We’ve never heard a customer use that phrase

Yesterday I talked about why it might be preferable to concentrate on getting your website to rank for less glamorous searches than the obvious ones, and here’s a good piece which will set you off on the right path to finding those terms. Written for Problogger by Eric Enge, Leverage the Long Tail of Search on Your Blog proposes that before writing any online page, you spend 15 minutes on some keyword research. It’s a very good suggestion.

There’s another, wider benefit you might get too. When researching this sort of thing, especially once you start to get into synonyms, you often find out that the terminology which web searchers (i.e your prospects) use to describe something is not the same as the terminology you habitually use in-house. If that’s the case, even if you’re aware of the situation already, the exercise will help quantify whether your unusual way of describing a product or service hits the long tail brilliantly, or if you’re the only people in the world who use that phrase.

I once had a conversation with a company where they said they’d like to appear more strongly in Google for (let’s say) “custom widgets”, the standard description of what they made. I pointed out that nobody would know from their website that they supplied these, as they seemed intent on telling people only that they specialised in “tailored widget solutions”. Their response was: “Yes, we’ve always described what we offer like that, the managing director likes to be different from the competitors. But we’ve never heard a customer – or even one of our own salesmen – use that phrase”.