Short vs. Long Tail Keywords
There’s a correlation between search phrases, search volume and conversion rates that anyone interested in dominating their local market should understand. The graph below illustrates this relationship between short tail (highly searched, low converting) keywords and long tail (low searched, high converting) keywords.
The balance that needs to be implemented in any search engine marketing plan is that of quality AND quantity. Dominating an online market involves a strategy of achieving top search engine placement for all relevant search terms and driving lots of targeted visitors who will ultimately convert into quality leads. So how do we accomplish this?
The Problem With Targeting Short Tail Keywords
The search phrase “Real Estate” is entered into Google 45,500,000 times/month and is highly competitive. For an example let’s think about this from the perspective of a someone looking to dominate the Seattle Washington market. Only a fraction of those 45,500,000 searches for “Real Estate” would find a Seattle real estate related website useful.
Would a Seattle website ranking at the top of this search term generate leads? Sure! But with such a general “Real Estate” term some of these leads may be looking at Seattle, Denver, Miami or other cities. The extra effort targeting such a generic search term would have been better used targeting other highly search Seattle related terms.
The Problem With Targeting Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords by definition are very specific search phrases with low competition. An example of a long tail keyword is “Queen Anne 2 Bedroom Home For Sale” (Note: Queen Anne is a popular view neighborhood in Seattle, WA) and ranking well for this phrase is relatively easy.
Unfortunately, taking a quick glance at the search volume for “Queen Anne 2 Bedroom Home For Sale” using the Google Keyword Tool there is “Not Enough Data” to report the search volume meaning this phrase is hardly searched. Despite the fact that very specific search phrases enjoy higher conversion rates into leads, even #1 ranking for this term will generate little business. So, how do we capture many of these long tails and optimize and rank for high volume related search phrases?
Finding The Balance – Quality AND Quantity
Initially keyword research and then a long-term strategy, balancing what will produce the quantity and quality of search results, are invaluable in dominating a local market. Accomplishing this takes a two-fold approach.
1. BUILD AUTHORITY FOR THE MID TAIL:
First this involves selecting a ‘mid tail’ keyword phrase, something that is highly search and relevant to the website. Based on these factors for the Seattle market the keyword phrase “Seattle Real Estate” fits wells with 8,100 searches/month, enough volume to support lots of lead generation if ranked well and the visitors will be specific enough that they will convert at a decent percentage. Optimize the main page of the website for this keyword phrase by building links and Google authority.
(Disclosure: Working The Magic manages the #1 ranked website for “Seattle Real Estate” in Google with 10,000 visitors/month that converts roughly 5% of all visitors into leads)
2. CREATE CONTENT FOR THE LONG TAIL:
Once authority is built into the website, the second part of balancing quality and quantity is to then generate content for the long tail. This involves blogging, neighborhood and community information and additional commentary on the website. Using the long tail example from above it would make sense to add content to a Seattle website about Queen Anne 2 bedroom homes that would likely rank well for that search term. The additional content will add relevancy to the website as a whole and those pages will show up in results for all types of long tail keywords.
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