It’s better to have many slices of smaller pies rather than not even getting a crumb from a huge one!
Keyword research should be a relatively straight forward at first, establish your website goals and objectives, a full site health check and content review then jot your ideas down. Next get out your trusty keyword research tools of choice and find the keywords with the highest search volumes. Sadly, that’s not always the way to do it if you want to see real results and ROI.
The first trap you could fall into is that too many businesses keywords are simply out of reach or only really achievable for huge companies with bottomless pockets. It maybe they are achievable however that’s the more the long term part of the strategy. Being realistic is a good part of keyword research along with your best keyword tool, common sense! Knowing about the sites age, current authority and adaptability for future work will help greatly in knowing which keywords can be realistically targeted and also giving realistic goals and timescales. You also want to see some sort of ROI by the 3rd or 4th month, so looking at smaller volume and more direct keywords may not bring in huge volumes, however it will bring in more qualified traffic, meaning a ROI will start to appear and steadily grow reasonably quickly.
Targeting one word keywords can be unrealistic in most cases; they do get huge search volumes, this doesn’t mean you’re going to get qualified traffic from it. Huge search volumes often don’t count as they should, Shock horror! There’s logic to this statement, half the battle with keywords is also knowing how the user searches. Users learn to search the more they do it and soon realise one word searches don’t always get them exactly what they wanted.
For example, a lady types in “shoes”, and gets many different results including women’s, men’s and children’s. Her next logical step is to type in “women’s shoes”, she may then add particular brand, style or colour, “woman’s black shoes” or ” Jimmy Choo high heels”. The user then becomes a more qualified source of traffic, as the user gets that bit more specific, they are more likely to purchase once the find what they want. There are a good percentage of users that look for products or services on their lunches or breaks and are looking to find and purchases as soon as possible. These people will be more specific and focused, so one word phrases in most cases won’t work for these users.
I’m not saying don’t target one word keywords, but be realistic too and also think about the campaigns best interest. The campaigns goal isn’t really for page 1 listings but to gain more business or sales, a ROI, so having smaller slices will help do that. Using more realistic keywords and I say it again, common sense will build a better campaign and will strengthen the listings over time so that the one word phrase could become realistic, plus if the campaign is getting generating sales then the SEO will pay for itself and help quanitfy a larger SEO investment in the future.