Qualified Consumers Search ‘Long Tail Keywords’
Competition is fierce online, including for local businesses trying to rank their services in search results for local leads. The fact is, qualified consumers search very specifically and we want to present a strategy that most of the competition will fail to execute. It is about targeting the ‘long tail of search’ and it requires optimizing content more specifically.
‘Long tail keywords’ involve targeting less obvious and more specific search keywords & phrases in pages & content. These keywords will have fewer consumer searches … but they will also have less competition. For the business properly optimized, being visible to the most highly qualified consumer will not only become possible but highly likely.
The ‘Long tail’ is about being there when the person who looks a little harder and who is a little more specific when they want something you offer … is searching!
‘Long Tail Keywords’ Explained
The Long Tail theory was originally explored by Chris Anderson in his Oct 2004 Wired Magazine article describing how the web might influence getting new business. Anderson, Editor of Wired Magazine at the time, later authored his best selling book ‘The Long Tail’ to better detail his theory.
As it applies to better search engine optimization and to marketing – the idea with ‘The Long Tail’ is to be visible for as many keyword variations of one’s core business focus as is possible.
Proven below this theory shows that, while a business may generate less search discovery per ‘long tail’ keyword (i.e. 3 Bedroom Condo Greenwich Village) than it will for the most competitive keywords (i.e. New York City Condo), the collective impact on the actual business of those ‘long tail’ variations might outperform that of the most obviously targeted. Again, the more specific the search term is (or keywords are) the less competitive it likely is in search results. The assumption being that most business competition has either only focused on the most obvious keyword searches or that they are not bothering to optimize content at all. The assumption is also that there are consumer leads out there searching much more specifically than most people.
An SEO strategy placing focus on ‘long tail’ keywords is one capable of not only capturing more total traffic but also better more highly qualified traffic. This is NOT meant to suggest a business should give up targeting the obvious searches (i.e. New York City Real Estate). On the contrary, the argument is to target more … less competitive … terms (i.e. 3 Bedroom Condo Greenwich Village) in the search engine result pages. It can mean being visible when extremely qualified people, demonstrated by their specific effort, search. Search visibility is undoubtedly one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies there is; however, solely pursuing the most competitive search topics limits a marketer to the most competitive searches.
Analysis Supports Long Tail Keyword SEO Strategy
Research shows that people do search more specifically. To demonstrate the ‘Long Tail’ theory here is traffic analytic data drawn (in 2007) from a ‘publish lots of content coverage Vail CO Real Estate Agency’ client of ours. This agency had broad keyword indexing for both the most sought after (and then also the not so sought after) targets. Their pages and blog posts focused on being indexed for everything going on in the area & community as it relates to local Real Estate. We examined one month of data to demonstrate ‘long tail’ search discovery success for this (will remain anonymous) agency in Vail, CO.
- Short Tail being the town’s name and state plus the words 1) property, 2) real estate, 3) home or 4) homes
B. Total ‘Long Tail’ search discovery equaled 825/1,015= 81%
- Long Tail being as many variations relating to obvious local searches as is possible
a.) different areas of the town were equal to 130 total searchers arriving on website
b.) condominium complexes equal to 299 total searchers
c.) new developments equal to 89 total searchers
d.) local clubs equal to 101 total searchers
e.) local business news or info equal to 27 total searchers
f.) listings or specific local streets equal to 32 total searchers
g.) local builder-developer news equal to 56 total searchers
h.) random/ miscellaneous news equal to 91 total searchers … hey, they blog about what’s going on locally a lot!
Albeit anonymous, the data above demonstrates ‘Long Tail theory‘ success based upon discovery for less targeted keyword variations; that discovery amounting to 81% of the overall search traffic and 435% more visitors than what the short tail of search delivered. That’s a lot of traffic and a lot of potential for highly qualified leads!
We’d argue the Agency is not only a cost-effective marketer but one that is capturing the most highly qualified eyeballs!