- March 18, 2009
The beautiful thing about “The Long Tail” theory* is the randomness of the keywords that somebody, somewhere actually typed into a search engine.
For example, within the past year people have reached my website after searching for the following (seemingly) random keyword phrases:
- “when somebody have a lot of negative what should they do”
- “want to know about how will marketing working in the future”
- “industry standard methodologies and tools for collecting, calculating and reporting on service level metrics”
- “compare video conferencing, databases, intranet, extranet, spreadsheet”
- “book series on how to build and survive without electricity”
Strange, right? To the person searching for them, however, these aren’t random searches. They represent a specific need or intent.
In each of these cases, Google decided my site was relevant for their query. These may not represent keywords that I set out to optimize for, but in aggregate keyword phrases of 3+ words supply a significant portion of most website’s organic search traffic.
*The long tail theory states that a small subset of keywords receive huge amounts of search volume while millions more are searched less frequently individually but account for more search volume in aggregate.
Look Beyond the Head
Most people focus on the “Head” terms that drive the most traffic. These are the most prominent and typically the easiest to comprehend, and the first to draw questions from your client, boss, or sales team about why you aren’t ranking well for those keywords.
Diving into the Long Tail of your keyword list can yield valuable information about how people are finding your site. Chances are it’s through keywords you might never have considered. Think about adding some variations of these keywords to your Paid Search Marketing campaigns or list of targeted keyword phrases for SEO and watch your site traffic increase in places you never would have expected.
Find Your Long Tail Keywords
Log in to your website analytics suite. You are running analytics, right? Find the report that tells you which organic search keywords sent traffic to your site over a given time period (6 months to 1 year should provide enough data).
In Google Analytics, that report is found here:
Filter out the “Paid” keywords so that your paid search campaigns don’t skew the data. Next, sort the remaining organic search keywords by visits in ascending order so that the keywords that only sent 1 visit are at the top:
Scroll down and look for interesting keywords from your long tail. What do you see? Leave a comment if you think you can top “industry standard methodologies and tools for collecting, calculating and reporting on service level metrics”.