Should I stay away from highly competitive keywords?

keywords research tipsIf you’ve used Google’s Keyword Tool, you’ve probably seen the column called “Competitiveness,” with levels low, medium, and high. The low. medium, and high are based on the competitiveness of a keyword among paid search advertisers. The more advertisers are bidding on a keyword, the higher the competitiveness. By itself, paid search competitiveness tells you nothing about the organic search competitiveness, but in reality they usually run about the same. So, most people ask the same thing about keywords: “Should I stay away from highly competitive keywords?”

Like any good consultant, my answer is, “It depends.” I mean, the tendency is to shy away from that much competition, which could be exactly the right decision, depending on your business. After all, if you have a small business with a no-name Web site, then it is unlikely that you’ll do well on high competitiveness keywords.

But consider this. It isn’t impossible to do well if you have a truly valuable message that is a better fit for that keyword than everyone else. Remember, someone is #1 for even the most competitive keyword around.

So, my advice is to focus on how close a fit the keyword is for your site before focusing on competitiveness. But if you have a local camera store in Akron, Ohio, don’t think that “digital cameras” is a great fit for your site, because thousands of other local stores are equally good fits, and Web retailers and nationwide chains such as Best Buy are even better fits. But “Akron camera stores” could be a great fit, even if Google says it is highly competitive.

If you know your business is a very strong match for even a highly competitive keyword, go for it. You can always stop if it doesn’t work.
Author: Mike Moran

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