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04 Aug 2011

Long Tail Keywords Turn into $24M Business

Long Tail Keyword $24M Business

I am a huge proponent of focusing on long tail keywords and recommend finding ways to incorporate them into all the content you create. When conducting keyword research, it is so tempting to jot down and go after those phrases with the highest search volume. After all, who wouldn’t want to be #1 for “car insurance” when, according to Google, it gets 6,000,000 searches per month?

But, you probably already know the realities of what it would take to become the #1 site on Google for the phrase “car insurance”. That’s an easy one. How about a search like “phoenix hotels”? That receives about 49,000 searches in the USA. To get to #1 you have to bump off Expedia or TripAdvisor. No small task. Instead why not go after “northeast phoenix hotels” or “pet friendly north scottsdale hotels“? Expedia and TripAdvisor are not even on page one for those searches.

To me, the data in the chart below is all I need to see to convince me that going after long tail is the best option for every business out there. This data indicate that you are actually better off being #7 in the SERPs with a long tail phrase, compared to being #2 with a head (1 or 2 word) phrase. The long tail in the #7 position will get 6% of the clicks, while the shorter phrase at #2 will only get 5% of the clicks. You will get 5 times as many clicks for a long tail in the #4 position compared to the short phrase in the same position!

Longtail Keywords

100 Clicks vs. Zero?

I would much prefer to get 100 clicks per month to my site for a long tail phrase than zero clicks for the high-volume phrase. This is pretty much what will happen unless you are in the first two positions for that head phrase.

So how do you conduct long tail keyword research? It’s pretty simple actually. You do it exactly the way you would conduct any professional keyword research, except you tell yourself not to get sucked into chasing phrases you just cannot win. I am talking about looking at the keyword list from the bottom up! Also, check your analytics to see how people are actually finding your site. Ask people what search phrases they might use to find you. Go to Q&A sites to see what questions people are asking about your product or service. Dare I say – think outside the keyword research toolbox!

Now that you have your list of long tail phrases, what do you do with them? Blog posts are a fantastic way to leverage long tail keywords as you address the pressing issues your customers face. In your blog, answer questions about your products or industry based on the research you have completed.

Product Descriptions

Product descriptions are another great way to incorporate long tail searches. Product descriptions that spell out the make, model, color, and other options give customers searching for specific product details the ability to find them. Product descriptions are a very practical way to optimize for long tail, and may even be one of the more predictable kinds of long tail searches you can optimize for.

Here’s a great example of what I’m talking about in the TV parts market.

Not too long ago, the projector bulb for my DLP television set died, which is not uncommon for these kinds of sets. I wanted to save a little money and decided to replace it myself. So, I entered the model number for the replacement bulb for my search query. In the results, I found a YouTube video from FixYourDLP.com, which was optimized to my model number. The video gave simple instructions for the do-it-yourselfer who wanted to replace the bulb themselves. At the end of the video was a link to their website, where I could purchase the exact bulb I needed – which I did.

It turns out that FixYourDLP.com has a YouTube channel with instructional videos optimized for all sorts of makes and models – all focused on DLP lamps

FixYourDLP.com used long tail search based on model numbers to get targeted, converting traffic to their site. The volume for a particular model number is generally low, whereas competing for a higher volume short-tail term, like “DLP bulbs,” would be more challenging. Nonetheless, they capitalized on a logical long tail-search string and were able to gain a sale.

And it turns out they are able to gain many, many sales. In March, I was speaking at an ecommerce conference and told the FixYourDLP.com story above to the audience. Lo and behold, the President of MI Technologies, Inc. was sitting in the front row — they own and operate FixYourDLP.com. Ali Irani-Tehrani came up to me afterwards and told me the rest of the story.

Grow 24X in 5 Years!

Today, MI Technologies, Inc. is optimizing 200+ part number specific domain names (as in <Partnumber>.com), revamping their Do-it-Yourself blog and forums, generating original content for LampResearch.com, RecycleYourLamp.com, as well as a few other core driving sites. Ali’s company has grown from $1 million in sales in 2007 to an estimated $24 million in sales inFix Your DLP Image 2011 to become one of the world’s largest replacement lamp resellers for the rear projection TV market. They are phasing out their old core business as a TV parts distributor and focusing their staff of 100 exclusively on the replacement lamp market.

If there were any doubters reading this article, that should make you sit up and take notice. You can’t get much more long tail or niche than that, and video content focused on those phrases has driven this amazing growth of their company.

By having a lot of great content on your site that anticipates long tail searches, your content can be found when those terms do get searched. As you continuously add new content with fresh long tail keywords, you increase your chances of grabbing more and more targeted search traffic.

