What is Long Tail Search and Why it Should Matter

PLEASE READ: I decided to give myself a fresh start. Read more about that here.

Long tail search, in essence, refers to search terms that contain 3 or more words. These search terms are very targeted, and are quickly becoming the norm when people are searching for information about whatever they’re looking for.

If you aren’t taking advantage of long tail search in your marketing strategies, you are missing out on a key source of traffic – and, if you sell products or services – revenue.

Long Tail Search = More (Quality) Traffic

While many marketers tend to target very competitive key words, it can take a long time for your marketing efforts to pay off. By making use of long tail search keywords, however, the traffic you’ll receive will be better quality.

The visitors that land on your site based on a long tail search query are more likely to find what they need because their search term was so specific.

For example, a long tail search such as “digital cameras for $150 or less” will net you better traffic than the generic term “digital cameras.”

People who land on your site via a specific term will find the information more relevant to them, and are more likely to make a purchase.

Long Tail Search = Less Competition

Many marketers are still focusing on highly competitive keywords. By optimizing your site to integrate long tail search keywords, you will be met with less competition. The more specific you get, the less competition there will be.

Using the example I mentioned above, consider this: many people are searching for digital cameras, but not everyone wants to find digital cameras for $150 or less.

You can be as specific as you need to be in order to drive traffic to your site based on these longer search terms, and you’ll find that you aren’t competing as much for this kind of traffic.

Targeting Long Tail Search on Your Blog

About a month ago I wrote a blog post about email marketing and wanted to perform an experiment on how it ranked for a long tail search term.

I knew that I’d have an extremely difficult time ranking for “email marketing” so I decided to shoot for “what is email marketing”. Of course there’s a significant difference in the volume of searches between the two, but here’s why I did it.

Email Marketing = 1,400,000,000 results, and I don’t rank in the top 100
What is Email Marketing = 105,000,000 results, and I rank #9 on Google

There’s a saying that is quite relevant here, and goes something like this. “A small percentage of something is better than a larger percentage of nothing.”

In other words, if I’m off the charts and no where to be seen for the “email marketing” search term I won’t be getting any traffic. However, if I’m on page 1 of Google for the “what is email marketing” search term I might get a few hits a day.

Over the past 30 days, “what is email marketing” ranks #14 on my keyword referrals for Google search and brought in 32 visitors.

While 32 visitors a month doesn’t seem like much, consider that in the same report I ran, I had nearly 5,000 long tail search terms bringing me organic traffic from Google.

It adds up, trust me — and it can certainly add up for you and your blog as well.

The majority of searches performed are of the long tail search variety. Rather than typing in a generic word or two and sifting through pages of results to find what they’re looking for, searchers are much more likely to type in longer phrases to immediately find the specific information they need.

By integrating long tail search keywords, you are much more likely to draw more targeted traffic and rank higher for difficult keywords.

If you’re looking for more and better quality traffic; dream of encountering less competition and desire to rank higher for difficult keywords, you should start focusing on long tail search and the benefits it can bring to your site.