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.