Join Matt Bailey for an in-depth discussion in this video Utilize the long tail, part of SEO: Keyword Strategy in Depth.
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Now, when doing your keyword research, there's a term that you're going to come across and it's a very fundamental term about keywords and how people search. This is called the long tail of keywords. In order to explain the long tail, we have to go back and look at some of our keyword lists and find out what is important and what we're trying to target. You see, if Napa Valley is an important part of our taste of California or some of our California tours, obviously we're going to look at any keywords that have Napa Valley, Napa Valley Tour, and try, and gather them all together.
After we do that, and we look at our list. One of the things that people tend to do is gravitate towards the general terms that have a lot of searches. We get excited about that because they see tens of thousands of searches for these words. Usually, these are the what we call the top ten list. The top ten keywords that get the most amount of searches, but what's interesting is, they also get the most amount of attention from your competitors, and everybody else.
So as a result, these words are typically the highest targeted words that you will find with the highest amount of competition. Let's look at this top ten list a different way. This is the long tail. Out of 1,100 or more keywords that have Napa Valley in them, the top five words have over 200,000 searches in that time frame. The next 1,100 keywords have 97,000 searches.
Now, this should tell us something, that the top five words are in the highest demand. The next 1,000 words get about half as many searches. However, because they are much more detail oriented terms, they're more specific to what people want. We call this the head of the tail, is the one that gets the most attention. The long tail incorporates three or four or five word terms that are much more specific and are searched on the least. In a graphical format, it looks like this.
Napa Valley gets the most amount of searches at 150,000 searches for that time frame. And then it drops off dramatically and then the long tail just goes out very smooth. Until we get to a search such as hotel spa in Calistoga Napa Valley California. A number of words in that term, but it illustrates what happens here. All of the attention is focused on the head terms because they're the most obvious. However, when people are looking more specifically, it doesn't add up to a lot of searches.
It's a very broad amount of searches. And these are the ones that are most specific, and the most directed in terms of people searching for an obvious result. This also pictures the buying cycle. When people are at the interest level, they type in a very general term into the search engine. And that's when they're exposed to all the different variations or options. And so, they go into a gathering mode where they're looking at everything there is to do. What are my options? What do I need to know? What are the reviews about these places? And so they start then using more research oriented keywords, then they start excluding different properties may be that they have seen in the results or in the reviews, where they've gotten poor reviews.
Then when they are ready to commit with a specific feature set, specific words are used in that search phrase. It's typically a longer phrase, but the searcher is more intent and ready to convert as a buyer. And so, our goal is to be seen both at the interest level as well as the commitment level. The interest level will bring a lot of visitors, but not a lot of immediate conversions. The commitment level will bring less visitors per keyword, but a higher level of commitment and conversion.
And so when we talk about the long tail, most of the attention is at the general terms but most of the action is down in the long tail, in the detail terms.
- Understanding how keywords work
- Using long-tail keywords, phrase patterns, and plurals
- Organizing keyword data with a keyword spreadsheet
- Interpreting data and discovering searcher intent
- Measuring keyword competitiveness and brand impact
- Examining keyword demand and keyword trends
- Applying keywords to your website for maximum searchability
- Creating effective PPC ads based on keywords
- Understanding PPC bidding strategies to avoid costly mistakes
- Measuring results so you can further prioritize marketing efforts