I spoke at SMX Israel and I thought I won’t just embed the presentation from SlideShare but I would elaborate a little more so more people can enjoy and understand the presentation.
First, here is the presentation
Short explanation about long tail: “Phrases that contain more than just your target phrases and/or brand name”
The definition may not be completely accurate as dropping the brand name may not be the proper thing to do. (As we will see in the second example)
An image of the graph usually presented when talking about long tail.
Why is it important to examine your long tail? I think the slide speaks for itself.
A proper image of a long tail graph. I hope you are asking where the graph is. Well it is the straight blue line going across the Y axis. This is to show you how long the tail is you can’t even see the head!
The exact same graph 1000 times larger. Now it is very clear where the head is, this shows you how little traffic there is in the head of the graph, especially when you realize that it is only 25% of the traffic. I hope by now you understand the importance of the long tail.
How do I know what to focus on if the tail is so long?
In order to answer that question I made another graph but this time the graph is broken up by the number of words in each phrase (blue line). The red line shows all the phrases that brought traffic but did not convert. The green line shows you all the phrases that brought at least one conversion.
What is so amazing is that the 4 word phrases brought the most conversions and phrases with 5 and 6 words brought more conversions then phrases with 3 words. Also phrases with 7, 8 and 9 words brought more conversions than 2 word phrases.
A second example showing the exact same shape graph just in this graph the phrases that converted the best have 3 words.
You are all asking now what is the difference between the two cases, and how do I know which is the right one for me?
The difference is in the main targeted phrases. In the first case the main targeted phrases are 3 words long, in the second case most of the traffic is branded traffic (only one word).
From this we can learn that probably the phrases that will convert the best are the length of your main phrases plus 2 (in the first case it is only plus 1 but still I get more conversions when I add to the main phrase 2 more words)
I am sorry to say that I don’t know what those 2 words should be.
Now that we know what long tail is and what part of the tail I am most interested in, we can see how all this is related to link building.
Before Google rolled out Panda, many site owners that wanted more traffic jumped on the long tail opportunity by thinking if they have more content they will get more traffic (technically that can be correct). So they started creating a lot of content. However you can’t create high quality content quickly so they created low quality content instead (this is the main thing the Panda update is working to prevent, by only send traffic to sites with high quality content)
So here I give an example of a panda pet shop where the main pages would get most of the links and there would be content about ridiculous things like “sunny side up panda breakfast“ or “removing panda spots brush” these pages would get their power from the strength the main pages would pass on. Neither product pages deserve traffic especially because I have only 2 lines of text for each product. But until now this worked and would pull in traffic.
Now this still works but it is the wrong strategy to base your sites traffic on because we know that the search engines are trying to fight this. Here is where slide 9 comes in to place.
Now let’s switch to a quality site, but with fewer pages. I got rid of all the low quality content and replaced it with links. I also made sure to use long tail phrases in those links. So now I have some power going in to the deeper pages not only from the main pages of the site. This also strengthens the rest of the site including my targeted phrases.
Don’t worry about the fact that you are sending anchor text that is not in your main target phrases. You are still sending relevant phrases to your market in to your site. This will not make the search engines think you belong to a different market.
I added this because I spoke as part of a link building panel, even though I spoke more about the types of links you want and not how to get them.
I hope I was able to convince you why it is important to pay attention to your long tail phrases. Now we need to know where to find them.
The best place to go for that information is in your analytics! Find the phrases that bring the best traffic (converts best, lowest bounce rate, longest time on site) and start with those. After that you can go to all the usual places to fined key words.
Just to add: when you go to the Google Key Word Tool you do not want the phrases with a lot of traffic and competition. What you are looking for is just the opposite – phrases that bring a small amount of traffic. So go for the phrases with the lest traffic and competition.
Takeaways – Here again the slide speaks for itself.
The arrow shows you were my old target phrase is today because I got addicted to the long tail until it became my head phrases that I target. Sometimes this can be very successful strategy but I only did it because I saw the results I was getting out of it, this is not something I recommend you try on your client if you don’t have good proof to show that this is worthwhile for them.
Good luck on your l-o-n-g t-a-i-l