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Understanding Keyword Research And The SEO Long Tail Of Keywords

Jun 6, 2008
A core SEO principle involves understanding the SEO long tail of keywords and how to leverage its potential with your on page and off page strategy. When a search engine optimization specialist masters long tail keyword research he (or she) is enabling the website's ability to maximize search engine ranking potential. A long tail keyword strategy can be applied to both natural (organic) search rankings and pay per click (PPC) advertising.

With long tail strategy the SEO specialist understands that even though the majority of searches are typically centered on a one, two or three word keyword search phrase that there is an extensive amount of value in the total combined search volumes of four and five keyword targeted phrases. Why would your strategy focus around long tail keywords?

Keyword Strategy and the Long Tail:

If you knew the majority of searches where not occurring among four-word for five-word keyword phrases, then why target them? There are several reasons why this strategy might be adventurous, mainly because the barriers of ranking naturally for shorter keyword phrases are too high. This might be because the sites currently ranking well for the shorter keyword phrase are older (more established), have a significantly larger website, or have more links pointing to their site, some of which use the targeted keyword phrase as anchor text.

Understanding that you may not rank for certain high traffic two or three keyword phrases the SEO professional must think more creativity. The SEO professional must look to find "deeper," or long tail keywords. Typically the search volumes are much lower for long tail keywords, so it becomes a strategy of volume. If planned correctly ranking for the sum of long tail keywords will have a greater value than just ranking for one or two high traffic keywords.

Applying the Long Tail to Natural Search Keywords:

Keyword research uncovers the ability to find keyword phrases that might not appear obvious, but have search volumes significant enough for the SEO professional to target. It is important to remember that different stemming words and plurals can help create a vast combination of unique targeted keyword phrases. The additional for a descriptive adjective or geography can further help distinguish a SEO long tail keyword from a root keyword phrase.

Ranking for search engine optimization is more difficult than when geography is added into the mix. In the example of an SEO agency in Atlanta, GA the root keyword phrase search engine optimization is highly desirable, but not necessarily achievable. In this example the agency might want to target a long tail phrase such as:

- Atlanta SEO agency
- Search engine optimization in Atlanta, GA
- Georgia search engine optimization

Applying the Long Tail to Pay Per Click Keywords:

Long tail keywords is a presents a great PPC opportunity. If you have the capacity and organizational ability to manage the complexity of the campaign you'll be rewarded with less competition and a dramatically lower cost per click (CPC) for your long tail keywords. If you feel your budget is inadequate for your PPC ad spend, looking to long tail keywords is a smart strategy to maximize you ability to reach the most amount of potential online consumers with your budget.

The more a SEO specialist can understand about the consumer, the better he is able to design content and online campaigns that will target and appeal to the consumer performing a search. Each keyword phrase is different and recognizing the connections between on page and off page strategy can help the SEO professional provide maximum value to the website's ability to communicate its message to the online community.
About the Author
Keith Hanks is an Atlanta SEO agency Account Manager. He has a passion for Georgia search engine optimization and Search engine optimization in Atlanta, GA.
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