The Coolest Guy in Nashville

The Coolest Guy in Nashville is not a title to be taken lightly. That said, it isn’t hard to claim that title on Google. “The Coolest Guy in Nashville” is what’s called a long-tail keyword. Long-tail keywords are keyword phrases that are more than just a few words, and they often have very little competition because they have less search traffic. When an SEO company says that they can rank you for “the best remodeling contractor in east Nashville,” it’s probably because they can. If they’re any good, they can probably rank you for that term in a matter of weeks. But that’s not where you want to be. “Remodeling contractor” is the term you want to rank for. That’s why ranking for “The Coolest Guy in Nashville” doesn’t mean much.

The coolest guy in Nashville stands next to his buddy.

Right: The Coolest Guy in Nashville. Left: His friend, an African tribal clothing enthusiast.

If there were 20 other companies that were all after the title of “The Coolest guy in Nashville,” then it would be an impressive term to achieve #1 rankings for- but there aren’t.

One way to tell if an SEO company is struggling to perform for you is if they start showing you all of the #1 rankings they have achieved for you rather than showing you the rankings of the keywords that you originally selected to target. They redirect their attention to ranking for keywords that have lower competition and that are less profitable for your business overall. This is a common issue in the SEO industry. Make sure that when you select an SEO company you get one that is focused on ranking for the keywords that are going to make you money. Don’t just pick the coolest guy in Nashville.

Of course, going after long-tail keywords is not always a bad strategy. Sometimes you can identify a long-tail keyword that gets a bit of search traffic, rank for it easily, and capture a small amount of traffic from it over time. This strategy can work, especially if you do this with 20+ long tail keywords, but the real returns are made from ranking for money terms. Ranking for “The Coolest Guy in Nashville” just doesn’t bring in the big leads. Getting first-page rankings for highly-searched keywords is the best way to drive a return on your SEO investment, and you should make sure your SEO company knows that too.

So you decide. Do you want to cash checks from Google? Or do you want to be the coolest guy in Nashville? It’s up to you.

UPDATE #1: Just 2 hours after this page was posted, we’re the 3rd ranked page on Google for “The Coolest Guy in Nashville”. That was even faster than I expected. Just goes to show how easy it is for an SEO company to mislead you with quick results on long-tail keywords!

Jeff on Google+

For more SEO information check out these posts!

SEO Moneyball

Writing for SEO Checklist

How to Perform a Google Analytics Audit

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