Jan 18 2007

Longtail Keyword Research for Seo

I have spent time on many different methods or variations of methods for achieving high Google ranking success. I still hold to the belief that anybody can achieve any ranking on Google if they are determined enough. However I also believe that some rankings aren’t the best to start off with. Could you handle 50,000 visitors a day right now? Most probably not. I know when I started, that much traffic in one day would have killed me. The best way to conquer Google is to gain territory one piece at a time. What I mean by that is start off small with low competition keywords and spread out gaining as many as you can as you work your way up the ladder. If you start out too big you may get disappointed in the wait and drop out however if you go longtail at first as you grow you will begin a steady stream of traffic which will only increase overtime. And that is what this article is about. Long tail traffic can be the most profitable keyword targeting in the business. And keeping them is generally very easy.

By now you should have a pretty good idea of what a Long Tail keyword is. But just in case let me explain it a little more. A Long-Tail keyword is a low competition keyword that has a low search volume. Microsofts Manager once explained it using stacks of pennies. You end up with a few big stacks which represent your high search volume and no-doubt HIGH competition key-phrases. With a trail of single pennies extending as far as the eye can see. If done right longtail traffic can bring in more visitors than a large main-line keyword and are much more targeted which means they convert much better. So no matter how you look at it the longtail of search is the best place to start out and is a investment which will keep giving for a long time to come.

Now I want to dispel a myth about longtail and competitive search phrases. A high number of results in Google for a phrase does not always mean it is high competition and does not mean it can’t be a longtail phrase. There are many key-phrases in Google which have more than 1 million results and are still long tail. In fact there are phrases which have 60 million or more results and are still longtail keywords. So the number of results in Google does not make it a longtail or not.

One pretty good method of telling if a key-phrase is longtail or not is to use Googles built in operators for example the allintitle: operator. So lets test it in this keyphrase which has 60,800,000 results in Google. A allintitle: search gives 9 results. This means only nine pages in Googles index contain these keywords in their title tag. This tells us that if we create a article with the title tag using these keywords we are likely to be able to get this ranking. Now for some keywords it will take more than just the title tag to gain a ranking and later on we will be discussing researching keywords for longtail.
The best thing about longtail is you can write a good resource article and Google will pick it up and rank you for a bunch of them.

We will do some research to find some long-tail phrases to target but keep in mind that there are thousands of keywords that won’t come up in most keyword research tools however still get that small amount of traffic. So you can’t get everything but if you got a blog or resource site the best thing you can do for longtail is write a lot of keyword rich articles that are likely to be helpful to your visitors. Also keep in mind that the shorter the article the less likely it will rank for any longtail phrases. And I cannot stress the point about being useful to your visitors. Writing useful articles has a two-fold harvest. First you will get repeat visits from those people who liked your articles and secondly you are likely to get links to those articles. And whatever you do don’t republish articles from other sites.

Okay lets do some research to find some good longtail key-phrases. We will be using trial versions of the following tools so that you may try these methods out and see what you think. However I totally recommend purchasing each of the tools we will be using. Whether your a large company or a hobby webmaster they will be very helpful to you. But don’t take my word for it. Try them out…

Lets start out doing a little Keyword Research with WordTracker. For this tutorial we will be using the trial version. To sign up you only need a valid email. It takes a few seconds to receive the email and you can begin your trial period. We are going to start off using the key-phrase ‘search engine ranking’. So enter that into the little box and click PROCEED>>.
Because it is the trial the results are taken from Dogpile and MSN so will not be accurate for Google however the longtails are usually similiar. If you purchase the full version you will get to analyze Google.

Okay now some results have popped up. Click the first one which is of course ‘search engine ranking’. Now to the right will appear a bunch of related keywords. Select a few that look like they would have less competition. If you can’t decide just select as many as you want upto 30(trial is 30 max) and then click next. In this tutorial we selected only 9 phrases.

