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Sticking Your Neck Out for Long Tail Keywords

Aug 18, 2007
Search engine optimization is a part of any website's success. You can get traffic from a range of sources, but search engines provide some of the best. But many of the best phrases are highly competitive and nearly impossible to rank well for.

This is where the long tail keywords come in. These are the longer phrases that aren't typed in as often but are easier to rank for. Fewer sites compete for these because they are less valuable. Or are they?

What Are Long Tail Keywords?

The precise definition of long tail keyword can vary. Some say they are phrases 3 words or longer. I disagree with that because there are many phrases that take 3 words just to do a basic search on the topic. "Work at home" for example.

I would argue that the definition depends upon to topic. Sometimes the most common searches are just a word or two. When thinking about long tail, you are thinking about things that are rarely typed in, and make the search more specific.

Most users are not expert in the use of search engines. They may just type in a word or two and hope for the best, or they may type in an entire sentence or question. Others are better searchers and know how to add keywords to their searches for the best results. Many of these will generate the long tail keyword searches that are so valuable.

Picture a graph with search frequency going up and down, keywords going across. There will be a lot of keywords with a low search frequency, but just a few with a high search frequency.

What Is the Value of Long Tail Keywords?

Keep thinking about that graph. The more rarely searched keywords often provide more traffic than the more competitive ones. Individually the competitive keywords do well, but they may not compare to what you get on the long tail.

Long tail keywords not only tend to drive more traffic, the traffic they drive is generally more valuable. Long tail searches are often more specific, so if they match up to your pages, the searcher is more likely to be satisfied with what they find on your site.

So How Do You Figure Out Your Long Tail Keywords?

Spotting your best long tail keywords takes some doing. There are a few options.

The first is to take a look at the traffic you are already getting. Go into your website's statistics and see what keywords your site is already being found under. There should be some nice long phrases in there already. Take a look at where you are appearing in those searches.

As you discover these phrases, write pages that target them. It can be an article, a product page, a blog post, whatever suits your needs. If your site is already scoring well for these phrases, targeting a new page towards it can help to drive even more traffic. Make sure the pages are appropriately linked, and in time they should help you to get even more traffic.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://www.aspectsofhomebusiness.com/blog/ about running a home business. For more tips on getting search engine traffic , visit her site.
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