There is no doubt that SEO has changed a lot over the last 12 months. I remember the days when SEOs, including me, focused our time and energy on boosting our rankings. We would track all of our keywords and watch them go up as we built links.
And although some SEOs still do this, I myself haven’t tracked my rankings in over a year.
Why? Because SEO has turned into a long tail game.
But before I get into how you can build up your long tail traffic, here is why you should focus your SEO efforts on the long tail:
if you look at the image above you’ll notice that 1 or 2 word key phrases are costly to rank for and they don’t convert well. Searchers are also getting more sophisticated and are starting to use more words in their searches, which is why head term searches are down by 8%.
Now that you know why long tail SEO is where you should focus your efforts,
Writing great content
The easiest way to boost your long tail traffic is through content. But you can’t just write any form of content, your blog posts have to be very detailed. And once you have good content, you have to promote it through the social web.
The one thing I’ve learned about content marketing is that detailed guides tend to do the best. I know SEOmoz once stated that theirBeginner’s Guide to SEO has gotten over a million visits.
That’s huge! It shows that writing in depth content on niche topics provides a better ROI than just writing short blog posts.
A a test with Quick Sprout last year in which guest posted all over the web for 6 months. During that time period they wrote 59 guest posts on sites that had at least a Google PageRank of 4 and had an Alexa rating under 50,000.
The results? they received 14750 visitors from those 59 posts and built 117 links that pointed to 30 internal pages on my own site. Those 30 internal pages went from receiving 9193 visitors a month from search engines to 22,852 visitors a month.
Now we know that there were other external effects that could have caused those 30 internal pages to receive more traffic such as search engine algorithm updates, but the other internal pages only saw a 38% increase in search traffic during that same time period, while the internal pages that I built 117 links to saw a 148% increase in search traffic.
If you want to go after head terms, by all mean do so. But if you want to try something new, stop checking your rankings, create good content and build authority links to your internal pages. In the long run your SEO traffic will go up.
What I track these days is my overall search traffic and if it is going up month over month.