How Do We Search - Long Tailed Keywords

Written by Thomas Light on Tuesday, 01 October 2013. Posted in SEO

How Do We Search - Long Tailed Keywords

It’s been an action packed September in the SEO World with the biggest news of all the keyword ‘not provided’ becoming 100% for many industries.

Why has that got us so worried?

It’s an industry shake up which has been on the rise over the past year, it means tracking keywords on your website will dramatically change and us as SEO’s in-house or agency will have to adapt.

Currently in my industry which is a bit of a niche (satellite broadband) I haven’t reached 100% (currently sitting pretty at 71%), but in saying that the keywords which are provided by Google Analytics are not the best indicator of my traffic anyway.

After attending the Brighton SEO conference at the start of September there were a lot of talks relating to how we currently search (or think we should be searching) and how we will search. Current trends show that short-tailed keywords are getting large search volumes, but in this highly competitive market it also means these keywords are generic and unless you’re ranking highly or you have a large PPC budget you may not see any results.

3 teir wedding cake designsSo what will the future of search be?

We are seeing the rise of the tech savvy human, those who know what they want and what to search for to get the exact product or service. The highly competitive keywords with high search volumes are being replaced increasingly by long-tailed search.

For those just starting out, longtailed keywords and phrases contain more search terms and are generally more specific. An example of this ‘Wedding Cakes’ where the long tailed equivalent could be ‘3 tier sponge wedding cake designs’. The long tailed phrase is more specific and although does not return such high search results the traffic is of higher quality and results in a higher conversion. (well done to Waitrose for being the top result)

So who is using these long tailed phrases nowadays?

We all are in some ways. Search has become a savvy place where we know what we want. If we don’t we’re do an initial search and then go towards the specifics. When looking for holidays being generic is no longer good enough, as we know that a ‘heated swimming pool’ or ‘walking distance to the beach’ is required, so filtering for these terms can only bring up the results we are looking for. Knowing your industry is a key for long tailed marketing to be effective, as well as offering the end product that the customer is looking for.

How is this going to affect your industry?

For SME’s (as we like to cater for you), I’ve found as well as a lot of other people I’ve talked to that we can match and beat the big spending competitors in the industry by playing smart and going after long tail results, the only investment you have to make is your time, for research and a possible content re-write.

Long tail is not going to be a short term activity boost. In fact long tail keywords will only count towards a small amount of your monthly visitor totals. But in the long run and in terms of maximising your ROI you may be surprised at how well long tailed key terms can do for you. For a further look at keyword targeting, take a look at our blog for SME's where you'll find a practical look at keyword targeting

Here are some tips to track your keyword ranks for SME’s

  1. Keep it simple. Not everything has to be digital, if you get a call from a customer ask them where they found your website, if they found it online ask them how and track this data. At my current position I’ve become an expert at guessing what keywords the customer typed in simply from what they are asking about.
  2. Use programs such as Traffic Travis to track your long tail keyword search rankings on a weekly basis.
  3. Using the same or similar tools track your competitors, it’s always good to keep up to date with what the competition are doing, especially if it is a niche industry.
  4. Stay ahead of the competition by never stopping your SEO activities. It’s a long process and an ongoing one. If you don’t see the results you wanted after the first 3 months, you have to keep going and make changes to the process not the overall objective.

About the Author

Thomas Light

Thomas Light

googleplus Thomas Light

One of the three co-founders of Marketing My Journey. I love digital marketing! Enthusiastic about online branding for SME's to create a voice, personality and presents to a wider community. Contact me for more information. 

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