Intelligent SEO through Long Tail Analysis

The idea of Long Tail is often thrown around in SEO circles but the truth is that it is mostly misinterpreted and sometimes people do not know what to do with the information. It is important to act upon the information you collect or else it is no use collecting information.
Long term in fact is not an exclusive SEM term. It is used in other sectors to describe a situation where a there is a small percentage of high profit customers but most of the total profit comes from a large collective of low profit customers.

Once you know what to look at, it is very easy to locate the long tail of your own website within the traffic figures.

For example, let’s take a site that has a search traffic of 11,000 plus every month and this search traffic is form about 7,000 different keywords.

To be very liberal, around 11% of this total traffic is sent by the search of specific key terms. The rest of the traffic is divided over 6,900 search terms, which means each of these terms individually bring in less than 0.5% of the traffic.

This huge traffic from a vast number of search terms is the website’s Long Tail. Each of these search terms is insignificant when isolated, but together they supply a massive traffic and hence, without them, your search traffic would almost disappear.

The point of this article is that by analyzing this huge mass of terms, you can find a potential area, which you can exploit for your benefit.

First step: How to understand the Long Tail.

Graphs are very useful for understanding and interpreting such data. So start by exporting the data of your search traffic to Excel and make a graph by plotting the traffic volume on the X (vertical) axis and the terms on the Y (horizontal) axis.

You will need to make the following graphs: -

1)    An overall graph – this will contain the entire search traffic data. Keep the branded terms in the ‘head’ section. This graph will show which terms are giving you the most traffic.

2)    Branded and non-branded; separate and comparison – Branded terms are different from non-branded ones, so make separate graphs for both types and then make a third one that compares the two.

3)    Long Tail Graphs for PPC and SEO – Make the distinction between traffic that is paid for like PPC and your natural traffic. This makes the optimization of your site better.
Now comes the second step where you will analyze the data that you have gathered.

Here is where you start looking for discernable patterns in your long tail. Try the following approaches to extract information: -

1)    See if you are often finding smaller terms that contain the main terms. If you do, it will show that your have an effective SEO, which is proving to be a positive help for the long tail terms. Now you have to look for possible ways to reproduce this effect to get another long tail campaign free of cost. The main idea behind SEO in most cases is to give your website a higher ranking when it comes to some main terms, which usually have a lot of competition. If the SEO has been done properly, related terms would also gain some attention and benefit your traffic.

2)    Look for a common theme amongst the long tail terms. Even if it surprises you, you might find a theme you never related to amongst the long tail terms. Even if it surprises you, you might find a theme that you never related to our site. In case you notice a large traffic based on that traffic, see if you can use a main term in your SEO and PPC efforts to gain more traffic.

3)    If you find more than just on theme, you should tailor your SEO for creating a free campaign for a new long tail. Or you can also try to group together the terms for bettering your PPC long tail campaign. Try to manage your long tail the best you can and it will give you better results.

4)    If you have a PPC campaign that is focused branded terms, try to look for ways to transform it into a natural traffic that won’t cost you anything.

5)    See if your SEO propelled traffic is mostly made up of long tail terms. This would indicate a bad SEO for the terms in focus. You might need to target terms with a higher traffic. Make sure you get head terms from your SEO campaign in addition to your PPC campaign so that you remain protected from the rise and fall of the PPC bidding market.

Remember that each website is a unique case scenario so your own long tail may have more areas which need attention.

Now comes the third step where you will work on expanding your long tail.

Other than your usual ways of doing suggestions based keyword research, you can also look at Google’s search-based keyword tool. You can type in the URL of your site and it will suggest keywords and will also suggest landing pages for each suggestion, which is extremely useful.
Also look for terms in the natural traffic that coincide with your PPC campaign. If you are already a getting a free traffic on those search terms, you might not want to keep paying for them. But these terms will actually be cheaper so you can just experiment with them for a while and then if they don’t work, you can simply drop them.

After that, use your present natural traffic terms from the tail to get suggestions for more long tail terms, by using your usual keyword tool.

Sometimes, a broad match is opted for by PPC campaigners instead of researching keywords for a long tail. Even though it will work, it won’t generate the maximum amount of traffic possible. Also, do understand that most of the traffic will be from terms based on the terms that you have selected.
It is good idea to make a list of long tail keywords for your PPC campaign, because you won’t pay if there are no searches for them.

It is very important to form proper groups within your long tail keywords because when you use them for your PPC campaign, it will help you optimize the performance and reduce clicks that are wasted.