In our recent article on hyperlocal web sites, we talked about how to attract users with very specific interests to your blog or web site. Taking that one step farther, let’s take a look at long tail search (keywords) and how they can knock the ball out of the park when it comes to driving traffic to your site. Here are the basics and how to apply them.
- Long tail search defined
- Developing the long tail
- How to write keyword titles
- Using keywords in your articles
- Why long tails are important
Not familiar with the long tail concept? It has two closely related components: long tail searches and long tail keywords. The long tail search refers to an enormous number of keywords that generate lower but consistent traffic volume to your web site. They are often much less competitive in terms of search engine optimization (SEO) than the more popular keywords.
Visualize a graph that shows the frequency of keywords on the vertical axis and the keywords in order from the most frequently used to the least frequently used on the horizontal axis. You would see a very high, narrow peak for the common terms and a really long “tail” of numerous keywords that individually have very few hits. But when you add them all together, the searches on these “long tail” terms can be a huge number.
Long tail keywords are very precise variations of the major keywords you’re already using. They have less competition in most search engines and they are designed to be more relevant to what your potential client is searching for. Plus, you have a greater chance of ending up on page 1 of search results.
Still feeling a little confused? Here’s another angle on the concept. Realtor is a keyword. Every real estate agent would like to show up on page 1 of google’s search results for this keyword. Searching “Realtor in Orlando Florida” is a long tail search that will give you a better chance of ranking on page 1 of google’s search results. Searching “Realtor in Hunter’s Creek Orlando Florida” is a long tail search that any Realtor that wants to list and sell homes in the Hunter’s Creek Community could rank not only on page 1, but with a little work, in the top three results. Although there are less people searching for “Realtor in Hunter’s Creek Orlando Florida” you will receive more visitors from this search being on page 1 of the search results than from being on page 50 of searching “Realtor”.
Let’s get specific about how to incorporate long tail searches into your strategy.
Developing the long tail
You should be using long tail searches to pull in traffic from people who are looking for hyperlocal content or any information that is specific to their interests and geographic focus. Whether your specialty is single family, investment property, short sales, or land, especially if you’re in a niche where online competition is intense, you want to use long tail keywords so you can get more targeted search traffic and realize better results.
What are some good example of long tails that could draw in traffic?
|Original Keyword||Long tail keyword|
|Oakville schools||Best Oakville elementary schools|
|Colorado real estate||Real estate Colorado Denver homes|
|Short sales||Short Sales Oakville single family for sale|
|Portland crime statistics||Residential burglaries Portland 2011|
Why does this work? Long tail keywords like the examples above will have significantly lower search volume than the originals, but they are much easier to rank on search engines because they are so tightly targeted.
Now that you’ve got the basic idea, how do you incorporate this concept into your blog articles? For starters we recommend that you utilize only one keyword at a time. You need to put it in your title, of course, and use it again in the body of your article.
How to Write Keyword Titles
Using some of the examples above, here’s how to create titles and incorporate long tail keywords into your articles. If your keyword is, “best Oakville elementary schools,” your title could be:
Oakville Elementary Schools: TheTop Five
Or perhaps even better:
Your Kids in Oakville Schools: Five of the Best
Another example: if your keyword is, “Oakville short sales under $200,000” your title could be:
Finding an Oakville Short Sale for $200,000 or Less
Using keywords in your articles
Now you know how to get started. But don’t stop with the title. You also need to include the same keyword once or twice in the body of the article. If your article is under 500 words, you should include the keyword just once. If you can, put it in the first paragraph, or as close to the beginning as you can. If you have a longer article and you’re including the keyword twice, make the second time somewhere towards the middle of the article, just for the sake of balance.
Of course you can add related keywords elsewhere throughout the article. For example, using the keyword, “best Oakville elementary schools,” a related keyword might be, “elementary schools in Oakville,” or something similar. Realistically, if your article is about the keyword that’s in your title, you’ll probably have variations of those words in there somewhere anyway, without even trying.
Don’t twist yourself into a pretzel trying to incorporate keywords. It’s more important to have your article flow smoothly and sound natural. Your keyword strategy should never be blatantly noticeable to the reader or appear as if you’re forcing the keywords in an artificial way.
Why long tails are important
Long tail key searches may drive a low volume of traffic but it’s the combined traffic of all the searches that really matters.
Also, visitors who arrive at your site from long tail keyword search tend to be better leads because they are looking for something very specific. Over time you’ll get more page views with lots of keyword-rich content. Lots of pages + specific keywords = more views by better prospects. The bottom line? Don’t write articles to get to the top of Google rankings. Write them for traffic.