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Rethink Your Link Building Strategy – Targeting Long Tail Terms

If you’re using the old-fashioned method of getting backlinks to try and rank for competitive keywords, I’ve got news for you: You’re leaving the bulk of your traffic behind. Over the last few years, intelligent marketers have discovered that the money and the traffic simply aren’t in the big keywords.

Importance of Long Tail KeywordsWhen you conduct a search online, how do you go about your search? More often than not, you type a pretty specific search term into Google. That’s because you’re looking for specific information rather than generic information. These searches are called “long tail searches.” They’re searches that come from longer keywords rather than short two or three word search phrases. Search engine experts estimate that 70% of searches are long-tail keyword searches while only 30% are high level and mid level keywords.

Aiming for the long-tail has two main benefits. First of all, they’re much easier to rank for. Instead of taking months or even years to rank for a competitive keyword, you can rank for a large number of uncompetitive keywords instead. Second, long tail searchers tend to be much closer to buying.

Long Tail SEO If you run a microwave oven and grill  sales website, who would you rather  have land on your website: Someone who types in “oven” or someone who types in “buy a microwave oven and grill” The latter of course. They’re closer to buying.

Now you know why targeting long tail is important. So how do you go about doing so? There are two main questions you need to address:

1.    Which longtail keywords will be the most profitable to target?

2.    How do you build links to and rank for these keywords?

Let’s address each question, one at a time.

Choosing Longtail Keywords to Target

Start by looking through your Google Analytics data. If you don’t have analytics installed, install it now. In addition to long tail data, you’ll get a wide range of valuable information.

Google Analytics will tell you exactly what longtail keywords people came to your website through. Record these and look for patterns, frequent searches and buying keywords.

Use tools like the Google Keyword Tool or Market Samurai to find new keywords. Start with a top level keyword and then drill down to more and more specific keywords. It’s a good idea to check both broad match and exact match traffic in this phase, because with long tail you’re often getting traffic from similar but not exact type-ins. In other words, you’re getting broad match traffic.

Analyzing Google Analytics Data

One method of generating keywords that shouldn’t be neglected is the old fashioned pen and paper. Just jot down all the keywords you can think of. This is a great way of finding keywords that other marketers who’re just using keyword tools won’t find.

Once you have a list of keywords that you think can help you make money, Google them and see where you rank. Are you on the first page? Are you already ranking, but not in the top 5? If so, chances are there’s opportunity to make money.

Building Links and Getting Ranked

Building links to long tail keywords isn’t easy, especially when you’re trying to rank for a large number of keywords. Many of the traditional methods of building backlinks, such as guest blogging, article marketing, link baiting and so on just don’t work for long tail keywords.

Why? Because in order for a method to work for long tail keywords, it needs to be scalable. You need to be able to build backlinks for a dozen, two dozen or even a hundred pages all at once.

There are a few scalable ways you can build backlinks to long tail keywords:

1.   Directory submissions – Submit your long tail keywords to dozens upon dozens of quality directories.  Spread your submissions across a few weeks and you will start getting links for your targeted keyword in a steady pace.

2.    Social Bookmarking – Search engines are increasingly using social metrics, such as social bookmarks, tweets or Facebook likes to rank pages. Social bookmarking helps you rank your inner pages/articles/blog posts as these bookmarking sites give out do follow links with anchor text you specify, which can help in ranking those pages for those terms.

These linking strategies won’t work as well if you’re trying to target broad based generic and highly competitive terms as you’ll need to work on more than just these methods as sources of links. However, for long tail keywords, often all you need is a few backlinks and you stand a good chance of ranking for them!

The key to a good backlink strategy is to have a scalable system that’ll work even when you’re targeting a large number of keyword phrases. Outsourced directory submissions (you could use our service Directory Maximizer) and social bookmarking (Social Maximizer) are two of the most effective and cost efficient ways to do that.

So go ahead and start brainstorming ways to take advantage of the long tail. Don’t limit your link building efforts to just the standard search terms. Go above and beyond what you’ve been doing so far and you’ll quickly outstrip your competition.

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Comments

  • Michelle Edwards

    I must say that although this post is outdated, the methods are still up-to date.