Digital/Online Marketing Communications Strategy

Maximize Your SEO: Grab It By The Long Tail

If you’re hip to search engine optimization (SEO) then you know the importance keywords play in the process.

You think about things like keyword density – a ratio representing total number of words on a page divided by the number of times a given keyword (a word or phrase someone types into a search box) appears on that same page.

You want to strike a balance between strategically including keywords enough times that search engines see your page as relevant to the term you want to rank for, while keeping in mind the content needs to be useful and enjoyable to the reader.

Along with website text, it’s important to include keywords in page titles, navigational links, meta tags, meta description tags and ALT image tags.

This is basic SEO.

Length of the average search query is getting longer

One thing even those who know SEO can fail to take into account is the need to incorporate terms of three, four or even eight words. Then you’re really capitalizing on how people search online.

A survey by Hitwise shows there’s a nice amount action to be had with longer keyword phrases.

Longer queries bring more targeted results

Based on my own experience this is surely so. I use longer search queries because they tend to bring up more relevant results. This makes sense, of course – I’m giving the search engine more specific details about what I’m looking for.

Also, if I look at the statistics for this blog, The Communications Strategist, I see a fair amount of traffic comes from queries of between four and six words.

Bottom line: If you want to maximize SEO take advantage of the multiple keyword factor.

This is what’s known as catching the long tail — meaning you’re going for precise phrases, sometimes referred to as problem/solution specific keywords, that individually make up a small volume of search activity, yet when added together generate a sizable chunk of web traffic.

For example, if someone is interested in business financing, a short tail search term could be “business loan” while on the long tail there’s something like, “how to get a small business loan with bad credit.” It’s a more targeted type of search.

One size does not fit all

Then too, you need to take into account where your audience is located. Apparently, Americans are wordier with search terms than people in Canada or the U.K. Take a look at this chart, also from Hitwise:

So fine-tune your keyword strategy to suit your target audience. Keep in mind global differences. With certain locales on this good earth the more particular the better, while for other places less is more.

– Deni Kasrel

What do YOU think? Do your online search habits reinforce the research cited in this post? Have you used longer keywords as part of an SEO program? Please share your stories. Comments welcome.


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About the Author

About the Author: Deni Kasrel is seasoned (slightly spicy) specialist in digital/online communications. .


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There Are 4 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Danny Brown says:

    Great advice, Deni. So many people just look at the generic keyword and type it in, and don’t take into consideration the organic and long-tail approach. A person’s more likely to type in “dentists in Toronto” than “dentists” when it comes to Google; better make sure you have that covered.

    • Deni Kasrel says:

      You bring up a good point: local search is another aspect of long tailing. One that will merit a post of its own in the future.

  2. klcesarz says:

    Interesting thought Deni. I often will try multiple searches with the longer keyword searches at the beginning . . . because I am looking for the targeted results. I know that shorter keyword combinations supply volume – that I don’t exactly need. Thanks for the idea.

  3. Brilliant. I will start to include multiple-keyword phrases. Thank you.

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