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Aiming for single word rankings

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Friday July 18, 2008 )

If you’re selling cars, you’d love to score the no.1 ranking on the term “cars”, right? Would you ignore all your other SEO efforts if you thought you had a good chance of scoring it? It mightn’t be a good idea

I was running some queries to see how some of my pages were doing and noticed I scored a top 10 ranking for a one word term relating to an item found in most households. I didn’t set out to rank on that term, so I was quite surprised. Total search results were over 20 million. However, on checking my stats, that term was only bringing in a couple of thousand visitors a month.

Why?

Quite simply, it was just too generic. I was thinking about the term and realized that if I was going to search on it, I usually would accompany it with another one or two keywords. A few minor tweaks confirmed that theory and I wound up getting more traffic on a two word term than a single one.

Many site owners I speak to salivate over one word rankings and there’s a real danger in this as I’ve always found most of my moneymakers to be in the “long tail” of search – getting good rankings on a bundle of semi-popular terms rather than excellent rankings on a couple of popular terms; particular if the keyword “buy” is involved :)

Targeting on a single word term is awfully frustrating and really boxes you in – it also tends to make your pages seem quite spammy. Using a more freestyle approach to writing with a bunch of terms to weave in makes for more interesting reading and increases the size of your rankings net.

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