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Targeting Niche Keywords vs. Google Results
Realistic expectations for SERPs
Andy217




msg:3588811
 3:35 pm on Mar 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

When you do a search for the overall topic of my new website in Google, it returns about 247,000,000 results. I think the odds of having my face chewed off by rabid badgers is greater than being able to land on the first page of SERPS for that topic (and the frustration of trying to do that would probably feel about the same).

So...I decided to search for some specific niche keywords of the overall topic, and those keyword searches still returned some pretty hefty numbers from Google - ranging from 30,500,000 down to 1,900,000. I cross-referenced those keywords with the free Wordtracker tool, and it showed some pretty decent traffic.

Going back to the drawing board, I took the specific niche keywords and dove down even further. Each of these keywords was either a two or three word phrase. This time Google returned numbers ranging from 987,000 down to 143,000. Again, Wordtracker confirmed that the traffic was halfway decent.

Question: When you're trying to identify the niche keywords that you want to target, what's realistic? 247,000,000 may not be achievable, but what about 30,500,000? Is that still too high? I'm just trying to keep my expectations realistic.

What's the biggest number of results you've ever tried to rank for...and made it onto the first page?

Any tips or comments (or badger repellant) would be greatly appreciated. ;)

 

Receptional Andy




msg:3589466
 8:59 pm on Mar 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hi Andy217,

Be wary of just looking at the number of results in Google, since this is a crude measure of competition. At least ensure you are searching (within quotes) for an exact phrase, but better still, look in more detail at the sites you are competing with, and try to understand how they got there and how much work this entailed.

It's hard to tell from your post, but you also need to be careful that you aren't focussing too much on a batch of keywords, at the expense of missing the wider picture. Depending on the size of your site, it should have the potential to target many hundreds or thousands of keywords.

It's having a substantial body of content that will provide you with the best long term performance, as opposed to a handful of keyphrases you identify in particular. Especially if you're just starting out, you'll get most visitors for keyphrases that you could never have identified beforehand: truly niche words and phrases that may only occur once per visitor.

It might be that the most relevant keyword for you is indeed very competitive. But instead of discounting it, it can be worthwhile to see it as a long term aim, which your more 'long tail' content will (as a whole) contribute to the performance of. Those other sites managed to get there, didn't they?

jimbeetle




msg:3589527
 11:36 pm on Mar 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

I can't really add anything to RA's exceptional post, but can pick a couple of points to stress.

At least ensure you are searching (within quotes) for an exact phrase

Very important. Andy, keep in mind that a [keyword1 keyword 2 keyword 3] query means find any page that contains keyword 1 AND/OR keyword2 AND/OR keyword3. The 247 million results returned might be coincidental and not actually reflect the competitiveness of the phrase.

It's having a substantial body of content that will provide you with the best long term performance, as opposed to a handful of keyphrases you identify in particular. Especially if you're just starting out, you'll get most visitors for keyphrases that you could never have identified beforehand: truly niche words and phrases that may only occur once per visitor.

I've mentioned this in passing a couple of times before and I think I'm expanding on RA's comment in the right way. I've passed the point where I think in terms of "key words" or 'key phrases", but now think in terms of "key themes". If I have a page themed the old reliable "Blue widgets" I really don't care about the one or two ways I think people should arrive at the page, but the 32 other search phrases people actually use to reach the page. That "substantial body of content" with semantically rich, naturally writing will lead to long-tail and long-term results.

Andy217




msg:3589626
 3:06 am on Mar 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the great information Receptional Andy and jimbeetle! I'm headed back to the drawing board.

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