Adam Stokes offers up his expert advice on dealing with ambiguous keywords, and explains why long tail keywords are great at differentiating your offering from something that may sound the same, but is actually quite different.

Keywords might be the cornerstone of fully optimised online content, but used incorrectly, they can actually be quite counterproductive. It’s important to make sure that the words and phrases you are optimising for are the same queries that users will be searching to find your content. Optimise for the wrong keywords and you’re only going to attract visitors that aren’t interested in your offering, ultimately leading to a high exit rate, and low conversion.

So, how do you know that the keywords you are using are the correct ones? In many cases, this is easy. If the product or service is specific enough, then finding relevant keywords to hone in on will come very naturally. However, recognising ambiguous keywords that may refer to more than just the product or service you provide is essential when it comes to using keywords effectively.

Avoiding Ambiguous Keywords

Let’s consider Iceland. Arctic getaway or local supermarket? Keywords such as ‘Iceland deals’ or ‘Iceland offers’ are likely to be optimised on travel websites, as well as for the frozen foods supermarket, which is why using more detailed specifiers will help to distinguish the keywords, and show users exactly what they need.

Keyword

With ambiguous keywords, it is not uncommon to find that your ‘keyword competitor’ sits in a completely separate industry – meaning distinguishing your keywords is often very simple.

Long tail keywords like ‘Iceland holiday deals’ and ‘Iceland chicken offers’ are good examples of specific keywords that are tailored to the user’s intent. The simple insertion of one word can change the entire meaning of a keyword, allowing Google to evaluate your page correctly and determine exactly what it is about, and ultimately what you’re offering to your demographic.

Looking For Synonymous Keywords

Tools such as ubersuggest are a great way of getting relevant, synonymous alternatives based on your current keywords. By finding associated keywords with the word that you have entered, you can quickly determine whether or not the keyword is ideal for optimisation purposes and highly relevant to your offering – or one to avoid. If suggestions are showing for your ‘competitor’, then you know that those specific keywords are too general and won’t build a clear picture of your offering to Google or to your customers.

Ubersuggest Logo

The reality of ambiguous keywords is that context is everything. With Google being smart enough to detect what content is about with software such as RankBrain as well as through the detection of synonyms, it is becoming much better at understanding user intent. However, that doesn’t mean that you still can’t optimise a page incorrectly.

Using common sense and a bit of research, some web writing projects might need a little more time and attention than others, but the ultimate payoff is ensuring the right customers are able to find and read your content – rather than globetrotters staring at a screen full of frozen peas.

To make sure you’re optimising your content efficiently, contact our team today for more information on our On-Page Content Services, and to see what we can do for you.

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About the author:

Adam Stokes joined ClickThrough as a content writer in March 2015. His role involves writing industry news articles, blog posts, product descriptions, web pages, infographics and more for many of ClickThrough’s clients. Away from his desk he enjoys writing screenwriting, creating flash fiction, and eating nothing but Cadbury’s.