Internet Marketing Myth #4: I Need to Rank #1 for (Choose Any Word in the Dictionary) Otherwise the Campaign Was/Is a Failure

a woman smiles because she knows Internet Marketing Myth #4This use to be the way it worked but no longer. Only a few short years ago, the optimal SEO strategy was to build your website around a few targeted keywords that garnered most of the traffic and were not very competitive. This would drive high-quality traffic to your website where you could focus on converting them to leads. Then the world changed.

With the increased use of a variety of devices, the way we interact with our technology (think Siri and Google Now) and the greater depth of available content from which we can garner answers, came a change in the way we search the internet. This forced the search engines to evolve from using ubiquitous keywords, to learning machines that interpret the context in which we are trying to find information. From this beginning, the birth of “semantic search” was started.

Wikipedia defines semantic search as:

Semantic search seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding searcher intent and the contextual meaning of terms as they appear in the searchable dataspace, whether on the Web or within a closed system, to generate more relevant results.

This movement has garnered a lot of attention and multiple books in an effort to change the way we market via the internet (see What is Semantic Search? to learn more). Because of this shift, it has become rarer to find the magic bullet of only one or two keywords, or group of keywords, that will drive all the traffic to a website. Instead, the use of natural language searches in which a user enters in a normal question into a search engine is used.

What does this mean for you? A successful SEO campaign will be focused less on specific keywords and more on what are called long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are groups of words that are very specific to what a searcher is looking for.

For example, instead of trying to rank for the word rehab, which is very competitive and hard to do, you should instead work to rank for a search query like: “San Diego California Drug and Alcohol rehab facilities.” This long-tail keyword group may garner fewer visitors, but those that do search with these terms are highly targeted and lead to a much higher conversion rate than spending money on more generic words. The key to a successful digital marketing campaign is not necessarily just traffic, but the conversion of the traffic to leads you can close.

Myths are often impossible to live up to. They set expectations that can’t be realized in our normal lives. Don’t let unrealistic myths keep you from succeeding.