Many keywords are almost impossible to rank for if you’re just starting out. A lucrative term like DUI lawyers is so competitive it doesn’t make any sense to go after it — too many competing sites are out there looking to solve the problems faced by those charged with drunk driving. Lawyers smell the cash from these people and so they devote a lot of time and effort to getting high rankings for their own sites.
Direct attacks won’t work in this scenario. The market is simply too blanketed to break into. Instead, you have to work the long tail. Long tail keywords will get you traffic and rankings for much less effort and money.
A long tail keyword is a very focused search phrase consisting of at least 3 keywords. The really good long tail keywords have at least four or five keywords in them. The search volume for a long tail keyword is not very high, because it’s so focused, but the traffic it generates is definitely super targeted.
Here’s an example. According to Google’s own keyword tool, the phrase DUI lawyers is searched for about 75,000 times a month. A quick look at Google shows that there are 6 million sites that match that phrase. Super competitive!
Make a long tail phrase by adding a location name to create the term Los Angeles DUI lawyers and you’ve drastically reduced competition — only about 400,000 sites match that term. The search volume is less, too — about 1500 searches per month — but it’s a much more realistic market to break into. Normal SEO techniques are more likely to work with long tail keywords than high-volume, saturated keywords.
Remember, though that with long tail keywords you need to target more keywords to make a real difference. It’s a volume game — the more long tail keywords you rank for, the more traffic you’ll get. This can require a lot of effort. Over time, though, you’ll also find that your sites get better rankings for the main (short tail) keywords, a nice side effect of targeting long tail keywords.