Bunny Tails and Puppy Tails
With millions of websites online, how are people going to find yours? After all, it doesn’t do any good to have the best site in the world if no one knows it exists!
That’s why large companies spend big bucks on search engine optimization (SEO). According to Webopedia, “search engine optimization is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP) – including Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.”
Leaving aside the fact that someone at Webopedia needs a grammar course – they should have said “the number of visitors,” not “the amount of visitors” – SEO sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it? Kind of scary and expensive, too. Well, it doesn’t necessarily have to be.
Since the whole objective of SEO is to have people find your site when they search for something online, it makes sense that you need to think like a searcher. Did you know that up to 80% of web searches are informational and often are in the form of a question, such as “what is _____” or “how do I _______”? The searcher’s goal is to find the answer to his or her question, not to find you. Your goal is to provide that answer and therefore have your site listed on the SERP, the higher up the better. That’s where key words come in.
Key Words a/k/a Bunny Tails
A key word is a particular word or phrase that describes the contents of a web page. Or more to the point, words that need to be ON your page. Like bunny tails, key words are very short.
But that brings up an immediate problem. Often key words are too short to get the job done effectively. As an example, my husband and I have been selling antiques and collectibles on our site for the past 15 years and we sell a lot of vintage Kentucky Derby glasses. Many other sites also sell KD glasses. Even so, if you search for Kentucky Derby glasses, our site is #6 on Google’s SERP. Not bad, but not good enough.
Long-tail Key Words a/k/a Puppy Tails
It seemed obvious to me from the git-go that our potential customers wouldn’t be searching for KD glasses in general. No, they’d be searching for a KD glass from a specific year. So I deliberately wrote every single glass description starting with its year. Some sample search results:
- 1945 Kentucky Derby glass - #2
- 1957 Kentucky Derby glass - #1 AND #2
- 1963 Kentucky Derby glass - #2
- 1976 Kentucky Derby glass - #3
Much better! That’s long-tail key words in action. Like puppy tails, long-tail key words give an online searcher more to grab hold of, and in all likelihood are the way a searcher actually thinks.
Want more examples? We also sell a lot of vintage View-Master reels as well as vintage glassware including Corning Ware, collector plates, and Gay Fad. In fact, I’m so passionate about Gay Fad glassware that I wrote the book on it! Here are some sample search results for those subjects:
- Gay Fad - #2 AND #3
- Gay Fad book - #1, #2, AND #3, with “Gay Fad Book Review” #5
- DeGrazia plates - #3
- Corning Ware patterns - #2
- Corning Ware history - #3
- View-Master history - #1
So remember, think like a searcher and write your web site content with long-tail key words firmly in mind. You’ll be glad you did!