Let’s be realistic…

This last month’s trend seems to have been for calls to come in asking if we can get rankings on some incredibly generic keywords. Single words, very common products, phrases for very common software packages, phrases for well-known companies which the potential client sometimes works with. In one case not only were the phrases in all the above categories but most of them weren’t even mentioned on the site!!

Now the simple fact is that this sort of result really isn’t at all realistic. Nor in many cases is it even desirable.

Single word phrases – most people don’t use them. A recent survey reckoned that only around 10 or 11% of searches were on single terms.

Very common products – unless you already have a site of fairly long standing which ranks moderately for such a term then your chances of getting good rankings are very poor. You need to find a niche market and niche phrases to go with it. In any case how many people search for generic products? Would you search for “cosmetics” or would you search for your favourite range or individual named product?

Common software products – do you really think it’s likely that you can get a top ranking for “Microsoft Office” when there are millions of articles about it, advice pages for it etc. etc.

Well-known company names – it certainly won’t be easy to get rankings for, let’s say, Ford, just because you did some work for them or are a supplier. The top slots will already be taken with their sites and articles about their products. In any case what’s the point of ranking for their name unless you sell or service cars. People who search on Ford are generally interested in cars, not on an accountancy firm who worked for them or a graphic designer who did some brochures for them, or whatever. So the chances of getting useful traffic is very slim even if you do succeed in getting the rankings.

And the chances of getting the rankings? Well, at the very least you’d need to have pages and pages of text concerning that product or company in order to be remotely relevant for it, and you’d need lots of links from strong related sites pointing to your pages using the keywords in the link text.

Remember that useful traffic is what it’s all about at the end of the day – good rankings are useless in themselves unless they produce traffic that will hang about and do your company some good – whether in simple monetary terms or in PR.

So think about what sort of traffic you’re aiming to get before choosing your keywords. And think about what’s realistic in a crowded search marketplace.

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