It’s a common misconception among bloggers that one should focus on ranking for about 10 or so keywords. To increase your chances of ranking higher, a better practice is to optimize your posts for long tail searches as well.
What is a long tail search?
The long tail search includes keywords or phrases that are associated with your niche market’s main keyword string. For example, a novelist wanting to optimize her site might come up with the following keywords:
It’s almost impossible to rank on such a broad list. The long tail comes into play when the site owner incorporates more targeted terms to her post’s keyword field. The following list is much more targeted, and with a little thought, could become even more so:
- Regency Romance Books
- Hard-boiled Private Eye Novels
- Historical Inspirational Fiction
Think of ways to expound on the above phrases. How about adding a geographic element to the search string or a date-range? Example: 18th Century American Historical Inspirational Fiction. That specificity just cut the competition from about 245,000,000 results to 17,500. Still a lot of sites, but much narrower. An interesting result showed up in third place with that last string: “Historical Fiction Set in Colonial America for Kids.” It’s an Amazon.com list someone created. And that list is another good example of a long tail search.
Why does this matter?
In addition to thinning out your search results competition, long tail searches are the best way to bring targeted traffic to your site. Take the above example from the Amazon.com list. When a searcher types in the phrase “for kids,” that will save them countless clicks in the long run. And that’s how most people think when they type a phrase into a search box — “How specific can I make this so I will find what I need quickly?”
A little parting tip
The keyword phrases you list in your keyword field should actually appear somewhere on your site. Yeah, I know that just sounds silly, but it’s true. You need to actually put them somewhere — either in a post, or tool, a press release, the about page — it doesn’t matter where. Oh, and yeah, you need to make it seem natural, too, not like you’re waving the SEO flag in your reader’s face. I snuck in the phrase “What is a long tail search?” near the beginning of this post, and since this post answers that question, I plan to use that in my keyword field. (This field is created when you install and activate the All-in-one SEO Pack Plugin.) Sneaky, but effective.
If you have any questions or comments on this topic, please use the comments section or create a new topic in the forums.
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Until next time . . .