Telling all of your friends you’re number 1 on google for the word “Orthodontist” is like this guy choosing all drivers, no irons. Your SEO plan should include a diverse set of keyword combinations, not just the main ones you’ve heard the most about.

Keywords are like stocks in a diversified portfolio.  It’s important to keep your eye on your long term goals and you’d rather be protected than always swinging for the fences.  That means playing it safe in your overall portfolio while allowing for some healthy exposure to risk.

You don’t need to focus all of your attention on one keyword. Instead, just like stocks, you’ll need a well diversified set of keywords that drive traffic to your website.  If “Orthodontist” is a blue chip stock (like IBM, AT&T, Apple), “Best Orthodontist in Madison Wisconsin” would be a small cap stock. Just as it’s important for you to own a few blue chips, in the long run you’ll make a higher return investing in small cap stocks. You need to include both if you want to retire one day.

If you think of your SEO guru as being your financial advisor rather than the “winner” picker, you’ll end up with a solid portfolio one day. Who knows, you might get lucky and watch a small cap turn into a blue chip…in terms of your SEO, this would be the equivalent of watching a one-time $500 investment in organic SEO (blog writing) for “Best Orthodontist in Madison Wisconsin” return you as much money as $500 per month in advertising for the same keyword.  I don’t know about you but I’d take an 11X return on a small cap over a 20% return in blue chips any day.

You’re probably wondering where I came up with the $500.. I’m referring to your cost if you wanted to skip the hard work of developing a solid organic SEO foundation on a blog or something similar with an investment in Google AdWords. Competing to become #1 for a blue chip is something everyone is doing so it’s not cheap.  Some keywords can cost you upwards of $20 per click in Google AdWords!!  That’s just 25 clicks per month to reach that $500 marker with no guarantee on a return!

It’s not up to your SEO manager to tell you exactly how your investments will perform, however, they should help you set expectations.  There is risk involved and nothing is set in stone…just like the stock market.  Blue chip stocks will (more than likely) never return you 500% in a single year.  If it does, be surprised…but don’t expect it to happen again in your lifetime.  Blue chips should certainly be a portion of your portfolio but if you’re trying to grow your business, you’re going to need some small caps to make any real money.

Next time your college buddies talk about how they are paying for ads, or getting lucky on a few words like “orthodontist Denver” or “Omaha Braces,” remind them that you’re about PIMP – Putting (money) In My Pocket – not getting lucky on a few winners.  They can take those odds to Vegas while you work hard to gradually grow your portfolio.

I have a solid game plan on advising my clients to choose their keywords like they would stocks in a retirement portfolio.  It takes some work, but in the end it’s always worth it.  Stay tuned for my next article on picking the words you want to target.