in How To Reference Material, SEO Marketing by Jeffrey_Smith

Google currently occupies 72% of the market share for all searches conducted in the US, making it prime real estate for over 60 Million users each day. Despite your industry, attaining a lofty position for multiple keywords through the use of SEO or SEM, represent vast economic and strategic advantage.
google-optimization
Even though you may have one idea what your pages are about, Google and other search engines have a broader perspective (since they can extract relevance from billions of documents). Are you missing out on hidden traffic by focusing on a narrow range of keywords? when you could target market share instead?

Optimization Equates to Traffic and Traffic can be Quantified by Conversion

Keyword selection and optimization are crucial blueprints for your website. Did you know that 90% of typical traffic is long-tail traffic?

What this means is, instead of focusing on broad match or general top tier keywords for Google optimization, try using more specific keywords in conjunction with specific landing pages optimized exclusively for those keywords.

1) By proving a laser like focus, it quells the fickleness of searchers expectations (by giving them what they want) to increase conversion and lower bounce rates as well as
2) Optimization establishes a benchmark and relationship with your website making it easier to propel related stemmed keywords into top positions.

For web pages deemed worthy enough of attaining and defending such critical top positions the benefits of branding, multivariate testing and conversion ensue (testing the offer for the highest rate of engagement).

In addition, noting that it is common to seek the most competitive keywords as we often equate higher with better subconsciously.

Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) are also both founded upon the platform of relevance. Relevance is the judge (the compelling urge to stay and investigate or flee) that determines if a user will stay to engage the content for the said search or simply move on and look for a better offer to appease their original intent.

So, better to play it safe and not try to use one page as a catch all for multiple topics, unless conversion objectives exist on that page that encapsulate the type of visitors who would use those keywords.

Going back to the statement about 90% of traffic being long-tail by nature for most websites, sure you can shift the way a website ranks based on controlling things such as:

  • The amount of content on a page
  • The amount of content on a topic
  • How those pages are linked
  • Which pages are indexed
  • How many backlinks those pages have from other sites
    and how strongly they are prioritized within the site as a whole

However, the key to unlocking your websites full potential is to understanding the various / aggregate ranking factors your website has as well as the potential to rank for keywords and key phrases outside of its traditional trajectory.

Depending on your content, site architecture, linking structure and link profile you can essentially expand the funnel to swallow market share (starting at the bottom and moving up).

Which means instead of constantly trying to steer the horse in one direction or another, there can be a benefit to letting the reins loose a bit to see what types of traffic ensue (through building content and using internal linking).

The notion about long-tail traffic is this, the more relative keywords a searcher uses to find a page, typically the more interested they are in that topic, product or service.

So, someone searching for “insurance companies” is using a broad match catch all approach which may or may not return the most relevant result. However, that same person searching for “affordable insurance companies providing family dental plans” will get results more specific to their intention.

Understanding the psychology of the surfer and by optimizing your pages for common sense phrases and modifiers (such as related synonyms, abbreviations and modifiers) not only increases your likelihood of discovering hidden sources of relevant traffic, but also allows you to develop additional content and landing pages to capture even more market share from your specific niche provided by your product or services distinct angle.

Remember, its not about you, its about their needs, their interests and solving their problems with tangible solutions that drove traffic to the page to begin with.

Sure, you can target the most competitive phrases in your industry (and with proper SEO you will get there over time) but what about in the meantime? Optimizing your site for the long tail not only represents one way to quickly build stable baseline ambient traffic, but it also gets your foot in the door for more competitive keywords and the multiple variations people tend to use to find unique products and services.

No two people search alike, so don’t make assumptions with your keyword selection, you either know or you don’t know and that takes time, research and analysis to determine.

The takeaway here is, the bigger the funnel, the more possible traffic you can sift through for hidden gems, so lets the reins out with your website and see just how much performance you can get from your content. 

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About Jeffrey_Smith

In 2006, Jeffrey Smith founded SEO Design Solutions (An SEO Provider who now develops SEO Software for WordPress).

Jeffrey has actively been involved in internet marketing since 1995 and brings a wealth of collective experiences and marketing strategies to increase rankings, revenue and reach.

7 thoughts on “SEO and Long Tail Optimization
  1. Great post, just saw from twitter

    Quality content, thanks

  2. Yeah, but! How much traffic is there really on the long tail terms. If there is not huge traffic, it is hard to get much return from this activity.

  3. @Jag: Thanks for visiting and the props.

    @ Als:

    I understand your contention, however the real objective of the long tail is not just to rank for low hanging fruit, it is to create a semantic model that allows your relevance for root phrases or keywords to escalate.

    So, essentially, even though your ranking objective may be to target the root, most sites do not have (a) the relevance (b) the reputation or (c) the trust to tackle them, so using stemmed semantic key phrases is great because you can benefit from keywords you never intended on acquiring with a direct “exact match” methodology.

    We have one site we created that has over 600+ keywords in 90 days it ranks for using internal linking and the blue print gleaned from competitive keyword analysis (rather than building a site and trying to make it behave like a beacon instead).

    Aggregate conversion is not easy to measure, since most phrases are transient in the sense that they lend themselves to the whole and essentially target market share vs. just trophy phrases.

    I can personally vouch for this method, but then again to each their own. Thanks for commenting.

  4. troy says:

    I agree, that the long tail solution is great, but at the same time i have witnessed an increase in bouncing. The object would be to create a landing page that is set up to covert based on the keywords that landed them there. There is also a point where you can pigeon hole a keyword where you don’t get any traffic.

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