21 November 2011


Long Tail And Content Marketing

A lot of what we do as SEO's is based on the understanding of some rather basic concepts. To people outside our profession however, these concepts are at best misunderstood but most often entirely unheard of.

Because these ideas are so fundemental to what we do, we can wrongly take it for granted that the business owners understand the full background and reasons for our suggestions.. One of these concepts is the idea of long-tail marketing.

Long Tail For Beginners

First off, let’s consider how people search. We are all generally the same when it comes to searching on-line and the following example can be applied to all sorts of situations. Let’s say I’m moving house and I decide to buy a new trailer to help shift all my belongings. So it begins…

Enter “trailer” – well that’s no good, clearly these results aren’t right for me...

benefits of longtail marketing

So I quickly change my search term to “trailers for cars" and I can see after clicking the top link that the business is down in Kent which is no good for me - my next search is “trailers for cars derby” – now we’re getting somewhere. Looking around at the top pages after a small amount of research I realise the sort of trailer I want is referred to as a flatbed so again,

content long tails

flatbed trailers for cars derby” – by now I hope you get my point. Far from searches being performed with just one or two obvious words, we tend to create long phrases which aim to filter out poor results. Rather than trawl through the hundreds of results which are beyond the front page of the Search Results, it's easier and quicker to simply refine our searches. In fact, data from Experian points to the fact that the average search is around 3 words long. That of course hides the fact that a lots of long queries started out as one or two words as the example suggests.

Simple explanation for long tail marketing

Why Is It Called The Long Tail

Taking it as a given that the word “trailers” is searched for thousands of times a month, it is also true that the phrase “flatbed trailers for cars derby cheap” (yes, I amended it again because, well why wouldn’t I want it cheap?) is maybe searched for once or twice a year. In fact Google has suggested the 20% (that’s one in five for the mathematically challenged) of all searches have never been performed before. The data above also suggests that close to 20% of all online generated sales of trailors (and any other service or product) would involve searches of 6 words or more.

If we were to map all these phrases out into a graph we would end up with something looking a little bit like this, which following the metaphor visually creates a big head with a long tail.

What Is Long Tail Keywords Marketing

Searches for some words are are in the thousands every month and the more obscure phrases (of which there are thousands) only a few times each. There are a few important things to additionally consider as we go down the tail from left to right.

  • Competition in the SERPs reduces
  • The commercial intent increases
  • A large proportion of the head is for brand names
  • Search relevancy becomes the primary ranking factor

So Why Do Content Marketing

Content marketing means publishing regular items within a blog or newsfeed. There are many advantages from doing this and great content sites can build up a core regular body of readers who come back time and again. In the best of cases these can form into a distinct community who become spokespeople for the company or brand, regularly linking back to the source content.

For most content producers through regular and relevant articles, they will find that they gain web traffic quite naturally from long tail search phrases. Because relevancy factors play an important part in the search algorithm it is highly likely that their unique content will earn it's own share of the millions of long tail searches performed every day. Over time, this regular body of work begins to keep a steady volume of search traffic which will very often be most likely to have high commercial intent. In other words, write it and they will come...

Understanding this concept is important for any webmaster and as an SEO, I regularly advise businesses on the merits of producing content whether they do so in-house or by using of our own copywriting services as part of a broader search marketing campaign. It can of course be refined and improved upon like any marketing activity. Content marketing is just one of the many ways of marketing online. Though it is time consuming, the benefits of doing it right have no boundries and it fits hand in glove with other digital marketing activities including social media marketing. You also might find that kind readers who find it interesting share it via twitter, facebook or google plus (hint)


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