more often than not the competition is a lot tougher. You are more likely to be coming up against really big brands.
However, are people in 2014 searching for generic terms?
The key is in the long tail terms. These are the ones that will help you target what people are more realistically searching for.
These days people are more inclined to search using questions as opposed to quick terms.
The Hummingbird update also means that the results delivered will start to become more tailored to the intent of the search.
Another great feat, but do you need to?
How truly important is it that you are ranking above them? If they are in your sector or industry and they sell the same products, then simply aiming to outrank a big name in your industry doesn’t automatically mean this will reap a reward.
The bragging rights for this are huge. Nothing sounds better than saying you rank for one single word.
But do you search for single terms these days? I know I don’t. And even if you did, wouldn’t this be the start of research as opposed to the “spending search”?
So is this really a beneficial ranking?
It is also important to take into account the use of Google Suggest. I am sure you have all noticed that Google likes to complete your search query for you while you type. The idea being to help you find what you are looking for more quickly.
Well if Google are now so kindly helping you out as your type then what are the chances of someone searching for a single term? Minimal. Being offered suggestions (that are never going to be a single word) you are more likely to follow what Google recommends.
This is hugely important, especially if you are building your brand. Its good practice to claim all your profiles, if only to protect your brand.
However, as with our first point, beyond dominating for your brand – does this bring the money through the site?
Ok, so if all the above needs to be thought about what should you be ranking for?
The answer lies in the reason you went online to start with. If you are selling a product then you need to target the terms that will actually bring customers to your site. The money terms.
Going back to our previous example; so you sell tyres, but how many people search for just “tyres”?
Most will be looking for someone who can help them out locally or they will be searching for a specific make of tyre, some may even know the exact product. And this is what they will be searching for.
Sure you are 1st for “tyre” (and I am sure this generates traffic) but have you covered all the money terms?
And this should be right at the centre of your keyword research. Finding those terms that people are most likely to be searching for that will actually convert into sales or enquires.
Those gems that have small competition, but big conversions. The long tail terms that really target what an individual is looking for.
People these days are more savvy when searching online. They know what they are looking for and they know they can ask Google questions. And if you aren’t appearing for these types of searches (that are relevant to you) then you can rank for other terms as much as you like. The chances are you will have missed the sale.
The complexity of carrying out the most effective keyword research is a skill and when you know how to carry it out it isn’t rocket science. However, it is very easy to get it wrong and with your entire online success hanging a very high percentage on you getting this element right – is it time to start talking to an agency about how they can help ensure you are targeting the right terms?
No matter how much you read into keyword research, unless you are carrying it out on a regular basis for a wide range of different sites and sectors you will be hard pushed to be better placed than a well-established SEO agency.
If this is an area you feel you need help in or you need the involvement of a digital agency, why not contact us today and see how we can help.
Keywords Blue Marker via BigStock Photo
Young Businessmen Rejoicing via BigStock Photo
Samantha Noble is well known within in the search industry, she even won the UK Search Personality 2016 at the UK Search Awards in November. This year, she continues to make an impact on the industry by judging not only one, but three, prestigious industry awards.