Crouching tiger, hidden tail

In SEO Strategy by Marius Badenhorst

The long tail of a key term ranks for words that appear in the top 10 to 20 keywords. In aggregation, long tail searches generate the left over chunk of traffic that primary keywords disregard. Thorough SEOs will sculpt your groups of key terms by sifting through AdWords or other keyword tools, and selecting the highly relevant from the whole group, sometimes including synonyms. But many don`t take into account the invisible long tail, which comprises of words that keyword tools don`t supply. Mimicking the hidden long tail in your site is underground guesswork. It`s like playing golf in the dark and still hitting a hole-in-one. But it can be done.

Here-and-now searches, I mean the ones that people are typing into their search bars today, are not the ones that keyword tools offer up. AdWords bases its results on historical data (a few weeks` worth of analysis), and gives an accurate, mostly effective summation of the popular searches in the recent past. But if you have three weeks to get a site off the ground, for whatever reason, those keywords neglect all the influences that effect people`s searches in real-time. For example, breaking news, weather changes, popular discoveries, public holidays…the mind is sub-consciously and consciously influenced by popular media to the extent that the long tail will definitely twist and flicker with time. And three weeks is enough for words to change.

Batista suggests that you turn to your PPC campaigns to track the hidden tail. Select the search engine of your choice, or take a sweep of them all. Use your primary key term in broad match without brackets or quotes, as this will present your ads to all versions of searches that include the primary key term. Bid on the minimum amount required, necessitating the exclusion of popular terms, and let it run for about a month. Ensure that you have written excellent PPC ads to rule out the variable that people are simply not attracted to your ad. From there, keep a close eye on your log file.

From this research you can compile a list of quite broad, invisible long tail terms, from which you need to select the ones that will qualify for your content. Sift through the terms and identify patterns that you can mould the tail from; this is as simple as counting words and coming up with a percentage of the ones that appear in which form, most often. Collect the higher percentage terms together, or to put if another way, mass the dominant factors ensuring that they all specifically apply to what you`re advertising. Feed them into the content, and there you have the hidden long tail. Anyone for golf?

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Marius Badenhorst

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