in SEO Basics by Jeffrey_Smith

We were contacted by a company touting a top level domain from the 90’s, the kind of domain name you can only dream about acquiring for less than $50K-70K in modern times, however, despite their top 3 ranking for a prominent keyword, they still needed SEO.
ignore the long tail at your own risk
Ironically, they have a mail order e-commerce model that from all indicators is working well for them, so what is the catch? When presented with a plethora of keywords (since they already rank in the top 3 results in Google for their primary keyword) they essentially scoffed with unjust due. According to them, anything less than their primary keyword is of little value to them.

This is where things get strange, upon further inquiry, we were able to determine that 84% of their search engine traffic is hinged on that one keyword. Is this a very SAFE business model? Not necessarily, that is, if you ever want to grow beyond the aggregate traffic of being a one hit / keyword wonder or have to tap out if anything ever happened to your primary / trophy keyword.

The impulse to share the tiered ranking strategies one can implement by assessing competitive market intelligence (by looking at your competition, the market/niche) and what possibilities exist for long-tail search engine optimization were the first thing we wanted to elaborate.

Their reaction, the keywords you present are things we are trying NOT to rank for. The message is simple. Sure, you can acquire blockbuster keywords with thousands of visitors attached, but ignore the long-tail at your own risk. By putting your eggs all in one basket, your business model can disappear in one algorithmic hiccup if the relevance model changes.

For those unfamiliar with the long tail of search, the concept is simple. Instead of someone typing in a broad / nebulous keyword like the word shopping and expecting to find exactly what they are looking for, such a keyword may return a definition of whoever optimized their website best for that phrase (but not exactly what you are looking for).

As a result, people add additional words for long tail queries, by doing so, they are providing additional nodes of relevance for search engines to use term frequency to extract a page with the highest probable relevance and authority on the topic / keyword.

The question is, when you know you are looking for something specific, you use modifiers such as make, model, color, size, brand name, etc. By taking these signals (as a business or webmaster) and implementing coherent naming conventions into pages, proper use of titles, strong internal links and creating segments for distinct types of products, categories and modifiers; you can increase traction for all the items in the website.

Just because you rank for the root phrase (based on the domain name) doesn’t mean you can’t dig deeper and look for additional opportunities for keywords of equal stature that have less competition that are related to your theme.

The takeaway here is, finding a series of strong secondary keywords tiered from the original phrase in tandem can exceed not only the dependency on one keyword, but raise ambient traffic levels to immense proportions.

By them essentially ignoring the long tail, they are only interested in one type of psycho-graphic consumer who thinks along that linear trajectory. Sure, there are a large percentage of people still executing one word searches and perhaps even type in .com traffic for a product, but to deliberately snub the opportunity to double, triple or quadruple traffic is utterly acenine.

Most people use two or more words in search engines to find what they are looking for, why? Because one word searches often result in Wikipedia listings and nebulous search results.

My suggestion, take off the blinders, think as a consumer would think and find keywords  they would type in a search engine if they were looking to buy. With the type of authority the website in question has (ranking for a keyword with 30 million competing pages) acquiring a top 3 position for multiple traffic-bearing stemmed keywords would be merely systematic with a stint of SEO. So, for those who insist on keeping it safe with one word trophy rankings I leave you with a few thoughts for consideration.

Since 80% of most websites get the lion share of visitors from long-tail traffic, do the math and ignore the long-tail of search at your own risk. 

Read More Related Posts
Which is more beneficial for business, SEO or Web 2.0 Internet Marketing? First, the distinction; SEO is all about making your own web property more visible based on keywords and key ...
READ MORE
Keyword Research: At the Root of Organic Search
You have to dig deep to discover the roots of organic search when plotting which keywords and audiences are candidates for conversion. Instead of haphazardly targeting nebulous keywords or competitive rankings; ...
READ MORE
Don't Disrupt Trusted Nodes of Relevance
Disrupting the trust a website has can be catastrophic to SEO. For example, if you have aged legacy content in a website that is indexed, then that page is contributing ...
READ MORE
Basic SEO Solutions for Common SEO Mistakes
So you’ve heard it several times before…what good is SEO and website traffic if it doesn’t convert. No matter what your conversion objective is (request free quote, buy a product, ...
READ MORE
Traffic Sources, Vistors and Conversion
With all of the marketing jargon about sales funnels, sales cycles, message matching and utilizing enticing value propositions to encourage click throughs and conversions its easy to forget what proceeds ...
READ MORE
SEO, Link Clusters, Age and IP Diversity
Just like getting in on the ground floor of any opportunity makes perfect sense, when it comes to link building and SEO, things are no different. In fact, there is ...
READ MORE
Link Interrogation: Is Google Shaking Down Paid Links?
Is Google shaking down paid links now more than ever? It seems that more and more sites are slipping from page 1 to page 3 or 4 in the SERPs ...
READ MORE
Duplicate Content and SEO
With SEO, sometimes you hear about duplicate content and duplicate content issues.  These “issues” are real and unless corrected, it is like splitting hairs and losing a large percentage of ...
READ MORE
SEO for Large Websites Part II
In our first blog post of this 3 part series named SEO for Large Websites Part I, we touched on the importance of defining ranking objectives (from the onset) to ...
READ MORE
Targeting Search Behaviors Instead of Just Keywords
If are familiar with the concept of SEO and targeting specific audiences based on demographic or psychographic profiles, all of that is a wash when you consider targeting consumer search ...
READ MORE
SEO or Web 2.0 Internet Marketing?
Organic Search: Top Keyword Modifiers Revealed!
SEO Tips for Retooling Legacy Content
5 SEO Tips to Avoid Common SEO Mistakes
Alternative Traffic Sources: Diversity and Conversion
SEO, Link Clusters, Age and IP Diversity
Is Google Shaking Down Paid Links?
Duplicate Content and SEO
SEO for Large Websites Part II
Targeting Behavioral Keywords

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.

12 thoughts on “Ignore the Long Tail at Your Own Risk
  1. Very informative post, that is true long tail keywords should be focused.

  2. Tom Demers says:

    Great post; this is such a great point. In much the same way you wouldn’t want to rely on a single channel for lead generation (if 98 percent of your leads came through PPC or Email marketing, you would be looking for another marketing avenue) you need to think about expanding/diversifying your keyword portfolio to lower risk…we actually just put up a two-part article on the value of expanding your keyword list: http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2009/04/14/why-most-efficient-frontier-may-be-new-one-value-keyword-discovery-keyword

    Anyway great post!

  3. Great point. Stay in the “box” to long and lose touch.
    Look ahead and adjust to what is coming next from Google.
    Have any idea about when Goggle may do the dance again?

    Don’t forget about me please!

  4. Very helpful post.. I learned a lot…

  5. ade says:

    Very interesting post, one of the best I’ve read on long tail keywords. Also very inspiring. Thanks a lot.

  6. don says:

    great post, I will continue to work on my keyword phrasing. Thanks for the kick.

    don
    http://spiritnewsdaily.com

Comments are closed.