According to Matt Cutts, a senior engineer at Google, and head of their Anti-Spam Department, Google has “trillions of documents” indexed. The powerful search engine juggernaut accomplishes this by using web crawlers, web spiders and bot programs – the most popular of which is called Googlebot – that never cease in their exploration of the web 2.0 universe, documenting and indexing their findings along the way. The data indexed thus far is massive, indeed. In Google’s own words, “Our index is well over 100,000,000 gigabytes, and we’ve spent over one million computing hours to build it.”
It’s no mystery that Google likes to shake things up. They issue hundreds of algorithm updates each year, keeping most of them silent, in attempts to hinder and limit spam and keep SEOs on their toes (check this guide to Google penalties diagnosis and recovery) . They do announce some new updates, like Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Pigeon, Florida and Farmer. But most are kept under wrap and veil to dissuade spammers from grabbing onto the “secret sauce” that powers the world’s most used search engine. And Google is widely used, in fact. A Forbes article says that the behemoth search engine accounts for over 40% of all online traffic. According to a Groupon study, over 60% of that traffic comes from direct organic search and not pay-per-click advertising, as one might so suspect.
Attracting web visitors has proven to be increasingly difficult in recent years. Namely due to the massive and unprecedented growth of the internet, where short tail keywords that used to be easy to rank are now difficult to rank, if not impossible, due to the countless competing entities trying to garner them. In a post Pigeon world, there is still a shining beacon of light at the end of the lengthy, and often tumultuous, SEO tunnel: long tail content marketing. Seeing a means to your end is attainable, provided that you follow a proven recipe for success while creating a perfected and brand-specific formula in your search engine lab.
Long tail keywords are easier to rank than short tail keywords are because the competition is wavering in comparison. As you can see from the example given above, the keyword, “beg bug remedies,” has 2.5 million results, and would be very difficult to rank on page one for. By modifying that keyword with a longer tail version like “home remedies for bed bugs,” you can see that there are far fewer results, meaning less competition and an easier-to-rank keyword as a result.
Many of your competitors are so focused on the shorter keywords that they often don’t even realize they are ranking for long tail keywords. It’s a content and quality battle here, and not so much a battle for back links, per-se. Place high quality, organic, targeted and link-worthy content, and you can easily rank on the top pages of Google time and time again for just about any long tail keyword set imaginable. Use these following tips to take your content marketing campaign to the next level. Some invaluable tools and resources will be revealed to help you out along the way.
Gathering Targeted Long Tail Keywords with HitTail
The first place you are going to want to start with is by assessing and analyzing your data. Google Analytics is a must-have tool for doing this, and simply plugs into your website with some tidbits of code and a few verification steps added. However, it’s not going to be the long tail keyword suggestion tool you hoped it would.
Worry not, because HitTail (starts at $10 per month) has got you covered. It, like Analytics, plugs into your website by adding a droplet of code to the home page. HitTail will then analyze your site traffic in real-time, spitting out long lists of keyword suggestions that you can use, the very same or similar long tail keywords people are using – or could be using – to find you, rating them with a one-to-five star rating, with five being the most competitive.
You then digest these keywords, run some basic research on them, using helpful tools like Moz, and viola: you have a healthy list of the most targeted and organic long tail keywords you can go after to generate the foundation for your long tail marketing campaign. You can take the longer list of keywords that HitTail provides and dump that XLS file into your Ad-Words to enjoy low-cost bids on keywords you have yet to tackle, and while you are still getting your content strategy organized to permanently rank for them.
Assessing Your Topic Strategy with BlogAbout
Quality content is the key here, by and far the most important SEO strategy there is. It all starts with your topic, which will ultimately dictate the engaging factor that your content has to offer to visitors. After all, bad or rushed content isn’t good; and good content takes time to write. Use a helpful tool called BlogAbout to start brainstorming up ideas for a catchy and engaging title to base your content off. You simply enter the topic you are considering writing about, in this case a long tail keyword that was generated by HitTail, and it will spit out a number of topic ideas. The tool is free to use and very handy for coming up with great titles and topics on-the-fly.
Create Link-Bait Content by Offering Your Users Plenty of Meat & Potatoes
Users want specific, relevant and engaging content that they can rely upon to glean ideas, tips, information and resources from. These are defining highlights that underscore top-notch content. Offering them this is something that many SEOs refer to as content that has plenty of “meat and potatoes.” The goal is to get readers to not only read and enjoy your content, but to also create a natural flow of inbound back links by linking to it as they share it with other users. You’ll want to take your time when composing this content, making sure you have plenty of references, authority sources and proper English, style, grammar and prose. A good example of long tail content marketing in action can be found at this blog. It offers nine tips on how to improve your Etsy storefront. It’s visually engaging, featuring screen shots with captions for each tip, and plenty of outbound links to authority sources, which back-up the content. At the very end of the blog, it has a strong but subtle call-to-action that engages the reader and that is indirectly related to the topic.
Engaging Mass Audiences with OutBrain
Once you taken the time write compelling and engaging long tail content, it’s time to market that content. Consider using a service like OutBrain for content marketing. The user-friendly dashboard only takes a few minutes to setup. You simply plug-in the links to your content or aggregate RSS feed, set your max daily spending budget, bid for clicks and let the service do the rest. It will syndicate your content as “sponsored content” across major news networks (ABC, MSN, Inc.com, Geek.com, PC World, etc.) and vital content resource websites online. It will also track the clicks, the geo-region and the cost-per-click, providing detailed reporting and analytics.
Syndicating Your Posts with SproutSocial
Marketing your content is one thing, social syndication is quite another. You’ve taken all that time to compose this elegant, meaningful and relevant content, and now it’s time to share it with the world, across your broad social networks. A social media management service like SproutSocial can enable you to do so effortlessly. It enables you to integrate the most popular social channels while actively scanning them for related posts. You can then engage users by sharing your content across all your social networks using one management tool.
Retargeting Long Tail Content with AdRoll
When users visit your site and see your long tail content, but then don’t view any other pages or click on your call-to-action, leaving your website to visit another unrelated site, this is called a “bounced” user. According to a study by comScore, retargeting can actually provide as high as a 1,026% lift on bounced users via retargeting. Other studies have suggested that visitors who are retargeted to are likely to use the service being offered, and usually will convert for a greater amount than they would have initially pegged for spending. A great service you can consider using for such a campaign is called AdRoll. It functions much like AdWords does, and features an intelligent and user-friendly dashboard that provides in-depth analytics.
Making the most of your time spent marketing in the digital age while maximizing results is imperative to your long term successes. Such enviable accolades are achievable when you consider thinking outside-of-the-box by using long tail content marketing. If you follow the recipe that has been provided (in great detail) above, you are certain to see a spike in traffic and rankings in a short amount of time. Bear in mind that slow and steady wins the SEO race. Give your strategy some time to fester, and be patient. Consistency, persistence and endurance are the ultimate keys to your success in the long tail content marketing game.
About the Author
Michael Jon Lazar is the Sr. Growth Hacker at TrueShip. The company makes feature-rich, intelligent and user-friendly multi carrier shipping software to provide small business shipping solutions for eCommerce stores. The software works with FedEx, UPS and USPS, and has integrations into the most popular online shopping carts, enterprise management, accounting and order and inventory management systems. When he is not busy helping TrueShip grow and expand, Lazar enjoys spending time with his lovely wife, Danielle, his two amazingly talented and intelligent children, Bella and Dominic, and his three attention-starved, rambunctious and feisty pets: a Timber wolf, Amadeus; an English Mastiff, Lilly; and a tabby cat, Mr. Whiskers