co Keyword Sniping: Effective SEO? |

There are companies out there trying to sell their “keyword sniping” services as a cure-all for SEO diseases and headaches. But is it really all that?

First, let’s define what keyword sniping is. This is the practice of taking low-traffic keywords and and keyword phrases and targeting them in an SEO effort to achieve high rankings with them in a short period of time. Does it work?

Well, that depends on what you mean by “work”. These companies may be able to get you high rankings for those keyword phrases in a short period of time, but will it really benefit your business? Playing off of what has been called “the long tail,” keyword snipers focus narrowly on a keyword phrases that might not get you much traffic. Sure, it will get you some, but you won’t be swamped with new visitors to your site overnight.

One keyword sniper said your should search for phrases that are searched for a minimum of 200 times per month and have less than 1,000,000 competitors. Obviously, this sounds wise. The key to success in SEO is to use keyword phrases that have a high search volume but low competition. But 200 searches per day? That’s only 6,000 searches per month. That’s pretty low.

Assume you are able to hit No. 1 on Google for that keyword phrase. Of 6,000 searches, how many of those do you think will click on your link and visit your website? Let’s assume all of them do (they won’t) and you have 6,000 unique visitors to your website in the first month after ranking No. 1 for that cool phrase. If you do nothing else to that website you will likely fall from that No. 1 ranking almost as fast as you rose to it because the search engines look for fresh content on your website and if they don’t find it then they won’t go back and crawl it often. Other people doing SEO for the same keyword phrase will be able to rank well for the term as well.

A Healthy Alternative To Keyword Sniping
While you might get lucky and achieve short-term results for your keyword sniping efforts, you’ll do much better if you get a blog and post to it every day. A 10-page static website that ranks well for a low-traffic keyword search term will never do as well as a blog that hones in on a broader search term over a period of time. After 365 days of daily blogging you now have a website with 365 pages on it – that’s 365 different ways that a searcher can find you – and if you optimize each blog post around a specific keyword phrase then you have multiple chances of getting found, not just one. After a period of time as you target your broad keyword phrase along with all of your competitors, you stand a much better chance of ranking well for your broad keyword phrase and tapping into the broader market of searchers looking for information about your niche. Instead of having access to 6,000 searchers in a short period of time, you’ll have access to millions of searchers over a longer period of time.

This is where an illustration might help. Take a look at the following table and you can see the numbers in action:

        Keyword Sniping                             Blog
        6,000 searchers                             1,000,000 searchers
        10 pages = 10 chances to be found           365 pages = 365 chances
        A couple of months duration                 Long-term benefits
        10% conversion = 600 sales                  10% conversion = 100,000 sales
        Wait time = a week or so                    Wait time = 1 year or so

Can you wait 1 year to get better results?

These numbers do not represent a guarantee of results. They are meant merely to illustrate realistic possibilities. Conversions, whether you use keyword sniping techniques or traditional blogging, depend on how well your landing pages are written. Even the best SEO in the world can return 0 conversions if your landing page isn’t written to close sales. But even during the 1 year that it takes (sometimes less and sometimes longer) to rank well for your broad keyword phrase, you could rank well for long tail phrases with individual blog posts, so you are actually inadvertently “sniping” with your keywords as you blog daily. Keep blogging daily over a long period of time, however, and you stand a much better chance of success than by focusing on narrow phrases for short term results. Don’t be suckered by the sales pitch.

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