Ranking for a Keyword Varies Based on Competition
The analogy: When hiking a mountain range the peaks vary in steepness and difficulty and represent the same challenges of marketing for a variety of keywords.
Imagine you have set a goal of summiting multiple peaks within a given mountain range. Within this range, there are multiple peaks all varying in heights and steepness. Knowing what lies ahead, some peaks are going to be easier to summit and some are much more challenging and will take longer to summit. Your objective is to summit each peak within this range.
One of the most crucial factors in setting up an SEO campaign is the selection of keyword phrases and it is similar to climbing peaks within a mountain range. In this analogy, the mountain range is the practice area you are targeting. Each mountain within this range is a particular keyword phrase. Summiting these mountains and getting to the peaks is akin to getting to a number one listing in search engine results.
The height of the mountains are analogous to how often they are searched for on a monthly basis and the steepness of the mountain is their competitiveness. Thus, the higher the mountain and/or the greater the steepness of that mountain, the more challenging and longer it will target to summit (i.e. rank).
Let’s Look at an Example
For the sake of this example, let’s say you are a personal injury law firm and wish to only market for that one practice area. The mountain range you are attempting to climb is “personal injury” and the peaks (i.e. keyword phrases) within that range might include:
- Personal injury lawyers
- Car accident lawyer
- Truck accident attorneys
- Slip and fall law firm
Generally speaking, the highest and steepest mountain within this range that we would need to summit is “personal injury lawyers.” The next phase most difficult to rank for is “car accident lawyer,” followed by “truck accident attorneys,” and the smallest, less steep mountain may be “slip and fall law firm.”
Every keyword you decide to target is telling Google and the other search engines that you can summit and be the “king of the hill” for each of those peaks. You can prove that you are the quintessential leader for each of those keywords (i.e. mountains) and you can dedicate enough power, time, money and effort to summit each phrase you are targeting.
Why Keywords Matter
Selecting keywords is an important step in setting up your SEO campaign – if not the most important step – because it sets the campaign on the correct trajectory by honing in what you want to rank highly for, thereby defining your marketing goals.
The main focus of all SEO campaigns can be summed up quite easily: to be the quintessential industry leader in both the geographic area(s) you are targeting combined with the practice area(s) you are marketing. With that in mind, it is extremely important to remember that your SEO campaign is about marketing. It is not about everything that your firm may handle. We want to concentrate on what you want to rank highly for and not cast such a wide net to try and rank for all the practice areas (or subsets of one practice area) that may encompass your firm.
The Bottom Line: Don’t Try to Climb Every Mountain
When selecting keywords think of what your firm can be the industry leader of – this is what you should invest in and market toward. Don’t try to climb every mountain. Some may not be worth climbing. Some might not be worth the effort. Alternatively, summiting the ones that matter most return a wonderful view from the top.