The Long Tail of SEO

The Long Tail of SEO

Search engine optimization is a very cool thing. SEO is what gives the Internet democracy. We can all be stars, theoretically, if we do SEO right.

Sure. A David can slay a Goliath by offering more rich content.

1. Build rich content

So before we talk about SEO in particular, please know that the greatest single thing you can do for your web site is to build rich content. That’s the term: rich content. Rich content means that you are sharing with your visitors the best of your knowledge, in order to help them on the search that has brought them to your web site.

If you don’t have informative content on your web site, your visitors may never find you.

As you build rich content (after your web site is up and running and forever after), you should never think of key words or rankings. Just think of sharing your knowledge.

2. Help that rich content along with a little SEO keyword work

There are several important steps to improving your SEO.

If you do nothing else, be sure to use keywords. Keywords are what your users will search on. In the case of this blog, my key words COULD be SEO 101, What do I need to know about search engine optimization, or something else.

How will my visitors find a story like the one you’re reading right now?

Will it be because they enter “SEO 101”? Probably not, although maybe. Users will likely find my content by searching on what THEY need.

It’s also possible that someone will enter a question such as “can I do my own SEO?”

Two things about keyword usage and your web site.

1. Every key word or phrase should be used only once. So if I’ve used a term such as “how to figure out my key words?” in the past, I shouldn’t use it here.

2. You need to use your key words in appropriate places in your story or blog. I need to make sure my keyword (which can be a single word or a phrase) is in my header, my page URL, and my meta description. If I can manage to do that without making the copy feel stilted, I do it.

In the WordPress world, there are ways to measure and check your success. The tool I use for this is WordPress SEO by Yoast — the best free tool I know.

So, what do I need to know about search engine optimization?

1. write rich content

2. go back through your copy with a tool such as WordPress SEO by Yoast to check how well you’ve done

What’s next?

Some would say the third step comes first, but I don’t agree. After you’ve written and improved the SEO of your blog, be sure to use a keyword ranking tool to help you understand how well your keyword scores.

3. If your particular keyword is highly competitive (which mine is not), you might want to consider changing it to something else less competitive. In the business, we call this process following “the long tail.” Generally, shorter key words are at the top of the graph and the longer ones underneath that.

Just as in the graph I posted above, if your key word exists somewhat further down the competitive scale, that may be just fine. Why? Because “the long tail” means that someone out there, maybe thousands of someones, are using exactly YOUR key words or phrase. The statistic is that 60% to 70% of searches are for non-competitive key words. They’re in “the long tail.”

See “The Resurgence of Long-Tail Keywords in SEO.”

This is where a professional can help you. Let’s figure out objectively which terms your customers might be using, and then write to them.

SEO 101: Search engine optimization

by susan time to read: 3 min
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