The Traffic Power of Long Tail Search Keywords

So, how can your web site or blog compete with major competitor search listings on the first page of search results? By using the traffic building power of many long tail search keywords.

Natural search keywords fall into two groups, broad keywords and niche long tail keywords. A broad keyword is a one or two word phrase that people enter into a search engine, such as “cars”. A broad keyword will produce millions of search results and many of the search listings on the first page of search results will be the major, established competitors. Major competitors who rank on the first page of search listings may get a huge volume of visitors to that one broad keyword focused web page. Many smaller competitors for the search phrase “cars”, will end up on the fifth page of search results or worse. If your web page doesn’t show on the first page of search results, it might as well be invisible.

Long Tail Search Keywords
A long tail keyword is a search phrase with several words that represents a very specific search, such as “red convertible sports car”. Now imagine that you build many web pages for all the variations of of this search phrase, such “blue convertible sports car”, and many others.
Consider that there are fewer competitors for the long tail search phrases, which makes it easier for your web site to rank first for all the long tail keyword phrases that you target. The long tail keyword strategy states that you can get more web traffic by ranking for hundreds of long tail keyword searches that attract only a few visitors each, than by ranking for one broad keyword phrase like “cars”.

Long tail search phrases are more targeted and are used differently than broad keywords. Broad keywords are often used by a searcher that is still in the beginning stages of the buying cycle. The beginning of the buying cycle is where searchers use broad keyword phrases to learn more about the category. Long tail keyword phrases are used as searchers move from research mode to purchase mode in the buying cycle. Long tail keyword phrases are more likely to produce higher conversions than broad keyword search phrases.

Why would any one target many long tail keyword phrases that only produce a few visitors each month? In a graph of the high traffic from a few broad keywords versus the smaller traffic from many long keyword phrases, the total traffic from the many keyword phrases will tend to be larger than the traffic from a few broad keyword phrases. The term Long Tail usually describes the retail strategy of selling a large number of unique items with relatively small quantities sold of each. This retail concept of Long Tail was popularized in an October 2004 Wired magazine article, by writer Chris Anderson, in which he mentioned examples of businesses using this strategy such as Amazon.com and NetFlix.

This concept can also be applied to traffic from natural searches for longer keyword search phrases. The more pages your build for long tail keyword phrases, the lower the competition and the greater your chance for ranking on the first page of search engine result listings. The payoff is many pages that attract more search traffic than a single web page that ranks first for one high traffic search keyword.

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