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Why Search Marketers Are Grabbing the Long Tail

January 5, 2012

Many marketers approach SEO by targeting the keywords in their industries with the largest monthly search volumes, but they often neglect the "long-tail" or low volume keywords, which when combined with multiple keywords can total, or exceed, the volume of the one desirable search term, according to a study by Conductor

For example, search volumes for multiple keywords in the auto insurance industry total that of the hyper-competitive "auto insurance" query, as shown in the table below:

Focusing on multiple, less competitive search terms can generate as many visits as a single, more competitive head (short-tail) term. 

In addition, Conductor's findings support the two-pronged SEO strategy of capturing low-hanging fruit by optimizing long-tail terms, while using a long-term strategy of gradually moving up the search rankings for higher volume, more competitive head terms.

Below, other findings from Conductor's study, titled "The Long Tail of Search: Why the Fastest Path to More Traffic Might Not Be Where You are Looking."

On-Page Optimization and the Long Tail

On-page optimization, the practice of optimizing on-page elements to emphasize the keyword for which a brand wants to rank, is central to moving keywords up search rankings, Conductor points out.

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  • by Harry Hallman Fri Jan 6, 2012 via web

    Good information. When we conduct contextual (ppc) campaigns we use the long tail keywords because they allow you to target better and are less expensive. It makes sense that you would use them in general SEO work as well.

    I also subscribe to the concept that being the first Ad on the page or even being on the first page of search results is not necessary worth the additional costs. This idea works well for non Commoditized products/services that are costly, such as many business to business products/services. People buying these services tend to spend more time searching for suppliers.

    Thanks for sharing.

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