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Keywords – the long tail

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Saturday July 1, 2006 )

Another thing to bear in mind regarding the no.1 or no.2 spot for very popular keywords is what we call in Australia the “tall poppy syndrome”. Once you’re at number one, everyone is gunning for you and all sorts of nasty tricks can be played by disgruntled competitors. If you’re a one-man show, you’re much better off spending your time on developing your site rather than trying to fend off attacks such as pagejacking.

As a small operator, sometimes it’s safest to fly below the radar a little in order not to attract the wrong type of attention when it comes to search engine optimization. “Slowly, slowly catchee monkey” as the old saying goes.

Learn more about keyword strategies

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I was looking at my traffic statistics for June earlier on and as always, I’m amazed at the number of different keyword combinations people have used in search engine queries which lead them to Taming the Beast.net. For the month of June 06, it was over 20,000 different combinations for one of our site’s sections – and June was a particularly quiet month!

The focus of many site owners is to get the no.1 position for the most popular keywords and phrases and often it’s in vain. I’ve never really gone about keyword optimization that way, except in some relatively small niches, as I realized earlier on in my marketing career that you can spend a lot of time on that strategy with little result – competition for those spots can be fierce and particularly brutal.

I’ve usually focused what’s known as “the long tail” – high rankings on multiple keyword terms that are semi-popular and as a consequence of this, perhaps obtaining mid-range first page rankings on more popular keyphrases. This is not a stategy by any means unique to me; many major online companies report that over 50% of their sales are generated by clients who have arrived on their sites as a result of a less popular keyphrase search.

By going about search engine optimization in this fashion, I’ve found that baseline stability has usually been fairly good. As a result of this approach, we’ve also occasionally scored no.1 or 2 on very popular 2 word terms, even 1 word terms from time to time – but as a side effect, not a focus. Those occurences are the cream rather than the bread and butter.

A lesson I learned recently was not to get too used to the cream, which is a real danger if you have top spots in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) for very popular terms for a while. When you achieve that sort of success, there’s always the danger on losing focus and concentrating on those terms only; forgetting the bread and butter “long tail” strategy.

Another thing to bear in mind regarding the no.1 or no.2 spot for very popular keywords is what we call in Australia the “tall poppy syndrome”. Once you’re at number one, everyone is gunning for you and all sorts of nasty tricks can be played by disgruntled competitors. If you’re a one-man show, you’re much better off spending your time on developing your site rather than trying to fend off attacks such as pagejacking.

As a small operator, sometimes it’s safest to fly below the radar a little in order not to attract the wrong type of attention when it comes to search engine optimization. “Slowly, slowly catchee monkey” as the old saying goes.

Learn more about keyword strategies



 

 
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