Those of us who have been working in the web design and online marketing industry long enough will remember the days when “search engine optimization” meant stuffing a website with a handful of keywords and calling it a day. It’s hard to believe now, but that actually worked when Google was new.
Of course, over time it became apparent that there were a lot of different search markets. The traditional high-traffic keywords started to lose their value, particularly when marketers discovered that so-called long tail searches could deliver a steady flow of targeted traffic without the drawbacks of an over-optimized website.
The long tail of search was (and is) represented by longer strings and phrases that are more complex than generic search terms. They have less competition, but often indicate a stronger or more precise level of buying intent.
Now more than ever, the long tail of search is important to marketers who want to reach a large number of buyers or a highly-targeted audience. However, the long tail is beginning to look different than it once did in 2018 and beyond, and requires businesses to think differently about breaching that traffic. Here’s what you need to know to stay in front of your competitors…
The Long Tail is Getting Fatter
It used to be the case that the long tail of search didn’t constitute very much web traffic in terms of volume. These days, searchers are pickier than ever. They are also using voice-assisted apps to enter longer search strings into Google. The result is a long tail that’s getting fatter than ever, with as much as one-third of all searches falling outside the range of traditional high-traffic queries.
Contextual Content Matters More Than Ever
To get long tail search traffic to your website in the past required you to target very specific terms and phrases. Google’s contextual engine has improved greatly in recent years, though, putting a greater emphasis on the relevance of an entire website. For this reason, marketers who have lots of high-quality content on their pages are getting the lion’s share of long tail search traffic, even in situations where exact matches aren’t available.
The Long Tail is About More Than Text
Effective search engine optimization is still largely about the use of textual content like static web pages and normal written blog posts. However, other factors are starting to come into the mix. On the one hand, searchers are more open to new types of content (like videos and infographics) than ever before. And on the other hand, search signals like website speed, authority, and mobile compatibility can all help you to grow your longtail search visibility as well.
Today’s SEO World Requires Focus and Dedication
The advice we give to clients is that they shouldn’t focus on traditional SEO or long tail queries. Instead, we advise them to follow a dedicated plan of optimization and content creation that lets them take advantage of both. In reality, the majority of today’s longtail searchers are ending up at many of the same sites they would have with shorter queries. They aren’t actually separate markets. That’s because the marketers who are doing a good job of making their websites visible are shutting their competitors out at both ends.
Is it Time for a Fresh Approach to SEO?
If you feel like you aren’t getting the kinds of results you should be from your search engine optimization campaigns, this is your chance to plot a new course. Contact us today at 630-551-0334 x1 to schedule a free website review and consultation. We’ll show you how we can help you to grow your business using a smarter digital strategy.