Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Long & Short Tail Tales

Search keywords are hot commodities.
As we all learn more about how our customers shop on the internet, keywords open a link between seller and buyer.

Keywords take the guesswork out of your internet marketing. Enter the name of your product or industry into a keyword search tool and ~ * poof * ~ you have all the words and terms your potential customers use to find your business or product on the internet. Use those words and terms in your internet marketing and watch your conversion rates go up.

That’s the good news. The bad news is: you are not alone in knowing the good news. Every day, more businesses learn more about how their prospects use the internet and the value of keywords. Depending on your industry, countless other companies could be creating web content using exactly the same keywords as you. Pity the poor shoe store trying to get noticed by internet customers for terms like “shoes” and “footwear” – imagine the number of other companies trying to get ranked on search engines for the same keywords. Loyal readers of this blog will know that if you are not on the first page of search results – a total of 10 spots – you are as good as invisible on the internet.

The Long and Short of It

Luckily, there’s more good news. While there might be lots of competition for rankings on the most popular keywords in your market segment, there are many other keywords that, while not as popular, still produce results. Their lack of popularity makes it easier to get good rankings for them.

In our shoe store example, while a Google search for “shoes” produced 302,000,000 results, a search for “leather sandals” got only 10,000,000 results.

If the keyword popularity for any given industry is graphed, it would probably look a little like the image above.

Tale of The Short Tail – Relatively few keywords enjoying lots of search popularity. Getting a good ranking when your customers use these keywords will get results, but it will cost more and take more time.

Tale of The Long Tail – Lots of keywords with fewer searches. In some cases, ranking can be had for long tail keywords without too much effort – and for a lower cost.

The Moral of the Story

Chasing short tail keywords can have a huge payoff, but they carry a heavy price tag. Similar results can be had by ranking for a number of different long tail keywords – for less cost and less effort.

The End

(Not really "The End", keyword marketing is, so far, a never ending story about finding out as much as you can about your customers’ internet shopping habits.)
By Stephen Da Cambra

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