How to Get More Traffic from Uncontested Keywords

If you’ve been trying to rank for a highly contested search term for a while – you’ll know how hard it is.

Personally, I struggled for years trying to rank for certain terms that I thought were important for my business. Even after I finally got where I wanted to – success was fleeting. Those big search terms are so competitive, there’s always someone trying to take your place.

I didn’t have a big budget to spend on third-party SEO services to try and keep me ranked (or get me there in the first place). I had to do it all myself. After a while, I started to wonder if there was another way.

The problem was, I was trying to rank for a term that had over 100,000 monthly searches on Google. I’d done the maths, and I knew that if I could get a good slice of that pie – I’d be in business. The problem was, sometimes I’d end up with no pie whatsoever.

Then I started experimenting with long-tail keywords to try and rank in a completely different way. I wasn’t trying to get that one big ranking – I diversified and worked on the principle that lots of big slices of small pies is better than no slice of a big pie. Here’s what I found…

Why it’s first page or nothing on Google

Long-tail keywords

Research says that if you’re not on the first page of Google, you might as well be nowhere. Obviously, 1st place is what everyone’s competing for – with around 34% of clicks for that search term. That means if you get to the number 1 spot on the first page for a term with 10,000 monthly searches – you should get around 3,400 clicks per month.

It’s easy to extrapolate from there to work out how many clicks you really need to make money, and what sort of search term you might need to rank for. If you know your conversion rate, that’s even better. A 2% conversion rate with this sort of traffic could make you around 68 sales a month. Once you’ve worked out how much you make from each sale – you’ll be in an even more informed position.

You’d be surprised how many people ignore such simple calculations before they get started in this industry. Don’t be one of them. You need to know exactly how many clicks to aim for, and how many you need to break even.

If you can’t get on the first page of Google – you could only get 1% of the clicks for that term. If we use the same stats as an example, that’s only 100 clicks a month, or just two sales.

What does this mean for you?

If you’ve been trying to rank for one of these highly competitive terms for a while – there might actually be a better way. Think of a simple cost-benefit analysis. To get to first page on Google for that term with 10,000 monthly searches could take months of work. And you might not stay there for that long, as your competitors will be trying to outrank you. It could be a complete waste of time.

Here’s the answer: rank lots of pages for under-contested keywords. It might actually get you more traffic in the long-run and be much more sustainable. In the time it took you trying to rank for that broad, competitive term – you could make 10 micro-landing pages and rank for multiple “smaller” terms.

What if you could rank for ten terms with about a thousand searches each, in substantially less time than it takes for you to rank for that one keyword. You’ll get similar results, but spread over a number of keywords. It’s also more sustainable because if one of your keywords drops in the rankings, it won’t cripple your efforts by leaving all your eggs in one basket.

So now you’re thinking, how do I find keywords that are related to my niche but much easier to rank with? One of the best ways is with long-tail keywords.

What are long-tail keywords?

Instead of targeting a broad (and competitive) keyword – long-tails fine tune your optimization so that you’re getting a more selective group. People who’ve searched for something very specific.

Not only are long-tail generally keywords less competitive – you also separate yourself from the field by offering a solution to a specific request, rather than trying a catch-all approach. This automatically delivers you a more active and loyal set of visitors.

Long-tail keywords tend to add something that filters results on the beginning or end of the keyword. Let’s look at a few examples.

Instead of just “cell phones”, how about: “refurbished cell phones”. You don’t have to stop there. “refurbished Sony cell phones”, or “red refurbished Sony cell phones”. You can take this as far as you like. “cheap red refurbished Sony cell phones”. Can you see? Pick an example in your niche and run with it. You need to find the right balance between search volume and competition.

Yes, these longer-tails will get fewer searches – that’s obvious. But not only will they be much, much easier to rank for – you’ll also be getting a slice of the market that really wants a solution that you could be offering.

When people search for a broad term, tons of them are looking for something other than what they find when they click on one of those first few results in Google. That means they normally leave without buying, signing up, or doing anything you want them to. But when they arrive at your site looking for such a specific thing – you’ve already got a much more captive audience.

Long-tail keywords

Why are long-tail keywords more effective?

As we’ve just seen, long-tails offer you more of the visitors you want – and they’re easier to rank for. Let’s take our example. You’ll only get people visiting your site who’re looking for “refurbished Sony smart phones”. Ranking for the broad term, “smart phones” would get you more hits – but a lot of them will be looking for something completely different. They’ll be wasted visitors. That’s the problem with ranking for such a broad term – a lot of bandwidth will be wasted with people who simply click through and then leave.

Although there is a chance of some residual benefits from having such a huge number of visitors. That’s why some internet marketing professionals will argue that more is always better when it comes to visitor numbers. But that doesn’t take into account how much harder it is to rank for these broad terms – and that’s what really makes the difference.

Look at the results for that specific term – most of those sites on the first page are huge corporations with multi-million dollar marketing budgets. Can you really compete with that? As we’re already seen – it’s first page or nothing. Can you really achieve first page with that sort of competition? Even if you can, you might not stay there for long and you’ll always be worried about losing your position.

What are some good long-tail keywords?

Try adding the year to your keyword. This year. With so much outdated information on the internet, more and more people add the year to make sure they’re getting the most relevant and up-to-date material they can find. Just make sure you update it when the year changes.

Another useful long-tail addition is something like “review” or “discount”. People add these when they’re interested in spending money and these sorts of searches will return you more activated visitors that are closer to making a purchase. Even something like “scam” could be worthwhile. Yes, it has negative connotations but people do search for that as a last-minute check on a product before they spend any money.

You’ll want to avoid passive long-tail additions like “free” or “download”. Most people using those sorts of searches are looking for a free ride and aren’t as likely to spend money. They’re a waste of bandwidth.

As we’ve already mentioned, “discount” is one of the best long-tail additions because people searching for it are very close to making a purchase – they just want to see if they can save a bit before they do so. Naturally. If you can be there with the discount they’re looking for – your chances of a sale could be much higher.

How can these keywords actually provide more motivated buyers and fine-tune your visitors?

As we’ve just looked at – some long-tail keywords are better than others. By choosing “active” long-tail keywords – you’re fine tuning your userbase even more. That might mean lower traffic, since people who don’t want what you’re very clearly offering won’t click through – but in this instance, that’s a GOOD thing.

If you think of it like a PPC campaign – you don’t want to “trick” people with clickbait when you’re paying per click. You want your advert to be as clear as possible (while still being enticing and promotional). Then each visitor (that you paid for) is much more likely to convert to a sale. That’s why the right long-tail keywords can also save your bandwidth and marketing efforts from being wasted on people who aren’t interested and never will be. Target your efforts on people who want exactly what you’re offering.

That’s how I took my ranking efforts to the next level

When I finally made the decision to shift my ranking efforts – I really noticed my business start to grow. It made such simple sense. In the time it took me to rank for one broad search term, I could throw up 10 or 20 micro-niche sites all targeting specific visitors.

These search terms might not have got as much traffic individually, but they drove more in the long-run. Not only where these terms easier to rank for, but the traffic they delivered was actually more loyal and more switched on to exactly what the sites were offering. In reality, my conversion rates were way higher.

Have a look at diversifying your optimization efforts like this. If it worked for me, it could work for you.

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