in SEO Basics by

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
Don't Take Chances with Keywords
Diversifying your keyword portfolio is imperative for any SEO campaign. How many successful business models are vested in one client or only target one type of potential client for their ...
READ MORE
Hmmm, Smells like a Sponsored Link to Me...
In the competitive realm of SEO, honest business people are often tempted to resort to less-than-honest forms of internet marketing. We’ve all heard the rumors about competitors clicking on your ...
READ MORE
The SEO Agenda
Your competition doesn’t care “if you feel good today”, “if you your profit margins are eroding” or “if your advertising budget is thinning out”. Your competition doesn't care if you don’t ...
READ MORE
Linking Out to Create Search Engine Trust
Just wanted to share a few effective SEO tips for increasing the degree of search engine trust your website can garner. Most people make the mistake of hording link juice ...
READ MORE
Keyword Relevance and SEO
Is it better to focus on keywords or on market share instead? If your website has a dominant market position, the keywords visitors use to find your website are irrelevant. ...
READ MORE
Improving Natural Search Results
SEO rankings from natural search offer tremendous value to any website. Considering that nearly 70% of traffic to most sites are a result of search engines or contingent on the ...
READ MORE
SEO is the Vanquisher
With credit markets bare and consumer confidence at an all time low, it is imperative to use capital resources surgically to continue through the prevailing downturn -The focus here is ...
READ MORE
Keeping SEO Natural
Don't be tempted by quick results in search engines. It is better to keep your technique and SEO approach natural when targeting competitive keywords. One trend I have noticed pertaining ...
READ MORE
How To SEO: Off Page SEO Tips
Today I would like to share a brief off page SEO technique that allows you to (1) secure a specific keyword in the SERPs as well as (2) promote keyword ...
READ MORE
Duplicate Content, What is it and How to Avoid it!
You've heard of duplicate content, but how do you know if you are creating it or how to stop it from penalizing your website? If you have a WordPress site, ...
READ MORE
SEO Keywords: Use Diversity to Avoid Dependency
SEO Links: The Way They Were Meant To
The SEO Agenda
Need More Search Engine Trust? Link Out!
Keyword Relevance and SEO
Natural Search: Relevance and SEO Rankings
SEO is the Vanquisher
Keeping SEO Natural
How to SEO: Off Page Optimization Tips
Duplicate Content, What is it and How to

About

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.