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The Tale of Purple Monkey Dinosaur and Why Ranking Isn’t Everything

A little bit of story time: Once upon a time, there was a little keyword named  Purple  Monkey Dinosaur.  Purple  Monkey Dinosaur hoped and dreamed of seeing the first page of Google. His best friend BizzyWeb knew the way to rank on Google. Through the magic of SEO, BizzyWeb ranked on the first page for the little keyword  Purple  Monkey Dinosaur... but ultimately, it was meaningless. With only 20 monthly searches and no relevance to BizzyWeb's services, poor little Purple Monkey Dinosaur didn't help BizzyWeb see any more business.
Just because you  can rank for a keyword, doesn't mean that you  shouldPurple  Monkey Dinosaur shows that you can claim the first page on Google...but if it's an obscure keyword or has few searches per month, it's less useful to your business than ranking 8th or 10th or even 20th on a more valuable keyword.

Questions to Ask to See if a Keyword Has Value:

  • How many monthly searches are done for this keyword? Seems obvious, but it's important to know how frequently people are actively searching for what you want to rank for. Having a keyword with a low amount of searches isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it will make it a lot harder to see steady business.
  • How relevant is the keyword to your services, reallyMany business owners have an inclination to want to rank for every possible keyword, no matter how loosely related to their business. But when a keyword is so nebulous, are the leads really going to have value? If you sell mattresses and rank for "bedsheets," you're going to end up having a lot of visitors bounce off from your site once they realize you don't exactly sell what they need.
  • What's the competition like? As much as we all would love to rank for those high-profile keywords in our industry, realistically that's not always possible. If your desired keyword pulls up a front page of Target, Amazon and other massive retailers with no local presence, it's going to be impossible to compete unless you have Target's advertising budget.
  • How specific is it? In the old days of SEO, it was more important to rank for short, to-the-point keywords. But in today's age where 40% of adults use voice search once per day, long tail keywords are often more effective. Long tail keywords are longer, more specific phrases. An example is "affordable web design Minneapolis" versus "web design."

Asking yourself these questions will help your keyword avoid the fate of Purple Monkey Dinosaur - and bring you value.

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