29 Jun Long Tail SEO: When & How to Target Low-Volume Keywords – Whiteboard Friday
By: Rand Fishkin
The long tail of search can be a mysterious place to explore, often lacking the volume data that we usually rely on to guide us. But the keyword phrases you can uncover there are worth their weight in gold, often driving highly valuable traffic to your site. In this edition of Whiteboard Friday, Rand delves into core strategies you can use to make long tail keywords work in your favor, from niche-specific SEO to a bigger content strategy that catches many long tail searches in its net.
Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about long tail SEO.
Now, for those of you who might not be familiar, there’s basically a demand curve in the search engine world. Lots and lots of searchers are searching for very popular keywords in the NBA world like “NBA finals.” Then we have a smaller number of folks who are searching for “basketball hoops,” but it’s still pretty substantial, right? Probably hundreds to thousands per month. Then maybe there are only a few dozen searches a month for something like “Miami Heat box ticket prices.”
Then we get into the very long tail, where there are one, two, maybe three searches a month, or maybe not even. Maybe it’s only a few searches per year for something like “retro Super Sonics customizable jersey Seattle.”
Now, this is pretty tough to do keyword research anywhere in this long tail region. The long tail region is almost a mystery to us because the search engines themselves don’t get enough volume to where they’d show it in a tool like AdWords or in Bing’s research. Even Search Suggest or related searches will often not surface these kinds of terms and phrases. They just don’t get enough volume. But for many businesses, and yours may be one of them, these keywords are actually quite valuable.
2 ways to think about long tail keyword targeting
#1: I think that there’s this small set of hyper-targeted, specific keyword terms and phrases that are very high value to my business. I know they’re not searched for very much, maybe only a couple of times a month, maybe not even that. But when they are, if I can drive the search traffic to my website, it’s hugely valuable to me, and therefore it’s worth pursuing a handful of these. A handful could be half a dozen, or it could be in the small hundreds that you decide these terms are worth going after even though they have a very small number of keyword searches. Remember, if we were to build 50 landing pages targeting terms that only get one or two searches a month, we still might get a hundred or a couple hundred searches every year coming to our site that are super valuable to the business. So these terms in general, when we’re doing this hyper-specific, they need to be…
- Conversion-likely, meaning that we know we’re going to convert those searchers into buyers if we can get them or searchers into whatever we need them to do.
- They should be very low competition, because not a lot of people know about these keywords. There’s not a bunch of sites targeting them already. There are no keyword research tools out there that are showing this data.
- It should be a relatively small number of terms that we’re targeting. Like I said, maybe a few dozen, maybe a couple hundred, generally not more than that.
- We’re going to try and build specifically optimized pages to turn those searchers into customers or to serve them in whatever way we need.
#2: The second way is to have a large-scale sort of blast approach, where we’re less targeted with our content, but we’re covering a very wide range of keyword targets. This is what a lot of user-generated content sites, large blogs, and large content sites are doing with their work. Maybe they’re doing some specific keyword targeting, but they’re also kind of trying to reach this broad group of long tail keywords that might be in their niche. It tends to be the case that there’s…
- A ton of content being produced.
- It’s less conversion-focused in general, because we don’t know the intent of all these searchers, particularly on the long tail terms.
- We are going to be targeting a large number of terms here.
- There are no specific keyword targets available. So, in general, we’re focused more on the content itself and less on the specificity of that keyword targeting. View Full Article >>