We get many requests asking if we can optimize websites.  Some times the people asking us for help have websites with just a handful of pages.  For those of you who are relatively new to SEO, a lot of successful websites have something in common, they tap into the…

The long tail of search

If you haven’t heard, the long tail of search

 Long Tail of search, keyword term distribution

is the area under the curve representing search traffic that is highly targeted, in other words, keyword searches that are in the range of 3+ keywords.  The idea is that if a person searches for a specific thing they are more likely to refine their search and use more keywords to describe what they want to find if they didn’t get what they want the first time through.  And a person who is already looking for your product or service is more likely to BUY.  I bet you like that word 😉

As it turns out, the area under the long tail is actually greater than the area under the head (beginning, left portion of the curve), which means the long tail ends up bringing in the majority of search traffic.  So how can we tap into the long tail of search?  Yep, thicken up your site.

How can I thicken up my site?

Traffic from the long tail is actually a natural result of having many unique, content rich pages on your site.  For this reason companies will offer SEO copywriting services.  A few ideas to get you going:

  • Build a forum, start a blog, become an information hub – and use a content management system while you’re at it because a publishing platform will greatly increase your efficiency in getting your content on the web.  Your goal will be to host the online discussion that naturally builds content (more tickets in the search lottery).
  • What are you competitors doing?  Try taking other top ranking sites in your keyword space and learn from their success and later try adding additional value they are not.
  • Stay away from building lots of content on other, third party sites.  Facebook, for example, is a very popular website and lets you upload and host lots of pictures and information about your business – which is good – but the more time you spend and real estate you build outside your own website the more you create an ROI for someone else vs yourself.  Remember images bring in search traffic too!  So a better strategy might be to put of a handful of pictures on Facebook and keep the majority for your own site.

Some will argue that good internal linking, spider friendly architecture, proper page titles, inbound links etc. are also key factors for tapping into the long tail of search… for now we’ll just stick to content for simplicity and since that is what you need before you have the rest.

Only thinking in terms of number one rankings is not enough

The long tail of search is where most new searches come from, even Google admits, so a single number one ranking isn’t going to send traffic from the long tail – only a site with many different pages ranking for a spectrum of keywords will have the ability to tap into long tail traffic.  And some are reporting the average number of keywords in search queries is slowly rising.

Checking your progress

How can you check your site-thickening progress?

  • Run a Google site: command against your site which will return the total number of pages indexed by Google for your site.  For example, type:  "site:mydomain.com", without the quotations and without any spaces.  If this number increases over time then you’re on the right track.
  • Try looking at your analytics once in a while.  Over time, do you have a growing list of keywords people use to find your website?
  • SEM Rush and compete.com have some simple, free tools to check keywords that people use to find your site.  If your website doesn’t return much then you have some work to do.
  • Are you actually generating more leads?

Comments

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Muazzam Mehmood • 8 years ago

Long tail keyword, mean you are putting more things available to search and giving a flexibility to searchers to searching in anyways for their needs. I appreciate the expanded ideas from bestbank.

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Sandra • 8 years ago

what a great idea for seo, I will try to implement it in mine. thanks.

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Ed • 8 years ago

I've heard about long tails and it's good to get loads of traffic. But traffic for the sake of it is meaningless until it can be converted into either additional income or leads. In any case, this is a great article! Cheers, Ed

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Mike Shannon • 8 years ago

Hi Ed, have a look at our post here on lowering bounce rates which will give you some ideas on getting a second click.  As far as converting traffic, that'll depend on your business model, but lower bounce rates can be a good start in general.

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