“The Long Tail” As It Relates To Search Engine Visibility

Web Design And Development | Kinetic KnowledgeThe Long Tail theory was developed by Chris Anderson in his Oct 2004 Wired Magazine article describing how the web might influence certain business & economic models. Anderson, Editor of Wired Magazine at the time, later authored his best selling book ‘The Long Tail’ to better detail the theory.

As it applies to content, blogging & search engine optimization marketing, the idea with ‘the Long Tail’ is to be visible for as many variations of one’s core subject focus as is possible. The proven theory being that, while a business may generate less search discovery per keyword variation [i.e. Condos in New York City] than it will for the most obvious & highly targeted keyword search phrases [i.e. New York City Real Estate] due to competitive forces, the collective impact of a broad set of keyword variations might easily exceed that of the most targeted. Better yet, the more varied or ‘long tail’ a targeted search term is, the less competitive it is to rank for. And so an SEO strategy focused on long tail keywords can be a good idea; however, one must be sure to do their traffic research in order to be sure there’s traffic. To target keywords that nobody is searching is mostly useless.

This is not meant to say a business should NOT target the obvious searches [i.e. Connecticut Architect]. On the contrary, the point is based more on a cost- effective approach to being visible in the search engines. From an economic standpoint, pursuing rank for the most competitive search topics may simply be cost- prohibitive versus what is likely to be competition with the deepest pockets. What’s more, research shows that people do search more specifically these days and so a cost- effective means to capture them is broader ‘long tail’ keyword targeting.

To demonstrate, here is data information drawn from a committed Real Estate client that has great keyword indexing for both sought after and then also not so sought after targets. The firm focuses on being indexed for everything going on in its’ community as it relates to Real Estate. To support the theory, we examined one month of data and it certainly demonstrates the kind of ‘long tail search’ discovery success they are seeking.

A. Total ‘Short Tail’ search discovery equaled 190/ 1,015 searches bringing new visitors to their website = 19%

      • Short Tail being the town’s name and state plus the words property, real estate, home or homes


B. Total Long Tail search discovery equaled 825/1,015= 81%

      • Long Tail being as many variations relating to obvious town searches as is possible

a.) different areas of the town were equal to 130 total search discovery variations
b.) condominium complexes equal to 299 total search discovery variations
c.) developments equal to 89 total search discovery variations
d.) clubs equal to 101 total search discovery variations
e.) restaurants and local business equal to 27 total search discovery variations
f.) listings or specific Street equal to 32 total search discovery variations
g.) developer equal to 56 total search discovery variations
h.) random/ miscellaneous equal to 91 total search discovery variations

This anonymous data focuses on actual search discovery, but it doesn’t represent all site traffic including repeat visitors, direct subscribers or anyone else who comes to the site directly. In this case, Long Tail success is proven based upon variations amounting to 81% of the overall search traffic. We’d argue, they are not only cost- effective marketers, but they are also capturing the most qualified eyeballs!

The Simple Laypersons Guide To Local SEO

Google Is Locally Motivated!

local search targeting monmouth county nj

Seems like everyone is selling SEO these days. Careful, the search engines never ever stop comparing and re- ranking billions of competitive website pages worldwide. It’s so enormous that it is easy for some random person to spin your SEO failure story. That one scary signal some random SEO guy emailed out of the blue about?! But is that guy actually familiar with you, the local competition, what signals matter most and what you actually compete for? And folks remember, Google calls nobody so beware of that desperate trick as well.

Being there are literally billions of pages live on the World Wide Web, its good logic to be concerned about what it really takes to compete. Better, at least, to be informed before listening to some random scare tactic; however, there is an opportunity in that Google has become locally sensitive in its results. Because over 50% of all searches have local intent, they have adjusted for what are truly ‘local to the search’ results. It makes local SEO attainable for the small to medium sized business. And folks, for a business prepared to do the hard work themselves OR that can identify folks capable of doing it for them, know that the lion’s share of your competition is NOT doing anything about it. Not yet!

