Long Tail Content Strategy

A long tail content strategy targeting organic search queries can be implemented by businesses small and large. What is the long tail, and how can it be applied to a content creation strategy?

What Is the Long Tail?

While some search terms are extremely high volume, most search terms are not particularly popular. These less-popular search terms are referred to as “the long tail,” having earned their name because of their place on the graph comparing number of searches to number of words in a key term. The graph line initially rides high in the upper left, representing short, popular search terms, but as search-volume-per-search-term decreases, the graph line slinks down and extends for a great distance, resembling a “long tail.”

In a sense, online search terms mirror personal relationships. Wise people know that popularity, while alluring, is much less important than genuine connection when forming and maintaining human relationships. Savvy Internet marketers know that this principle also applies when creating online connections between people and businesses.

Take the term “BMW,” a very popular search term, as an example. In contrast, “used BMW 330xi MA” is obviously a far less-popular search.

While the popularity of “BMW” as a term may be tempting, it would be a high-cost, high-waste term on which to lean if you were selling a used BMW 330xi in Massachusetts. Many people are going to search for “BMW,” but you’ll likely be buried in searches. You’d have much higher return on investment if you focused on a specific keyword (like “BMW 330xi MA”), just as it would be more rewarding to have a small group of friends with similar interests than a thousand acquaintances who don’t really know each other.

Consider a used BMW dealer trying to generate sales in Massachusetts. One option she would have is to allocate every resource to winning the keyword “used BMW MA” (i.e., being the first link people see when they see that keyword). However, a more diversified and ROI-focused approach would combine “used BMW” with specific models and town names, as applicable—this will attract a more specific audience and increase the likelihood of conversion.

How Does Long Tail Content Strategy Work?

Herein lies the opportunity for long tail strategy. While much of the advertising market is focused on highly competitive keywords, it is often better to fight smaller, more honed-in battles to achieve a higher return on investment.

An effective long tail content creation strategy combines target keywords, target market segments, and target geographies to create hundreds or thousands of permutations. The goal is to deliver genuine, high-quality content to each specific segment. With specific segments, content can speak to individual users and increase the chances of converting page visits to leads.

A good long tail content strategy is a lot of hard work and investment and it happens over a long span of time. If you’re looking for more actionable leads for your business, a long tail content strategy is an effective part of a strategic web-marketing campaign.

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