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May 5, 2009

Heads you lose, tails I win

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Originally the term longtail was first used by Chris Anderson. The term describes the approach of businesses, such as Amazon.com , that sell a great amount of unique items, each in comparatively small quantities.
How it works is that there are a small number of terms that will bring your website thousands of visitors. However, there are thousands of search terms that will bring just one or two visitors each per month. Those thousands of search terms that bring in just a few visitors a month are the ‘longtail searches’. Here is an example to illustrate
Head keyword- “[SEO training](http://www.bruceclay.com.au/seo/training.htm)”
Longtail keyword- “[SEO keyword research training Sydney Australia](http://www.bruceclay.com.au/seo/training.htm)”
longtail keyword 1 ***Thats one Loooongtail***
Why are so many [SEO](http://www.bruceclay.com.au/web_rank.htm) professionals now targeting this method of search engine marketing?
**Some sites report that almost 70% of searches that locate them are longtail** – Now I know that is a big claim to make, but WOW, 70% of searches are coming from keywords that are not the top performers from the keyword research. This is based on analytical data collected from our clients.
**People use longtail keywords for searches when they are near to making a purchase** – The conversion rates for longtail keywords are exponentially higher than the head keywords when they are relevant. This is due to the fact that as consumers get closer to the buying phase, they tend to use longer, more detailed keywords in their searches.
**Bounce rates will be lower** – Bounce rate is a significant KPI in the reporting arsenal of a SEO analyst. It pretty much shows how relevant the web site user believes the content on the page is (depending on his/her search). Essentially the lower the bounce rate, the better. Longtail searches significantly lower the bounce rate of a site as the detailed search term should lead the searcher to the correct page, with the information that they originally searched for.
**There is less competition** – Imagine you are a company selling ‘shoes’, [‘cowboy boots’ is the example Bruce likes to use in the SEO Training – Kate ] you want to get ranked in the top 3 places for the term ‘shoes’, this aint gonna be easy! You will need to invest a whole lot of time and MONEY to try get there, especially if you’re a new domain. However, imagine you want to get ranked for the term ‘industrial shoes for chemical workers’ that’s going to be a whole lot easier.
To create the right longtail keywords within your site two major things need to be done. Firstly just the right amount of unique, relevant and user friendly content regarding your brand/product needs to be created. This needs to be as varied as possible so that many keyword phrases are covered, but all content should have a clear focus. Secondly, concise, accurate and intelligent internal linking must used within the entire site architecture, using some of the common longtail phrases as the internal anchor text to deep link amongst pages.
Bruce Clay Australia achieves this goal through the use of themes and siloing. In its simplest terms, siloing is a site architecture technique used to split the focus of a site into multiple themes. The goal behind siloing is to create a site that ranks well for multiple keywords including the more popular and the more-targeted (or longtail) keywords. The theme and sub-themes are found by looking at total popularity of a topic across any particular keyword universe.
Siloing categorises the content both structurally and virtually. Structurally, it is how the content is ordered on the server which includes the directory structure of the site. Virtually, it’s how the content is linked together in the site because PageRank also flows for internal links. More information can be found about siloing in this Bruce Clay article on [building a web site theme with silos](http://www.bruceclay.com.au/newsletter/volume29/themepartone.html).
longtail keyword 2
[Chris Anderson](http://www.longtail.com/) remarks “When consumers are offered infinite choice, the true shape of demand is revealed. And it turns out to be less hit-centric than we thought. People gravitate towards niches because they satisfy narrow interests better, and in one aspect of our life or another we all have some narrow interest (whether we think of it that way or not).” This sums up the longtail keyword approach; we are attempting to satisfy the niche needs of many customers using thousands of longtail phrases, to capture the attention of both the savvy searcher looking for information and the novice internet user close to a purchase. In summary we are using specific SEO tactics to help the user find what they are looking for faster.

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