What Does Long Tail Mean In SEO?


When you first start out doing search engine optimization you should pick a few factors and focus on them. In the beginning this is enough. But as you develop your skills you’ll learn that a lot goes into getting a site to the top of Google. After all, it’s a well known fact that Google’s algorithm takes over two hundred factors into account when deciding a site’s position on it’s search results page. One tool that has a lot of potential if properly used is the long tail keyword.

The term “long tail” comes from a chart depicting searches and their competitive value. Simple keywords are more competitive. Think of keywords like “car,” which covers such a wide range that it’s one of the most popular keywords available. As more words get added to the keyword they become less competitive because less people do those sorts of searches. As “car” becomes “used car” and “used red car” and finally “used red car review sites 2013” competitiveness drops out forming a shape described as a tail. Near the front is the thick tail, filled with the most competitive searches while the long tail represents the more complicated keywords that aren’t searched as much.

SEO has become an incredibly competitive field. It’s harder than ever to stand out when it comes to the most competitive keywords out there. One solution to this problem is the long tail strategy. Most long-tail keywords aren’t highly sought after and so it’s easier to get to the front page using them. If the thick tail terms are all used up it’s time to turn to the long tail for alternatives.

The key to this strategy is volume. These keywords are less competitive for a reason, because they are less profitable. You might need to reach number one for dozens or even a hundred long tail keywords to make the kind of money you would with a thick tail keyword. The best way to start is going through your analytics and finding out what people are searching for when they get to your site. You’ll probably find some long tails that you can start optimizing for. From there it’s just a matter of digging as deep as you can into your other keywords so that you find as many relevant long tails as possible.

Another factor to note is the sort of keywords that are in fact “long tail.” A lot of these keywords are conversational. Many people talk to search engines like they would another person. They ask questions in full sentences. This produces relatively unique keywords that don’t get much traffic but are still viable. This is especially true now that more people are using vocal commands to perform searches. As such long term keywords may be the key to directing Siri users to your website.

The SEO professionals world moves fast. This means that hot topics can be forgotten quickly as the crowd moves quickly on. There’s this assumption that the newest techniques are the best. The truth is that the best strategies combine both the old and new. By now many have forgotten about the importance of long tail keywords. This is a shame, but it does create an opportunity for all those who rediscover this tool for themselves and take full advantage of the untapped potential just waiting to be unleashed.


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