Here’s what a business needs to focus on month over month in order to attract qualified (by their search) new leads … and if you’re so inclined, ask us about affordable local SEO programs that work:

On- Website SEO Signals

  1. Target Keyword Research:
  • Sure you are a home builder or a lawyer, but what have you done to research & identify the keywords that your target consumers search?
  • Are you prepared to monitor how you rank for these keywords, so that you’re aware of where you sit day to day in the pecking order?
  • And folks, get familiar with the long tail of search!
  1. Geography:
  • You want to conquer everywhere for new leads, but Google doesn’t care. They want to identify where you are a relevant source of information, products and services.
  • Unless you are a national brand with LARGE budgets, you need to help Google identify and then compare you for where you do business.
  • For the local business start with your town, other towns near bye, county and then build outward from there. The algorithm is matching results to a physical location, so support it & your business with geographic emphasis in your content!
  1. Content:
  • What have you done to create the right kind of emphasis in your content for your target keywords that make a search engine notice?
  • An about page that mentions all the things you do is horribly diluted. There needs to be dedicated individual product or service pages with authoritative depth for each target topic.
  • Posts are best for timely, specific subjects … and they can always be updated including for the post date.
  • Evergreen pages are broader subject- authoritative content, meant to stand the test of time.
  • Produce both types of content actively as an active and current source of useful information.
  • Reinforce keywords in- page signals like page title, page header, meta- title & description, image alt tags & filenames; use keyword slugs in URLs; add in (and off) website links to useful supporting information and create the quality information capable of demonstrating your authority for each topic.

Off- Website SEO Signals

  1. Google Business Tools Setup & Management
  • For starters it includes Plus, Maps, ME, YouTube, Search Console and Analytics.
  • These tools need to be in sync, where possible, and optimized for categorization, location, contact, hours of operation, descriptions, keywords and back- links information.
  • Get verified so that Google is assured they are, in fact, gathering information from you (the source) and not some imposter!
  • Set a plan for getting good client reviews into Google Maps, so there are unadulterated positive votes for you arriving regularly. They are signals Google will use when comparing your presence.
  • Submit new pages & posts, or updated pages, into Console for re-indexing whenever possible. It’s welcomed!
  • Submit new post summaries to a Google Plus wall, with links back to the source, affording Google activity oriented signals it can use to compare. Research and join target groups, expanding reach and possibly ‘voice’.
  • What more trusted signal could there be than any stemming from the very tools Google makes available??
  1. Back- link Signals – From Trusted Sites
  • Do not seek links anywhere and everywhere: use logic, pursue sites most likely to be trusted by search engines and also relevant to your business. It’s not a numbers game, only relevance.
  • A safe place to start is the leading search and directory listings, Google Maps/Plus above included.
  • Google crawls search and directory listings as references for (name, address, phone, hours) consistency and also for other information (links, keywords, specials) about the business.
  • Town & municipality sites, Associations, Wikipedia (when appropriate), local newspapers that might cover good news, etc. can all have powerful competitive effects.
  1. Leverage Social Voice
  • Search engines will monitor a social voice in various ways.
  • Use social media accounts to post good website content, including blog posts, cool pictures & videos, sales or specials and be sure to back- link to that content!
  • Pursue folks who follow to like, share and also link to your posts and content … enlarging that competitive voice.

Ranking High In Local Search Results|Kinetic Knowledge Monmouth County NJFinal Points

Manage your own expectations: when your competitors are giant companies with huge marketing budgets you are probably not going to rank high for the most obvious target keywords (i.e. auto insurance). But if you follow the above for specific keywords, including with geographic emphasis (i.e. Ridgewood or Bergen County NJ Insurance Agent), you’ve got a much better shot at appealing to a search engine who is genuinely trying to assist a local searcher in the right way. Do not ever rule out broader target keywords in your content, for instance if you are an insurance agency that can also handle commercial coverages, aim for ‘commercial property insurance Kalamazoo MI’.  Allow a blog to fuel social media and newsletters, so it’s a much more extensive tool than ‘just an addition’ to your website. Search engines will notice the activity and you will broaden keywords indexing too! And know that for someone who searches and finds you online, it matters how you look and what you say because your website is ground zero for your brand online.

Past Post:
Confused By Search Engine Optimization? Try This ‘Laypersons Guide To Understanding SEO’

What Listings Will Do For Your Business

Listings = Citations kinetic knowledge google my business listing

Citations are simply a reference on other websites for your information, including Name, Address, Phone Number ( NAP info ), hopefully the all important hours of operation plus a primary website link and other service related back- links. Search and directory listing sites happen to be websites that 1) people visit and that 2) search engines crawl for information.

What Listings Can Do For Your Business

A business with LOTS of accurate information rich citations on the web has a much better chance of being ranked high in Google local results.

What was that?! Most people search and find businesses on Google, SO WHY would a business bother with chasing other citations? ” Who is ever going to search for Home Inspector, for instance, on Topix.com or a builder on Yelp.com ?”

Well, Google is a search engine (albeit it is also a business listings directory = citations provider Google My Business) that is looking to serve a searchers’ interest in products and services information. It needs to find and compare your and other source information, so when there are plenty of accurate consistent references to a particular business, well that’s where citations come in! Logically, a business with plenty of citations on the web will have a far higher chance of being ranked better in Google local search results because the references all support an overall competitive local presence.

