Question: I’ve always considered only Low competition keywords to be “Winnable” keywords? Is this the right way to proceed, or does Jason think we can use “Medium” or “High” competition keywords for SEO? (Within the “Low” competition keywords, I choose the highest search volumes I can find)
Of course “it depends.” I don’t particularly like the “competition” feature of the keyword planner because if you choose reasonable keywords, generally “transactional” over “educational” keywords, the silly tool will tell you they are all “high competition,” which isn’t very helpful. I am more likely to look at the CPC (Cost-per-click) of keywords on my target list, and look for ones that are “underpriced.” It’s sort of like choosing a stock: you are looking for keywords that others have not (yet) seen the value in.
An example for us right now is keyword planner. When Google announced the new keyword planner tool, and then announced that it would be replacing the older tool… I realized it would become a popular search, as people looked for “how to use the keyword planner,” etc. Now, if you look in the keyword planner, you’ll see it has little competition so far.
This contrasts with keywords / key phrases containing the word “SEO.” These are all “discovered” and VERY competitive, as indicated by a high CPC.
So the best keywords strategy is to find niche keywords that really do indicate your customers, yet your competitors have not yet found. I love analogies, as you know, and these “niche” keywords are akin to secret fishing holes. Fishing where everyone else is makes your life difficult: many fish, but many fishermen. Fishing where the fish are, but the fishermen are not – that’s the goal.
In a strange way, therefore, you actually want low “competition” keywords as measured by the tool and/or CPC but high “value.”
Oh so much theory!
Got a question? Click this link to email Jason or call 888-993-1122. Dr. Jason McDonald is founder and Senior SEO / Social Media Director of the JM Internet Group. He teaches the SEO training classes for the group, and therefore provides most of the SEO tips for this blog. His goal with this blog is to provide an easy 'one-stop shop' for the busy marketer looking for tips, tricks, and secrets on how to get to the top of Google and Bing for free using proven SEO tactics. When not dreaming up SEO tips, Dr. McDonald lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, two dogs, a cat, four iguanas and twelve children (just kidding). Really you read down to the bio on this guy? Enjoy the blog.
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