When you finish your keyword research, you’ll likely have one main keyword that you’d love to rank. It’s usually a one or two-word phrase that has a huge search volume, making the keywords valuable if you can rank for them.
However, one mistake that many companies make is to become hyper-focused on a single keyword. This focus distracts from their others efforts and can become disheartening if they are unable to rank as quickly as they would like.
Your keyword research will have turned up hundreds if not thousands of keywords that you could potentially rank. Although your main keyword might have the highest value, that doesn’t mean it’s the ‘be all and end all.’
In fact, there are some reasons why you might not want to worry about it at all:
It’s the most competitive
It’s going to be the most competitive, by nature of being a short phrase with high search volume. This competitiveness means that ranking on the first page will take more links and optimization. So, while it has the most volume, it’s also going to require the most effort to rank.
You’ll still want to position on the first page for it, but in the beginning, there are easier keywords that you can quickly rank. These will give you the cash flow to fund your hunt for the bigger, more competitive keywords.
Google takes into account your overall website ‘authority’ when deciding where to rank your pages. You can build this ‘authority’ over time with a lot of links and a lot of content published.
You’ll naturally increase your ‘authority’ as you continue with your marketing and SEO. But it takes time. You’ll often notice that your main keyword will creep up the rankings without you focusing on it. As your site builds ‘authority’ many of your pages will rise with the tide.
So, by not worrying about the most competitive keyword and instead focusing on other pages, you’ll be able to help it progress to #1 indirectly.
Long tail keywords represent 70% of searches
When you publish content aimed at a keyword, you will always end up ranking for long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are ones that individually have small monthly searches. However, they make up 70% of all online searches.
These long tail keywords represent a great opportunity. These keywords are far less competitive than the larger vanity keywords, but added up can equal a huge amount of traffic.
By choosing not to focus all of your energy into one high volume keyword, you can continue to publish new content regularly and rank for long tail keywords. In fact, some case studies have shown that even when you do rank for your main keyword, a huge portion of your traffic will come from different long tail keywords.
It’s not the most targeted
Your main keyword is likely a short phrase that targets your general industry. For example; let’s presume that your business is selling Ford trucks.
You might decide that if only you could rank for the phrase ‘best trucks’ you’d be making a boat load of money. It’s a short phrase that has an enormous amount of monthly searches. The problem is that the people searching that phrase are still in the ‘interest’ stage of an AIDA funnel.
They don’t even know what brand of truck they want to buy, so they are looking at all different types. This searcher isn’t ready to purchase your Ford truck, and that means that they aren’t particularly valuable.
However, a keyword like ‘buy ford f150 NYC’ is valuable even if it only has 10 or 20 searches per month. The searcher already knows what truck they want to buy and where they want to buy it. They are just looking for somebody to help them sign the papers!
The point of this example is to show you that volume isn’t the most important thing. It’s great to rank for high volume keywords, and they can be valuable, but don’t discount small keywords. They are often easier to rank for and contain more targeted traffic that is ready to buy.
Just as SEO should be part of your overall marketing strategy, your main keyword should only be part of your overall SEO strategy.
It’s never a good idea to keep all of your eggs in one basket. With Google now aiming to deceive and delay website owners by giving them confusing ranking results, you need the patience to rank for larger keywords.
You should obviously continue to pursue the largest volume keywords, but you need to ensure that you’re not leaving easy money on the table.
It could take you hundreds of hours of work to rank for your main keyword. That time might be better spent ranking for many smaller keywords that would equal a larger and more targeted amount of traffic.