See screenshot

The first phrase which is “search engine marketing ppc placement” has a KEI of 88.2. The KEI is the estimated effectiveness rating which takes into account both the popularity of the keyword and competition. This means the higher the KEI is the more it is searched and/or the easier it is to achieve a ranking for it. So according to WordTracker this is a really good keyword. WT says that on MSN there are 5 sites competing. Naturally on Google it will be much higher. Wordtracker says that there should be an average of 2 people searching for this key-phrase in 24 hours. For a more accurate figure lets go over to KeywordDiscovery. They offer a free trial as well which is really great for beginners to look around and see what they think of the tool before purchasing.

So we go over to Keyword Discovery and check to see what they come up with. KW predicts 117 daily. This is a much higher figure than Wordtracker but then the trial of WoT only databases MSN and MSN has a much smaller search volume than Google and is just 1 of the 3 search engines while Keyword Discovery estimates using all. Now this is probably not the easiest longtail phrase however it is a longtail keyword. There are some longtail phrases that are much easier and produce alot more traffic and these can be found by doing a little research. If your serious about this I highly suggest you buy either WordTracker or Keyword Discovery or both. My personal preference is Keyword Discovery.

When researching keywords use a variety of tools. Take the competing pages, KEI, Google results, Google operators and compare the data. This will help you find real longtail phrases.
I will not give you tutorials through all these tools at this time. Maybe in future articles… But I will give you some pointers in the right direction.

Use Overture Inventory to find lists of keywords to research. Then take them over to WordTracker or Keyword Discovery. Unfortunately the trials of both are limiting in how much can be done at one time.

Use these Keyword Difficulty tools to find longtail phrases. Keyword Difficulty Checker – This tool offers a graph with a numerical value between 1-100 for the competitiveness of the keyword. I saw many 50-60% competition keywords which were longtail and I also saw some 60% keywords that were very very competitive so it isn’t totally accurate at this time.
SeoMoz Keyword Difficulty Tool – This is a grand tool. It provides a lot of cool info. At this time it does not support import/export which I can’t wait for. It would be nice to research a bunch of keywords at once. It also takes a while to research each one but it does give some interesting data.

Keyword Discovery – This tool is very useful for researching keywords for Google. It has a good KEI and search volume index. It is the largest keyword database so far even though it is one of the newest. I use it all the time for keyword researching.

WordTracker – Wordtracker is also a good tool for researching. I like how you can digg keywords down to find the longtail key-phrases then research them all at once.
HitTail – This is a cool tool which analyzes your longtail traffic and gives suggestions to build it up. It requires you install piece of html code on all your pages.

I hope this article has helped you a little in learning what longtail is and how to begin researching it. I didn’t get in depth to much. I may write another sequel article for that. If you would like to see that let me know.

Copyright © 2007, 1st-rankings Co.
This article may NOT be redistributed in any way, shape or form. If you would like to link to the article we would appreciate it.

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5 Comments on this post


  1. Sid Mitely said:

    Interesting article. I know what longtail is and you gave some good tips on it although I would like to see a more in-depth article on Keyword Research. That would interest me.

    You mentioned a longtail phrase in your article. It is related to seo so why don’t you try and get that ranking? I dare you to try it.

    January 18th, 2007 at 4:11 pm
  2. visio said:

    Hello Sid, Thanks for the comments!
    Ahh a dare… I know I could get a ranking for that I am just wondering what type of PPC article to put together. I am best at organic seo although I dabble in PPC. But I probably will do an article on it here sometime.

    January 19th, 2007 at 7:02 pm
  3. Mike Levin said:

    Thanks for the mention. Anyone interested in systematically choosing, targeting, and getting the top position on long tail keywords should check out HitTail.

    February 28th, 2007 at 11:50 am
  4. visio said:

    No problem Mike. I found your tool a while back and knew it would be of interest to my users.
    thank you for providing it free!!

    February 28th, 2007 at 12:31 pm
  5. janey said:

    Thanks for this great article and thanks Mike for the info on HitTail. I was searching for such a great tool and I will be using it now.

    December 2nd, 2007 at 2:36 pm


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