In college I took a basic engineering class and one of our team assignments was figuring out the most efficient way to drop an egg off a four-story balcony–without breaking, of course. The team to get the egg to the floor the fastest (without it breaking) would be the winner. As a dedicated team, we first went our separate ways and then each came back with a prototype for the egg drop.
The next time we met, each of us brought our own invention to try. One by one we tried them. First there was the parachute, which provided a fairly safe landing, but took quite a bit of time to get to the floor. Then there was a paper-made vehicle to hold the egg with a long streamer coming out the back to slow it down a little. This did well, but as it landed, it would tip over and the egg would spill out and break. Then came the Jell-O. One member of our team thought it would be a good idea to put the egg inside a Jell-O mold which was then inside a sealed plastic (breakable) container. As dumb as this idea was, we still tried it. So back up to the fourth floor we went, and looked straight down to the hard-tiled floor. “Ready, three, two, one!” and down went the Jell-O packed egg hitting the floor with a loud pop! Red Jell-O went everywhere, staining the carpets and walls surrounding the tiled area. The egg, of course, was also demolished and the janitor was furious.
Ultimately, we collaborated and came up with an oversize plastic pill bottle stuffed with cotton and a large, flat square piece of cardboard on top to act like a parachute. It was a success. It brought the egg to the floor safely and quickly every single time. Although I will not disclose whether we officially won or lost, there is still a great lesson to be learned here. Our egg never broke, and it still made pretty good time. Other eggs made great time, but those teams were just chancing whether or not it would break.
In real life, if that egg was something you really valued, would you care more about security or speed? Wouldn’t you be willing to lose a little bit of your speed to ensure security? Gaining traffic is the same way—speed referring to just any traffic, and security referring to the right traffic. Properly targeting your site traffic is so important and will greatly improve your conversion rate. However, many businesses still fall into the “speed trap” of desiring to gain traffic without concern for the security or relevancy of the traffic.
Don’t think that because your site is 60% related to a keyword that is searched on 30,000 times per month versus a keyword that relates 100% to your site but is only searched on 1,165 times per month, you should go with the bigger keyword. Obviously you want to try and find the biggest keywords, but just remember that even though a keyword might be as much as 60% relevant to your site and searched on far more, you will still have a high bounce rate. In the long run, you will wish you had chosen the smaller keyword that will bring people that will actually stay on your site and buy something.
So can you just turn back once you have realized this mistake? Yes, but it will take time to re-optimize your site and get solid rankings for your new keywords. When it comes to keyword research and choosing which keywords to optimize your site for, you are really deciding the fate of your business. Don’t fall into the trap thinking that if you go after the biggest keywords they will bring you the most business. Instead, go after relevant keywords.