Going for the high volume keywords may seem like the strongest strategy. Money keywords = money business, right? Not always. It’s certainly not a bad thing to rank nationally for a search term that has a search volume of 10,000.
What is Search Volume? Search Volume is an approximate amount of times a specific keyword is searched on a monthly basis. For example, if a keyword has a search volume of 200-500, this means means that specific keyword was searched between 200 and 500 times. Yes, we have access to that kind of data.
The ultimate goal is to get more clicks and conversions on your website, of course. So, while ranking on the first page of results for high volume keywords is great, it might not be enough to close the loop on getting more clicks and conversions.
Enter the “Long-Tail keyword strategy”.
First, let’s look at what “long-tail” means. Long-tail means very specific, low competition “things”. This can mean hyper-niche books, or very specific search keywords that only apply to a few websites. The idea is that although low volume and low demand, there are a lot of these, thus making a “long tail” on a chart showing items and their popularity. The chart would look something like this:
One of the first, if not THE first instance of long-tail was documented in a 2004 issue of Wired Magazine. It explains how Amazon made just one adjustment to its marketing practices that launched a whole new way of thinking, and may very well be responsible for Amazon’s success today. Reading this article will give you everything you need to know about what “Long-Tail” truly means. If you’re in the marketing field, this is an absolute must-read. It’s a game-changer.
So how does this apply to SEO, and keyword strategy?
Let’s say you are an accountant in Baltimore, Maryland, and you want to increase your search engine visibility. Let’s look at the span of possibilities of related keywords for what you do, and check out the long-tail opportunities. Let’s say we want to track the following keywords:
- accounting firms
- tax accountants
- tax preparer in md
- bookkeeper in baltimore
- bookkeeping service baltimore
- accounting firms baltimore, md
- maryland bookkeeper
- bookkeeper baltimore
Here’s how they would lay out for search volume.
The top keywords, like “accounting firms” and “bookkeepers” show a high search volume, while the more specific keywords such as “accounting firms in baltimore md” show much lower search volume, along with others, making up the long tail of this chart.
So why include long-tail keywords?
Here are some quick stats about long-tail keywords:
- Long-tail keywords account for 70% of all web searches.
- Long-tail keywords are how people actually search. In fact, more and more, people are typing in complete specific questions into the search boxes. This can help you with a strong blog strategy.
- Long-tail keywords help you crush your competition.
- Long-tail keywords have better conversion rates than generic high volume keywords.
- Long-tail keywords do, in fact, help you rank higher for more generic keywords.
- Although there are more to track, the total sum of the long tail keywords’ search volume often equals or exceeds the sum of the high volume keywords.
Let’s analyze the high volume keyword: accounting firms.
The volume looks very attractive. Who wouldn’t want 3 to 4 thousand more hits on their website each month? There are a few issues with this, however.
1. Your service area might just be the Baltimore, MD Metro area. If this is the case, ranking globally for this might just cause in increase in wasted inquiries.
2. The level of difficulty is a 45. This means it won’t be easy to rank for this keyword, because there is a lot of competition.
3. The Organic Click Through Rate (CTR) is 58%. That means about half of the people who search this term, actually click on a relevant link. This makes one give second thoughts to the time, effort and money it would take to rank high for this keyword, if the payoff is so low. Still, even half the search volume is good, but with items #1 and #2 above, it’s really a much much smaller fraction of your desired audience that will click through.
Next, let’s analyze the not-so-high volume, long-tail keyword: accounting firms baltimore md.
,The volume is much lower on this keyword. At first glance, it looks like it might just be a waste to optimize for it. However, let’s look a little deeper.
1. The keyword specifies your specific service area. No downside here.
2. The level of difficulty is a 34. Much lower than the high volume keyword. This means there’s less competition for it, and you can score the top spot with less effort.
3. The The Organic Click Through Rate (CTR) is a whopping 86%! Of those 86%, 100% would be in your service area. And, being that they searched for such a specific service, they would also be a hot prospect.
Blog Strategy – A Case Study.
One of the pieces of data, to which we have access, is what full questions people are typing into the search engines. We use this as one of our blogging strategies. We include a list of topics for our clients, who write the blogs on their industry, then we sharpen them up for SEO. A good example, though not related to accounting, is a client of ours who provides hotel technology. We found this long-tail keyword in question form: how to use free printing at a hotel?
So, we analyzed it. Let’s take a look:
The volume is typical long-tail, but the low difficulty rating of 21 makes this ridiculously easy! How about that Organic Click Through rate? 100%? Oof! This is a golden scenario! So we advised our client to answer the question posed in the keyword. Within 2 months, our client, TTI Technologies, debuted on Google at #1.
So with this strategy, we are constantly adding content, that for long-tail keywords which are both low hanging fruit and high click-through. Long-tail keyword strategies, added to your existing SEO efforts is a no-brainer!