Lessons in SEO Oversight: Don't Ignore the Long Tail

Business.com / Business Intelligence / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Long tail keywords are an important part of every SEO strategy, yet they often get ignored. Use this guide to find your low hanging fruit.

It’s an easy mistake.

If you are anything like me, you become overly focused on head terms while ignoring the long tail keywords. It’s understandable why you might focus on keywords with higher search volumes. 

It seems these head terms will generate more traffic, resulting in a higher conversion rate. But today I will show you a few reasons why you should never ignore the long tail.

I will also give you some quick tips on how to discover long tail keywords along with topics you should be focusing on right now.

Related Article: Build It And They Will Come: How to Design a Website With SEO in Mind

Long Tail Landing Pages Convert Remarkably

If you think about it, it makes sense why long tail landing pages convert better than pages with high volume keywords. If someone enters your site with a specific purpose, they are more likely to convert than someone using a general search query.

I always knew this, but like many digital marketers I fell into the trap. I wanted that head term traffic.

Recently, I was consulting a client in the party industry when I had my “long tail awakening.” I’m willing to bet if you take a look at your own analytics, you will find similar data to mine (noted below).

I understand this is a narrow data set, but would love to hear what data you find. Tweet me with your findings. As you can see every single metric for my long tail pages performed amazing to my general head term pages.

Long Tail Traffic Stats

How to Find Your Long Tail Low Hanging Fruit

Site search doesn’t nearly receive the attention it deserves. For those who don’t know, site search is simply the search within your website. You can glean valuable data from your site search analytics, in turn, leaving a large impact on your long tail strategy.

If you are using Google analytics, this information is very easy to come by. Below are a few examples from my dropship jewelry store. You will find your own site search data by logging into Google analytics and clicking “behavior.”

Once there, you are able to see what percentage of traffic uses the site search and exactly what they are searching for. You can also use this information to find long tail keyword opportunities to rank for.

Google analytics and clicking behavior results page

When I looked at my site search terms, I found there were more than 7,000 unique searches. These unique searches give me valuable information to help understand what my costumers really want.

Related Article: 6 Toxic SEO Habits You Should Stop Today

Long Tail Keyword Research

It doesn’t matter whether you are a B2B or B2C digital marketer, hitting your customer at the right time in the sales funnel is vital.

Whether your customer is beginning to learn about the product you’re offering or ready to purchase, you need to be in the sales consideration funnel. It is important to have keyword research at all levels of the funnel.

Let’s look at an example using someone searching for party supplies. Generally, a customer will begin their party supply discovery with general search queries like, “frozen cakes” or “frozen party game ideas.”

At this point, the customer isn’t ready to make a purchase, but they are beginning to consider potential brands and cost.

If you research long tail keywords, i.e. party ideas in this example, and you show up in Google, when others use the same search, there is a great chance you will be part of their consideration funnel.

In a previous article, I mention a tool I highly recommend when starting your research. Simply start by using general topical information and ask yourself, “If my customer was just starting to research my product offering, what they would search?”

Related Article: Get the Word Out: The SEO Advantages of a Local, Niche Content Strategy

Paid Search Data

The paid search team should be your best friend for your organic search strategy. If you aren’t already working closely with them, start now. Don’t silo your work, as they can offer valuable insights leaving a huge impact on your search strategy.

Time is money. And because you only have so much of it, you need to narrow down which long tail keywords to target. Give all your long tail keywords to your paid search team to test and track.

Within a few weeks you might have enough data to analyze how your long tail keywords/pages are performing. At that point, prioritize and target the highest performing pages.

These are just a few tips to help you get started using long tail keywords as part of your strategy. Now it’s your turn, please share your tips by tweeting me.

Stop ignoring your long tail and make them a part of your marketing strategy.

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