What is long tail SEO and why is it important?

As the Internet and the search engines in particular become exceedingly overcrowded with businesses, from large corporations to one-man shows, working hard to make their percentage of revenue online, it makes the online space incredibly competitive.

So, how do you feature in the SERPs and compete for your share of revenue?

Long Tail SEO

What is the long tail of SEO? These are keywords that are usually made up the head term (those search terms that are short, popular and straight-forward) but then up to 3-4 modifiers are added to the head term to create a long tail keyword.

For example, a head term would be: ‘rome snowboards’
A modified tail keyword would be: ‘finding cheap rome snowboards online’

Although many people and business owners interested in google SEO would focus on ranking highly in the search engines for the head terms, most SEO practitioners would have witnessed the aggregate power of the long tail, taking into account all long tail keywords vs. head terms.

The Importance of the Long Tail

When people search online, they generally will type in a particular search term, scan the results on the first page of the SERPs and if they do not find what they are looking for, they will refine their search, again and again and again.

There are two key points to note from this:

1. Increasingly people will not move beyond the first page of the SERPs in their search. You’ve heard this before, eye tracking studies are proving it even more that people do not continue searching to page 2, they refine their search.

2. Refine, refine, refine. If people are typing in ‘snowboarding boots’, then refining that to ‘women’s snowboarding boots’ and finally ‘women’s ride snowboarding boots’ and THEN ONLY clicking on a result, is your website optimised for long tail keywords to capture this searcher?

Something that is key to remember is this – when a searcher is typing in very specific long tail keywords this indicates that they are much further along the buying cycle that someone typing in a head term such as ‘snowboarding boots’. Will your website capture this traffic?

Consider this, even if your website is on the first page of the SERPs for ‘snowboarding boots’, is it memorable enough for the searcher to come back to it later, or will your reaffirm the value of your brand offering by appearing on the first page for ‘women’s ride snowboarding boots’?

The SEO techniques to rank for long tail keywords are various and it simply requires a targeted strategy and dedication. Methodologies include:

  • Building good content on your website on deeper product pages
  • Writing a timely blog on relevant industry + business topics
  • Utilising social media and social networking sites to build content
  • Viral marketing campaigns such as video, mobile applications and user generated content
  • PR and news sites

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