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Ranking For Head Keyword Not Longtail Version

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#1 goldenhurricane


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Posted 25 October 2013 - 05:55 PM



I'm fairly new to SEO and have a question about our website ranking if I may.


We run an online pet supplies company and we have optimised our homepage so that we rank at the top of google for the head keywords "pet supplies" and "pet products".

However, we do not rank on page 1 for the phrases "pet supplies online" or "pet products online", even though on the page and title almost every instance of the head word is followed by the word "online".


This confuses me, as I thought it would be harder to rank for the head word, given it has more searches according to google keywords tool.


Any advice would be appreciated.


Kind regards,



#2 qwerty


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Posted 26 October 2013 - 07:17 AM

First, a quick caveat: no matter how you're checking your rankings, you're not seeing anything universal. There are no universal rankings, and haven't been for years, so if you see that you're ranking well for one term and not so well for another, that certainly doesn't mean that's what everyone running those searches experiences. Far more important than checking your rankings is looking at whether those keywords are bringing you traffic (which is harder to see than it used to be because of (not provided)) and whether the people arriving at your site via those searches are actually converting.


So, that being said, it is true that it's generally easier to rank for a long-tail phrase than a head phrase, but the fact that one query is longer by a word than another doesn't necessarily mean it's going to fit that pattern. It may be that the three-word phrase gets about as much volume as the two-word phrase (I imagine you've checked) and because of that, a lot of sites are targeting that phrase with as much effort as the other.


There's also the fact that on-page optimization is just one piece of the puzzle. You also have to think about the page's title tag, the way you link to it, the way others link to it, whether the page is recommended and discussed in social media and how much (and at what velocity), etc. So maybe you've got a decent number of links from sites with good reputations using the anchor text "pet supplies," and one of your competitor has a decent number of links from sites with good reps with the anchor text "pet supplies online." That can make a difference.


And going back to the on-page optimization, there is such a thing as overdoing it and making your content unnatural. If every instance of "pet supplies" on the page is also an instance of "pet supplies online," you're probably overdoing it. They may affect your ranking, and more importantly, it may make your pages less likely to convert. On-page optimization is mostly about getting the phrase onto the page, and not REPEATING THE PHRASE OVER AND OVER ALL OVER THE PAGE SO THE PAGE ABSOLUTELY SCREAMS THE PHRASE AND NOTHING ELSE IS NOTICEABLE. i haven't looked at your site, so of course I'm not suggesting you're doing anything like that, but I figure it's worth mentioning.

#3 goldenhurricane


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Posted 26 October 2013 - 09:25 AM

Hi qwerty,


Thankyou for taking the time to reply to me, I appreciate it.


I think the main reason may be that our company has the word pet supplies in its title and therefore the domain and URL have this phrase?


According the google keywords etc "pet supplies" has about twice the monthly searches here as "pet supplies online" does.


And like you say maybe people link to us using pet supplies because it is in our company name, whereas not many would link with "pet supplies online". Not sure how to have people I don't know with websites we're not affiliated with to link to me like this?


With the on page optimization, I was under the impression you had to get keyword density (although I read the percentage can widely vary). Are you saying I just need to get the phrase on the page once and that will be enough? So I shouldn't repeat keywords?


Sorry one more quick question, if the keyword is a phrase does it have to be on the page in an exact match, or can I split it up into individual words and as long as all parts of the phrase are on the page it will have the same effect?


The section I'm referring to is the middle section on our homepage where it says "Removed (You will thank us when this URL DOESN'T replace your URLs)" if you're willing and able to take a look. Its at  REMOVED


Many thanks again.

Edited by chrishirst, 26 October 2013 - 12:52 PM.
sitename and "key" words removed

#4 torka


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Posted 28 October 2013 - 09:44 AM

No, you don't have to achieve any specific "keyword density." That's a meaningless measurement. Of course, you need to mention your target phrases at least once on the page (because if you don't mention a phrase AT ALL, then how can you reasonably call it a "target phrase" for that page?), but trying to conform to a set "keyword density" is a waste of time.


Use the phrases naturally. Don't force them in, but don't avoid them unnecessarily, either. You want people to know what you're all about, without beating them over the head with your offer. A helpful trick: read your page out loud. If it sounds stilted or unnatural to you, it probably will do the same to your site visitors.


--Torka :oldfogey:

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