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Keyword Envy? Here’s Why Smart Marketers Don’t Lose Sleep at Night.


Casting a wider net only gets you a larger number of marginally interested prospects.

Holy smokes, that’s expensive! Bidding on keywords – especially the super-popular ones – is not for the weak at heart. No need to spend time here diving into why those big popular keywords cost what they do. But here’s some insight into what works when you spend the big bucks, and those keywords still don’t pull in traffic for you.

You will never be Amazon

Fill in the equivalent of this behemoth in your industry. In extremely competitive markets, large and popular brand names dominate search results. Even when it seems like it’s unnecessary overkill, those monster companies will pull out their big wallets and outspend whatever SEO budget you can scrape together. Smart marketers know it’s not worth trying to go after those “there’s no better word to describe us” keywords. They move in a different direction.

You’ve no doubt heard about quality versus quantity. And, sure, a quality keyword definitely gets you in front of the eyeballs you seek. But your prospects are far less obsessed with your search engine ranking than you are.

If they’re using a search engine, it’s likely they’re not even ready to purchase your product yet. Products keywords slip into those searches because searches need a direction – but what they are looking for, and the keywords they’re using are probably more about the problem they’re trying to solve rather than the solution for it.

So, if your keywords are all about the what and the how of your product or service – which are going to be expensive and might not even rank you depending on the strength of your competitors – you’re missing the boat.

Here’s why. Those “there’s no better word to describe us” keywords wouldn’t do you much good even if you could rank with them. Ahrefs reports that 1-word keywords account for only 2.8% of all the keywords people search for. Is that worth obsessing about?

Think long tail

Back to quality versus quantity. Long tail keywords, which may be far less expensive, lead to more targeted traffic from prospects who actually may want to engage with you, especially if those long tail keywords are about their problem and not your solution.

Long tail keywords allow people to search not just for their problem but also for companies who explain why they understand that problem. You might find that many of these long tail keywords are parts of your mission or purpose.

They are not single words. They are unambiguous. They are descriptive phrases. When was the last time you were able to describe your problem with just one word?


Broadcast network has pretty much become an oxymoron. It’s all about niche marketing – dominating with specificity. Why then, do we suddenly go keyword crazy and attempt to capture traffic across multiple niches?

Casting a wider net only gets you a larger number of marginally interested prospects. Yoast reports that another benefit to a focus on long tail keywords is that because they’re more specific, a visitor who finds you with these keywords is more likely to buy your service or product. They were specific in their search criteria, and you were specific in saying, “Hey, that’s us.”

You’re going to draw less traffic. There’s no doubt about it. You will, though, draw prospects who are more focused on the precise type of product or service you offer.

Besides, those long tail keywords are going to include the short, 1-word hideously expensive keywords you try but can’t rank with. Long tail keywords are easier to work into your content because they tend to be descriptive phrases. And yes, the average person has reached the point where they can tell when they’re reading something that’s packed to the gills with keywords in the hope that it’ll rank better.

It’s been said here, but it’s worth repeating. You as a marketer probably care far more about ranking than your prospects. It’s important that they find you, of course – but the long tail keyword approach can make it a match made in heaven rather than a Tinder swipe.