Note: the above is excerpted from my book Accelerate! Move Your Business Forward Through the Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing. It is a 250 page, step-by-step guide that any organization can follow to kick their content marketing strategy into high gear. Buy your copy today!

Leave a meaningful comment on this article and be eligible to win a free, autographed copy of Accelerate! We will randomly select a winner from the comments below at noon on August 5, 2011.

8 Comments

  • Paul Wolfe Aug 04, 2011

    Artie

    Thanks for sharing this information – this shows a really creative combination of both long tail research and usage and video marketing.

    Do you know if FixYourDLP.com syndicate their videos or just stick to YouTube?

    Paul

  • Jim Aug 04, 2011

    Hi Arnie that’s really interesting about the click through rates.

    I’m just trying to work through this, so if you’re looking for about 100 clicks per month and there is approx 5% CTR. Then I should be looking at targeting long tail words in the range of 2000 searches a month?

    It’s just that when I put the 2 examples into the Google keyword tool (“Northeast Phoenix hotels” and “pet friendly north Scottsdale hotels” they both show up as having no search results.

    Am I using the Google keyword tool wrong(sorry i’m new to all this) or is it just that they were hypothetical search terms and I should still be looking to target terms of approx 2000 words (as long as no strong competition).

    Sorry if this is a dumb question, just trying to get my head round the article. Thanks for your time Arnie.
    Jim

  • Arnie Kuenn Aug 04, 2011

    Hi Paul – thanks, I think it is a great example of building a nice business in a niche market using authentic content.

    Regarding the video distribution. I am only aware of YouTube, but they may have distributed elsewhere as well. Hopefully someone from FixYourDLP will jump on this post and answer your question.

  • Arnie Kuenn Aug 04, 2011

    Jim – I think your CTR logic is right for the most part (5% X 2000 = 100 clicks), but I would not get caught up in the math that way.

    1) You shouldn’t rely on Google search volumes in their keyword tool. They are known to be good indicators, but not real accurate in terms of actual search volumes.

    2) We have many examples of very low volume search terms doing very well for clients and ourselves. Especially if you can find lots of related terms. For example “samsung dlp tv bulb replacement” only gets 590 search per month in the USA according to Google. But there are dozens of closely related terms that start to add up.

    So my bottom line is create content targeted to niche keyword phrases that you can win, and keep doing it over and over. Eventually the traffic will be there. And your conversion rates are likely to go way up as well.

  • organicseoconsultant Aug 04, 2011

    Arnie, this is brilliant and an excellent case study post. It is a cool story how the man behind all of this was in the audience for your presentation where you were praising his work. As search marketers I think that we always appreciate it when we see someone “doing it right” especially when we are shopping online!

    Optimizing for SKUs is not new, many savvy eccomerce folks have been doing it for a while. Think Superwharehouse.com, Amazon, etc. But in some of these smaller niches like replacement lamps many have not done it, which gives this company an advantage.

    But I especially like their use of video here. Video demos are still highly underutilized.

  • Ali Irani-Tehrani Aug 08, 2011

    Paul,

    Syndication: We have B2B partners that are utilizing our videos for their own clients. We have syndicated our videos to other sites similar to YouTube as well, but the success has been limited.

    We have experimented with various syndication strategies, but what has worked really well is careful and detailed linking of videos and content in general with shopping cart pages.

    As the end of the day, consumer confidence is key. We’re actively adding video and text content to various independent sites that work together in building confidence in our products and services. Some of these sites include http://www.FixYourDLP.com, http://www.LampResearch.com, http://www.RecycleYourLamp.org, http://lamp-replacement.com.

    As Arnie mentions, specifics keywords are instrumental in our business and I suppose in most. Two years ago we launched 200+ keyword [part number] domains and they have been very successful. So successful, we’ve seen Amazon.com use the same strategy with similar keywords! I.E., Amazon, out of all people, are competing with against us with the same strategy…and our specific market is tiny compared to their general scope.

    Ali Irani-Tehrani
    MI Technologies, Inc.

  • Jeff Shjarback Aug 25, 2011

    This is a really good post and seo marketing strategy. I found this article off one of your seomoz blog’s. All to often everyone sees that really high traffic volume for the main keywords in their market, get excited and decide to go for it. Entrepreneurs are generally optimists so they are always assuming they will get there and knock off that top competitor. But in reality, you may not have the budget or time to knock off some of the large corporations in the top spots for some high volume keywords. Finding the right long tail keywords geared to the right audience should be an essential marketing strategy for all small businesses.

  • marcus Nov 08, 2013

    Very good article on the semantics of searching for long tail keywords. I am currently using Long Tail Pro to help discover long tail keywords and you are correct, definitely less competition. thanks