Use Long Tail Keywords to Increase Your Search Engine Optimization Results

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When your customers go looking for you on the internet, how do they find you? One of the keys to web-based marketing is optimizing your website for the search engines. By spending a few hours per week on those SEO methods, over time you can get your business's website a decent ranking for your key words. But first, you have to decide which keywords you want to optimize for!

For most startups, the primary keywords are obvious -- Chinese restaurant, dog training, construction, and the like. Usually, these are pretty crowded search results. Searching "Chinese restaurant" on Google returns over 5.5 Million results; "business startup" returns over 273 Million.

It can take a year or more of dedicated optimization efforts to reach the top of many of these searches...in the meantime, you need to find a way to make a few sales to keep you afloat!

One way to stand out from the crowd is to also optimize for long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are your primary keywords plus extra descriptive words. For example, searching for "chinese restaurant Las Vegas" returns 64,000 results, while "best Chinese restaurant Las Vegas" returns only 5 results.

Of course, far fewer people search for the long-tail keywords than the primary keywords, but it is easy to optimize your site for all of them simultaneously. At the very least, you will have the opportunity to reach those potential customers directly and all it costs you is a little time and effort.

The key to working with the long-tail keywords is to do the research to find out which ones are your best bet. The best place to start is with WordTracker.com. This site offers a seven-day free trial and allows you to see what search terms your market is using to find a business like yours. The results will tell you how many searches there are for each keyword each month.

Google Ad Words provides a similar tool, free for those with a Google Ad Words account. The Google program will crawl your site and identify the key words you are already optimizing for and will provide a listing of long-tail keywords that your target market is searching.

In addition, Google ranks the competition for each of the keywords. Optimizing for the low-competition keywords means your site will show up sooner and higher when people search for that specific term.

In addition to using these online tools, use your common sense about what people might search to find your business. Ask your networking contacts how they would find your type of business. If you serve a local community, your site should be optimized for the city name. If you offer a specific, specialized product, that description should be optimized.

Believe it or not, optimizing for your business name is usually the least of your worries. For most startups, a search for your exact business name will be the first place you show up in search engines. Unfortunately, until your company becomes a household name, not too many people are likely to search for your actual name.

Get started on optimizing your website for search engines as early as possible in your startup process. Pay attention to possible long-tail keywords that will drive even a few people per month to your site. Don't underestimate the power of a few new customers at a time...eventually the combined efforts will get you to the top of your primary keyword searches!

About the Author-K. MacKillop, a serial entrepreneur, is founder of LaunchX and authors a small business startup blog. The LaunchX System is designed to help entrepreneurs start a business. Visit LaunchX.com to learn more about creating a comprehensive marketing plan for your business startup.

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