One of the biggest errors that many businesses make when trying to design their SEO strategy is to focus too heavily on the high volume, broad match search terms, and ignore the long tail options that are available to them.
The Problem with Broad Keyword Terms
A financial planning firm wants to get more clients, so they target key phrases related to their business:
- financial planning
- retirement planning
- investing portfolio
- 401k plans
- opening an IRA
and so on and so forth.
There are several problems with this approach.
Firstly, each of these terms is insanely competitive. The chances of a single business being able to rank for all of them is extremely low, unless they’re willing to invest tens of thousands of dollars on their SEO and content strategies. For most small firms, even for deep pocketed industries like financial services, that’s simply out of reach.
The second problem is that it’s unclear whether it will even help the business to rank for these terms. Just becaouse someone is searching for 401k plans doesn’t mean that they’re looking for a financial services provider to help them with it. They could be looking for any number of things.
Fortunately there’s a better way.
Why Long Tail Is Effective
The answer lies with the long tail. Long tail searches (keywords that are more specific, with lower search volume), tend to perform better for most small businesses.
It is not only cheaper to target and rank for a collection of long tail phrases, but it also tends to yield a larger increase in revenue than their broad match cousins. That’s because long tail phrases give marketers an opportunity to uncover user intent.
It’s no longer just about “401k plans” it’s about “how to diversify a 401k portfolio with medium risk.” That gives the company a much better opportunity to answer the user’s question, and provide meaningful, helpful information. That, in turn, leads to a higher conversion rate, and a better opportunity of securing the customer in the long term.
You can read more about the long tail with this bestselling book.
But What About Search Volume?
The number 1 objection that businesses have to the long tail approach revolves around volume. They look at the tens of thousands of searches achieved by their broad keyword, and the several hundred searches for the long tail, and think the chance of getting to the 100,000 a month term is better.
Well, firstly, ranking in spot #67 for a 100,000 searches/month keyword won’t get you very much traffic…if any.
Ranking #1 for a 200 searches/month keyword will get you about 40% of the traffic, or 80 clicks a month. Right off the bat, you’re doing way better.
But, the trick is to remember that a long tail strategy doesn’t look at just a single keyword. It aggregates dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of long tail keywords in order to get the traffic volume you need.
So, what happens if you rank on the first page for 500 keywords that get an average 200 searches a month? You’ll have your 100,000 searches a month target, but you’ll actually be ranking, which means you’ll get traffic. It quickly adds up to thousands of new, targeted leads a month.
And who wouldn’t want that?