This morning I took a look at my incoming search keywords on Google and found I ranked first for the term, “who are wisest people all over the world.” Unfortunately, I don’t even appear on the first page of results for the more grammatically accurate term, “who are the wisest people all over the world,” but I figure that’s OK. Anyone searching for wisdom with such poor grammar is probably better off ending up on my site, rather than bugging the world’s wisest people with their strange and inaccurately worded queries. Questions like “What is meaning of life?” and “Where do we go after die?” can probably become fairly annoying after a while if you actually are the wisest person all over the world.
For the record, neither query on Google returns any results of real relevancy, so I was unable to obtain a list or even a suggestion of whom might be the wisest people in the world. But if you’re after knowledge rather than wisdom, you’ve come to right place, because I’m the smartest guy I know.
The point of my blog post is not to brag (but wait, aren’t all blogs narcissistic by nature?) but to demonstrate a long tail keyword case study. For the uninitiated, when I talk about long tail marketing I’m talking about those 3 and 4 word keyword phrases which (hopefully) comprise the majority of terms for which your site ranks. For example, there may be massive competition to rank first on Google for the term “SEO;” therefore it is more difficult to obtain a #1 ranking. But it is much easier, and there is far less competition, to rank highly for keywords such as “SEO marketing in NJ” and “NJ SEO marketing help.” While not as many people may be searching for those longer four word terms, taken as a whole they should represent more search volume than just the popular one word keyword.
So how do you use long tail marketing in SEO? The answer is simple, and is at the core of this long tail case study: Niche marketing. In my keyword example, you may have observed that anyone searching for the term “SEO” may be actually looking for any of a number of topics. They may want to know how to optimize their web pages for search engines, or they may want to know how to use a robots.txt file appropriately, or they may be looking to hire an SEO professional. As someone marketing my SEO services in New Jersey, I probably don’t stand a good chance of converting any of those visitors into sales once they come to my site. But if I focus on marketing in my own niche, which is SEO Marketing in NJ, I can begin to target more relevant queries and visitors using long tail techniques.
How do you know which long tail keywords to use? That happens to be a much more difficult question to answer. You really can’t anticipate all the long tail keywords visitors might use to find your website, since they are, by definition, so varied and obscure. I never imagined my blog might be the first to rank for the term “who are wisest people all over the world,” although truthfully, in my heart of hearts, of course I always hoped it would be so. So how could I have anticipated that?
One answer is in statistics – you just can’t have enough. I’m always checking out my keywords in Google Analytics (click on Traffic Sources > Keywords). If you’re not using Analytics or some other kind of traffic statistics tracking, go out and get some. In my case, my blog mostly ranks for long tail terms since I’m not actively promoting nor marketing towards any high-volume one-word keywords. By reviewing these long tail keywords, I know how people are finding the site, and I can optimize for those terms.
Other sites’ statistics may vary, but long tail theory always talks about the 80-20 rule. In SEO and search engine traffic volume, I apply the 80-20 rule thusly:
roughly 20% of your website traffic is probably coming from top ten queries, and 80% is (or should be) coming from long tail keywords.
If 80% of your traffic is coming from anywhere, you better pay attention to what that anywhere is and how it’s getting to you. Hence the importance of studying your long tail results and optimizing for them.
In the end, marketing for your long tail is just like chasing your own tail; something you should always be going after and constantly striving to market towards. It’s an evolving, never-ending marketing push to optimize your site and your keywords, and if you’re lucky, you may actually one day become the wisest person at it. At least in your own niche market, which is of course considerably smaller than all over the world, or in your own mind, which is hopefully even larger.