November 22, 2010

Keyword research is a science in itself. You cannot be involved in internet marketing without a basic knowledge of keyword research. Because the keywords you use in your campaigns, articles, and ads will make or break your internet marketing business.

Very often marketers ignore “long-tail” keywords. These are keywords that are 3-4 words long and are more specific than general keywords.

For example, a “short-tail” keyword is “weight loss”.  This is a very general keyword that will generate a lot of traffic.  However, it is an extremely competitive keyword not only for pay-per-click but for search engine optimization

However, a good long-tail keyword is “how to lose weight with p90x”.  p90x is a specific weight loss program that is popular right now. This keyword would get very little searches, but the traffic the keyword would get is very targeted.

You would probably think that since the long-tail keyword doesn’t get a lot of traffic, that you shouldn’t focus on these keywords.  However, you would be mistaken as these long-tail keywords would convert higher than the short-tail version.

For example, someone just searching for weight loss could be researching weight loss programs or trying to find some articles about weight loss. We do not really know the psychology of the person coming to our site through that keyword…whether or not they are ready to buy or are just “tire-kickers” who are just looking for free information.

However, with the long-tail keyword, “How to lose weight with p90x”, it is a more specific query. They already have a weight loss program in mind and, matched with a landing page that offers p90x-related products, conversions would be higher.

Further, this keyword is easier to optimize for in the search engines. Competiition isn’t as keen as it is for “weight loss”. So you have the added benefit of getting indexed for that keyword and getting traffic as a result.

So don’t ignore long-tail keywords in your marketing just because they do not get a lot of traffic.  Since the search term is more specific, you will get higher conversions.  And if you use enough long-tail keywords it will more than make up for not being about to rank for a high-traffic/high-competitive keyword such as “weight loss”.

Keep Selling!


Sean McPheat

Internet Marketing Academy

One thought on “Keyword Research: Don’t Ignore Long-Tail Keywords

  1. This is a great post

    I think web designers like to think about the long tail in keyword research but don’t really know what to do with them

    A new concept of web design is called multiplicity and this means when you have identifiied the tong tail keywords, you make a specific landing page that is optimised for that keyword phrase

    This means your website will have lots of landing pages – which is good because it allows visitors lots of entry points to your website based upon the ACTUAL search term they are using which is relevant to the specific need they are looking to satisfy – and search engines love pages that are specific to single topic

    One good way to identify long tail searches is to think about the awareness ladder – a method which describes the different stages of the buying cycle for absolutely any product that is sold.

    From a person having no need to satisfy, to having a need but don’t the options to satisfying it. All the way up to knowing you can solve their need but just need some persuasion to why you are the best solution (this then comes down to your copywriting)

    As with all marketing it is usually the upfront research that is overlooked – there is no strategy. Just getting on the web, or getting and SEO company to build links is not a long term strategy, these are just short term tactics. And whilst they may get a few more sales short term they will not grow your business long term

    Spending time looking at niches within the market and exploring what your business offerings mean to different people (because your same product or service means different things to different peoples needs), and then using the stages of the awareness ladder.

    You can generate a huge matrix of key target areas and phrases of what people are actaully looking for

    The mistake most people make on the web is they come up with an offering and then try to market it along with other things – the messages just get lost. Thats if any real marketing is done at all!

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