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!
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 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 in 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!
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