Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Blog Seo Strategy: Maximize The Long Tail

I've come across a blog search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that is a nice way to help maximize long tail traffic to a blog. This may have already been written on before, and I don’t think it’s a secret. But, it is a simple way to optimize what you’re already doing for cumulative results.

This works best assuming your blog already has a bit of trust in Google and your articles are getting at least somewhere on page one.

Here’s what to do:

1) Write your articles as you normally would.

2) Optimize for search with something like the All-In-One SEO pack.

3) When it comes time to title your articles, cross reference what you plan to title the post with Google’s keyword tool. Use the tool to find a phrase to incorporate into your headline that actually has some search traffic to it.

Now, the trick is, don’t pick something that is insanely popular. You won’t realistically get to page one for something with 40,000 queries a month. Pick something with less than 1,000 approximate average monthly search volume and it probably won’t be a term too hot on anyone else’s radar. Smaller here is better, anything slightly higher than ‘not enough data’ will suffice.

4) Make sure your title contains the phrase, use the phrase as a page tag, and throw it in text/description for good measure. Don’t let your writing suffer, and don’t force the phrase anywhere. You should never write blog entries purely for search engine optimization anyway, that isn’t the point of keeping a blog.

5) Publish your post. That’s it – you thought there would be more?

This might not work for every post, but you should be able to find a way to do this successfully for many of them. This is a nice, easy strategy to integrate into your blogging work-flow if you would like more traffic from Google.

Of course, the long tail should catch up with you eventually and bring you decent traffic for everything you’re doing if you publish enough, but if you can appear on page one for things that have even a small amount of traffic monthly it is a nice strategy to bring recurring, fresh visitors to your site.

You don’t even have to be the first result to capture traffic. Here’s an example from this blog – my article on beautiful web design, and using that phrase as the search string.

Use the keyword tool to find a phrase to incorporate into your title…even if you your phrase doesn’t show up in the tool, Google will help you by suggesting similar phrases:

You can below see I’m #7, which is hardly at the top — but there is still a great enough amount of traffic for this term it equals sustained visitors monthly.

Being #7 still brought me 32 unique visits from Google for August. It would have been much more if I was higher up. And, it’s on track to bring me about the same amount this month.

This doesn’t look like alot of visitors does it? It’s not – but that’s the whole point. Imagine you had 100 articles each that were generating around 30 visitors from Google a month. That traffic would scale nicely. What if you had 1,000? Even better. The numbers get higher as you get closer to the top too, but don’t even worry about being number one, you’ll still get some traffic.

It’s long tail, just as keywords that bring you 1-2 visitors per month are, only it is a little bit closer to the head of the graph. The interaction is not as high here, as you’ll notice with the ~2 minute and 49 second average interaction time. But, you’ll win the really specific keywords and phrases that generate deep interaction I talked about in the long tail of search post just by blogging as you normally would.

Granted, most of the traffic to this article has been generated by social media. I published that article on July 30, and clearly it has received more than 32 views:

But, Google will never be a huge traffic driver for you for one article all at once unless you’re at the front for a big term. Google might, however, bring me that many visitors over a longer period to that article.

It’s smart to diversify your traffic streams between various social media sites and blogs in the short term and search engines in the long term because then you are never too reliant on one source for traffic. If someone changes the rules on you, you should be okay if your traffic streams are diversified.

Converting the traffic to subscribers
Adding an email subscription and RSS subscription to the bottom of each post, as Daniel at Daily Blog Tips suggests, is a smart way to potentially convert search engine traffic to subscribers.

That traffic might not notice your subscription chicklets at the top or on the sidebars, as they are looking for something ultra-specific and want to dive right into your content. Daniel’s numbers in that article shows that this is effective at converting, certainly something you should incorporate (I have recently done it here).

1 comment:

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