The Long Tail and Maximizing Search Engine Strategy

How the Long Tail Applies to Maximizing Search Engine Strategy

Chances are a very highly trafficked keyword may be virtually impossible to rank on. Search engine marketers and their clients can die a lonely death of spending years trying to rank on that narrow hit term and maybe succeed one day. Yet, they awake the next day to find that the search engines changed their algorithm and in true Sysphus fashion, they fall to the bottom of the hill of search results only to push their rock to the top again.

Yet, if they take their fixation off this one perceived “ideal phrase” and instead focus on longer keyword phrases, the Long Tail goes to work in their favor for maximizing their search engine strategy.

Remember, most of their competitors are focused on these narrow keyword phrases as well.

Incumbents are hard to unseat, especially if they have been around awhile and have tons of links from reputable sites. As Wayne Gretzky once said, “Skate to where the puck is going, not to where it has been”.

But we now know that 70% of search traffic around our niche will be on these multiple search queries and as a result, we have a much better chance to rank on these longer phrased queries. When added up, the volume of traffic these could send to our website can easily outpace that of a highly competitive term. The Long Tail’s distribution works in their favor now.

The caveat?

Creating all this content and optimizing it for search engines takes a lot of work and a bit of technical expertise. An entire niche of digital marketing has sprung up in this area called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Why a User Persona helps with Maximizing Search Strategy

Our user persona helps us brainstorm relevant keyword phrases that in turn we can plug into our web page to give us the best chance to rank for that phrase. It can incredibly difficult to come up with unique Long Tail keyword phrases without having the empathy of your ideal user.

However, when a solid user persona is flushed out, the emotional triggers are hypothesized. They might be wrong but if we have done a good job of interviewing our users and cross-referencing this with their Social Technographics, we have a good starting point. As we’ll see later, we will track the performance of our content online and measure its engagement. Over time, we will get better and better at producing relevant material with a real-time feedback loop.

For now, we can set about brainstorming what our user persona is after when they search.

Hopefully, you now know that it is scientifically proven to be a waste of time to focus purely on the fat head of the Tail. The sucker punch is that it is way easier to brainstorm keyword phrases around the big hits in the head than it is to go after the Long Tail.

Let’s dig into how to get into finding keyword phrases for the Tail.