And while Google isn’t disclosing which listing sites they trust or value the most, not to mention see as a good back- link or a valued source of reviews, you can certainly do a quick search and start to draw some obvious conclusions. The search and directory sites are there!

What You Need To Know About Listings

And yes sure, ” who has the time to register, manage a verify- process, go through a per directory learning curve of options and steps in order to enhance & optimize? ”  Especially when no one knows which ones truly count, at least so far as Google’s algorithm goes. Getting all of these listings accurate and consistent is the challenge, it’s where a citations service shines! Its also a quick and easy way to build some back- links safely without running the risk of raising red- flags. And while Google doesn’t necessarily count them all for back- links, its algorithm certainly does count some!

Our Listings Service Benefits

For some, the management support for listings/citations is welcomed support, so that a person can focus on your business. We can add a businesses information to most all of the large meaningful search & directory listings sites so that it will not only have the benefit of multiple quality business citations and a better competitive set of signals needed for higher Search Rankings, but potentially more leads and customers. Check out our search & directory listings service, which can add that all PLUS a great deal more for your marketing mix:  https://www.kineticknowledge.com/search-directory-listings-management-plan/

Using Local Search To Beat The Competition

Local SEO Beats Big Brands |  Local Search Optimization

Local SEO Beats Big Brands | Local Search Optimization Most small businesses online want to be number one in search engine results. Of course, accomplishing the number one seat in search is never a bad thing, but when you peel away a few layers and truly think about what you want to accomplish online, number one in search should be less a goal than simply being the number one most chosen brand! And assuming that’s right, the question is obvious: how can a small business compete with deep pocketed large brands online and become the number one choice in their marketplace?

The answer is quality, local search engine optimization !

Don’t Think Too Broad, It Is A Matter Of Quality Over Quantity

Something we see repeatedly is ‘local brands’ thinking too broadly and not taking advantage of local SEO opportunities. Too many small brands will try and rank for terms they will never be able to compete for long term. It’s an unfortunate truth that big national brands have deep pockets and will always have the ability to outwork & outbid small brands for the most obvious or broad keywords. Surprising to some, search engines actually wish to rank locally relevant business results over the national brand when possible because in many circumstances it is the better result.

When a searcher is looking for services locally they, more often than not, are looking for the most local knowledge … and search engines understand this. And there are many tools and strategies that make it possible for the local business to succeed!

The Local SEO Fundamentals

  • Be sure all pages are keyword conscious and also locally geo- specific. Tend to title tags, meta descriptions, alt tags, headers in a very locally- conscious way. It’s going to be a huge asset when it comes to capturing local traffic, leads and conversions.  Local-focused content brings a personal touch, growing a familiar trust with customers and staving off the ( big brand ) competition. And it is what Google is looking for too.
  • Have all your Google My Places tools up to date, verified AND optimized!
  • Ensure that all your local citations, search and directory listings are accurate for location, contact, website link and hours of operation. It is a signal search engines seek and most competitors miss.
  • Seeking out and carefully  managing customer reviews is a huge local SEO advantage! For reviews, we feel Google Plus / Maps offers the biggest bang for the buck, but other search & directory listing sites like Yelp can matter.
  • From there, to truly dominate, a local content strategy comes into play. Simply being found in search is not enough to get the phone to ring, appointments made, or products and services sold.
  • Create great local coverage and then push that content out through social networks where there’s more and more potential exposure. Plus, Google looks carefully based upon several potential signals for a popular social voice! 
  • These are the fundamentals of competitive local SEO. It’s tedious time- consuming work, but done right and your business will outpace 99% of the competition unwilling to make the same comittment.

Become A Local Expert

Local-specific pages and content have tremendous value. This is the area of your marketing where a personal touch goes a long way. Involve your customers by demonstrating an interest in what your customers know, like knowledge of a town or county. You are already a local expert, use that to your advantage. Using your blog, website pages, and most definitely social media is the way to get involved in your community, and your community involved in your business. Creating and sharing unifying, educational and insider content is local marketing gold.  Get personal with your customers and find a way to connect with them. Local-centric businesses tend to outperform and outlive other businesses in the long term because they are vested in locally conscious relationships.

The main barrier to achieving Local SEO goals for a small business is time. Business owners are pulled in a thousand directions per day and simply don’t have the time to sit down and develop a local seo strategy let alone execute one.  Kinetick Knowledge can help you reach your Local SEO potential. Contact Us today to get your Local SEO strategy started!