Understanding and optimizing for long tail keywords is a great way to sidestep competition and make it to the top of a search engine results page (SERP). “Don’t be greedy” is a good motto for developing online traffic. Start small, grow organically, and keep your sights on achievable targets (the group of deer that are chilling out 100 feet away from you, not all of the deer in the world).
How Long Tail Keywords Work
The essence of long tail keywords is simple – though it is difficult to get to the top for magnets, it is less difficult to get to the top for refrigerator magnets, and even less difficult to optimize for animal refrigerator magnets. Researching for these more complex terms is crucial to optimization, but first you have to change your mind-set about the target demographic you are trying to reach with each page of your site. You have to be happy not trying to get every magnet shopper, at least not with a single page.
Relationship to Niche Marketing
As you may notice, long tail keywords are cut out of the same cloth as niche marketing. Think specifically about competing for books. If your site only sells pop-up books, you can go after Amazon traffic much more successfully than if you, like them, sell every type of book out there. (Or, even more specifically, you could sell pop-up books that teach precocious toddlers how to do their own laundry.)
Building a Larger Audience
Rather than trying to draw 50,000 people to one page, create 5000 pages that each draw 10 people. Now you have 50,000 people. In this process, so long as your content is on the same basic subject, you will start to flow to the top of search results because of the related keywords that are spread throughout your site. Focusing on one topic, but solving specific problems – addressing very specific issues to a specific audience – also makes it more likely that you will get a bunch of backlinks.
You can use any keyword analysis tool, such as AdWords (the research is free). Look at Global Monthly Searches for a word or phrase you might want to optimize for. Google will automatically generate stats on a bunch of related options. Don’t pay any attention to the “competition” figures unless you are planning on advertising, which is optional for using their system.
If you are starting small, go for one that has been searched around 1000 times per month. (If you are larger, focus on ones that have been searched 10 billion times… I mean 15 billion.) Be sure to use the functionalities along the left-hand side of AdWords as well – all this stuff is helpful.
Long tail keywords can refine your ability to get traffic by focusing on a small number of people searching for very specific things. It takes more effort to create 5000 pages, but this is how a little guy can make it in the big world of the Internet.