How to boost traffic to your site using Long tail SEO

If you do business online then you need a long tail SEO strategy in place otherwise you’re letting money slip through your fingers.

The power of long tail SEO is two fold, it’s easier to rank well for it and it converts much better than the head of the demand curve for online search.

What is the long tail SEO?

The demand curve for online search:

It’s really simple the long tail represents around 70% of all searches online. They are generally low volume and low competition. It sounds counter intuitive at first but 15% of searches are unique, when you think about the idiosyncrasies of individual humans and the number of possible combinations of words possible it all begins to make much more sense.

So from the example above the keyword CRM is high volume with a ton of monthly searches making it a high competition search term and therefore difficult to rank for. This represents the head of the search demand curve above.

The keywords CRM for small business accountants that integrates into Xero on the other hand has fewer monthly searches but the competition for it is less so it’s easier to rank highly for it.

Think of your website as having two audiences, your actual site visitors who are real people and Google. Long tail SEO is geared towards Google which scans your website and decides how relevant it is and then that translates into a high ranking which is awesome as it’ll drive more actual traffic to your site or you’ll disappear into the search results pages almost no one ever goes to.

But why rank for long tail keywords?

Surely you want to rank highly for the keyword “CRM”, it has more monthly searches so it’s better right? This is true up to a point but in addition to being much more difficult to rank highly for it, there is less buyer intent there making it harder to convert the traffic from it.

Compare it to “CRM for small business accountants that integrates into Xero” — Google returns 400 times less webpages for it, there’s a lot less competition. Plus if you rank well for that and you are a CRM that does just that then the person entering that very specific search query is highly likely to convert into a customer. This is because you are relevant to them, that’s the power of the long tail.

To put it plainly let’s say you were a mechanic. Being on the first page of Google for the search term “Mechanic” would be great except that you’re limited by geography to Detroit, so its better to rank highly for “A mechanic in Detroit”. This is what long tail SEO is all about, focus and bringing in high quality visitors to your site who are more likely to convert.

A couple of long tail SEO strategies

We’re going to discuss two possible strategies to take advantage of the long tail of the search demand curve, a small scale focussed approach and a large scale less focussed approach.

The underlying principle of both is making sure the content you produce is for keywords that have intent. We’ll assume the intent is about purchasing your product or service.

The scalpel strategy

The scalpel strategy involves going after a small number of search terms that are highly specific and serve the visitor intent. You build high quality landing pages that are specifically optimised for these search terms.

The benefit of this strategy is that conversion is likely and the competition is very low. The search volume is not high but its highly qualified — for example that person is actively looking for a CRM and has a specific role and job function as well as problems they face that they need to solve, your landing page is specifically designed to deal with all of that. You’re matching the perfect sales pitch to the perfect prospect.

But remember we’re not just producing content for real people but Google as well so make sure the content on the page is unique especially if you’re making multiple pages targetting different job roles and functions. Here is a great video from Google describing what thin content looks like that they will penalise you for.

The broad sword strategy

The broad sword strategy involves a less targeted approach. The content you produce covers a wider range of potentially relevant keywords. We’re trying to cover multiple long tail keywords.

In our case that’s where our blog comes into play. Our content marketing strategy is to provide small business tips — the goal is to produce valuable and engaging content that attracts small businesses who are the majority of our customers. We target a group of long tail keywords around that topic, for example How we grew our conversion rate by redesigning our website.

The purpose of this strategy is less focussed on conversion and more on widening the top of the funnel, getting more eyeballs on your site and therefore potentially your product(s). It’s about creating expertise in a specific area that Google recognises and therefore ranking highly for corollary search terms.

How to find long tail keywords?

There’s no reason not to even combine the above two approaches, having a few really targeted pages and then a general broad sword strategy but first you have to think about what niche it is where you sit and the long tail keywords which are most relevant to you.

Once you’ve done that then you can think about implementing the relevant strategies. So the next logical question to ask is how do I find long tail keywords?

First think about your product or service and then come up with corresponding seed keywords. Seed keywords are the original phrases from which you will develop your long tail keywords.

For example, the seed keyword below is “dumbbells” and then it is modified to create new variations such as “dumbbell set”

Once you have your seed keyword(s) then you need to come up with relevant variations to begin to curate a list of potential long tail keywords to target.

In order to do just that you’ll need to use a keyword research tool such as Google Keyword Planner. Alternatively, you can use

Then simply enter your seed word and then from the list of variations you get filter out the junk, these can be search phrases for third party rivals, stuff that is totally irrelevant such as search phrases with the word free in it if your product is not free, and any generic phrases.

You want to get specific phrases that are relevant to you and easier to rank for. So for those keywords which have a high monthly search volume, it’s best to filter them out as well.

Now that you have a small list of long tail keywords you can begin to think about implementing the strategy that best suits your site around them and creating the relevant content.

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