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Focusing on Smaller Keywords is Critical, Here’s Why

By Snap Agency August 15, 2017

SEO is by far the most attractive digital marketing tactic. The idea of being able to put the work in up front and then reap the rewards for years to come with limited upkeep is intriguing.

Unfortunately, many local businesses fail to ever rank for any keywords of value. Their dream of sitting there and watching new clients roll in never materializes. But not because it’s not possible, but because they pursued the wrong tactics.

Like many of us, plenty of local business owners try their hand at something and give up after they hit a brick wall. However, many times that wall is only in place because they decided to take the hard road rather than the easier one.

In this article we’ll be looking at the easier road, targeting smaller keywords, and explaining why all businesses should be doing it.

Why is Keyword Research Important?

Keyword research is the process of digging into a niche and finding phrases and word that people search for in search engines like Google and Bing. The idea is to create content around these keywords then and to be able to gain some of the traffic.

However, keyword research isn’t just about finding the keywords; it’s mainly about analyzing them and being able to create a list that you can rank for. Of course, some are far more competitive than others and picking the right balance is a huge indicator of future success.

If you pick keywords that are too difficult, then you’re unlikely to ever rank, regardless of the hours that you dedicate to creating the most awesome piece of content ever.

On the other hand, if you pick a keyword that is ridiculously easy then it probably has little search volume or isn’t particularly valuable. Finding this balance is difficult, and that’s why many people hire us to manage their KW research and SEO.

What are the Benefits of Smaller Keywords?

As we’ve alluded to, smaller keywords are almost always lower competition than the keywords that have a great search volume.

This is for two reasons; Firstly, fewer people are searching for the topic so it’s likely an obscure topic that creators wouldn’t think about. Secondly, SEOs will filter out the smaller keywords because they aren’t as appealing.

What this often means is that the smaller keywords might only have a fraction of the number of competing pages that a larger keyword has. Not only is there less competing pages, but these pages are often short and of low quality, because other websites don’t want to dedicate the time to such small keywords.

In practice, this means that you have a good chance of writing an awesome piece of content and ranking on the first page with a small amount of promotion.

For a local business, this extra traffic can be significant, especially when you’ve received little to none in the past.

How About the Drawbacks?

Of course, the main drawback to smaller keywords is that the search volume is low and therefore even if you do rank #1 you won’t get loads of visitors. With that issue, there is the compounded problem of spending resources on a small keyword.

However, when you look at the alternative, it can seem a little better. The alternative is that you spend even more resources to try and rank for larger keywords which are more difficult and are out of your reach.

The best way to look at keyword difficulty is to think about a video game. You have to complete the first level to unlock the second.

In the same way, you need to build up your authority before you can rank for more difficult keywords. At the start you can only rank for the smallest keywords, so you take what you can get. As you build up more authority, you’ll be able to target the largest keywords that are more valuable but also more difficult.

Often local businesses get turned off by the idea of targeting a keyword that only has 100 searches per month. But think of it this way, if you can convert just 3% of this visitors into customers, you’re gaining three new customers each month.

Should You Target Larger Keywords?

Given what we’ve just said, it’s normally best for local businesses to avoid the larger keywords. However, the exception would be if that keyword could make a fantastic piece of content which would be incredible for link building outreach.

One example could be if thousands of people searched for “How to Drill a Screw.” If the current content ranking was poor, then you might consider creating a piece of awesome content. The reason for this is that even if you don’t rank on the first page, you can use it for link building outreach.


The overall message of this post is not to be afraid of targeting smaller keywords. They won’t drive the same hoards of traffic to your website, but ranking for a whole bunch of small keywords can quickly add up into a substantial amount of visitors.