Marketing your Virtual Assistant services effectively is, let’s face it, pretty hard.

There are heaps of VA’s selling their services online, so how are you going to outrank them?

SEO is of course your first port of call and even if you’re not an SEO expert, you can still carry out some pretty in-depth analysis to select the best keywords to optimise your site.

And whilst it’s true that keywords alone don’t dictate where you’ll appear in search engine results, they do still play a significant part in determining search result placement.

But here’s the often overlooked part …

… you can more effectively target your market with long tail keywords.

What the heck are long tail keywords?

Long tail was a term first associated with distribution. Whereby the long tail of some distribution is the portion that has a large number of occurrences far from the main part of the distribution.

Chris Anderson then popularised the term in a 2004 Wired Magazine article, using it to describe new retailing strategies by the likes of Amazon, Apple and Yahoo to help sell larger numbers of unique / niche items.

Essentially narrowing in on the product description to more effectively target customers searching for those niche products, and help make a ton of sales in the process.

This marketing technique is even more essential now due to the sheer number of competing webpages for the same search term.

Long tail keywords = lower competition, better ranking, higher conversion.

So what this means for you and your VA business is that optimising your website, and perhaps more importantly your blog articles, for the obvious keywords such as “virtual assistant” or “small business support” may not bring the rewards you would like.

Aren’t all VA’s optimising their site with those terms though?

Probably.

But the savvy ones, will also realise that in today’s saturated marketplace, they need to be even more specific, more targeted with their keywords to rank well in relevant search results.

Of course, if you already rank well for keywords such as “virtual assistant” then you’ve probably been around quite a while and built up strong authority in the eyes of Google – so don’t stop including those keywords on your website!

And ultimately that particular search term is going to have the highest amount of searches.

But as we mentioned earlier, it will also produce the highest number of competing webpages.

So if you’re just starting your business, you’ll probably have a harder time ranking for those keywords, unless you have a huge marketing budget at your disposal.

Finding your long tail keywords

Best place to start is with Google’s Keyword Planner.

Enter a broad search term into the field provided, remember to select the country and language you want to target and hit ‘Get Ideas’.

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On the next screen, click the ‘Keyword Ideas’ tab.

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Then it’s a case of scrolling through all the options.

There will be many that aren’t relevant, but you should be able to find longer phrases to optimise your website for, or, to give you content ideas e.g. blog articles.

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The trick is to look at the average monthly searches versus the competition. Ideally you want a low amount of competition i.e. not many competing webpages, with a high(ish) average monthly search.

In the example above, if you offer customer service support to your clients, you should definitely consider writing a blog article titled “What is Customer Service”. And possibly even create a unique page on your website outlining your customer service support, ensuring the keyword “what is customer service” features near the beginning.

Another free tool that can help with long-tail keyword research is Ubersuggest.

Take a broad search term, or one of the suggested keywords from Google’s Keyword Planner, and run it through Ubersuggest to get even more options.

Choose any that are relevant, then run those through the keyword planner to find out what the level of competition is. If it’s fairly low but there is a good amount of searches per month, consider optimising your site for it.

And don’t forget, if you offer a niche service, find clever ways to optimise your website to target long tail keyword for those searches too.

The more you narrow in on your service, the more effective your marketing, the easier it will be to attract new clients.

So are you missing out on this neat SEO trick?

Long tail keywords matter …

1. Less competition.

By niching in on a specific service, target market, industry, etc. you’ll automatically reduce the amount of competition.

And less competition means greater rewards for you.

2. Rank better in search engine results.

Search engines want to provide relevant valuable suggestions in their results. By using long tail keywords, you’re more likely to be speaking naturally to your audience, just as they would when typing their search term into Google.

For example, someone searching for an online travel assistant in Devon is most likely going to type that phrase into Google. So if you’ve optimised your website with keywords “online travel assistant in devon” you should appear higher in search results than “virtual travel assistant” or even “online travel assistant”.

3. More targeted marketing.

Not everyone will be looking for the same Virtual Assistant. So if you’ve only optimised your website for “virtual assistant”, those who do find your website may discover that you don’t actually offer the service they’re looking for.

By optimising your site as closely as possible to relate to the services you do offer and to your target market, those who find it will most probably want your services and be in your target market.

In other words … a hot lead.

So if you haven’t taken a look at your site’s keywords in a while, or if you’re just starting out, consider long tail keywords to help market your business more effectively online.

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