Long Tail Optimization vs Keyword Optimization

I recently read an article about long tail optimization that started me thinking about some of the points that this blog author had talked about.

In response to a question about long tail optimization, the blog author stated “I don’t think that optimizing for the long tail is actually optimizing at all”.  I’m not 100% sure that I agree with this statement and have seen the effects of how long tail optimization can bring an incredible amount of traffic.

Here’s why.  In analyzing the keywords and keyword phrases that were being used to find one of my websites, I noticed that there were 2 new visitors that arrived searching for one particular keyword phrase.  In researching this further in the logs, I found that I had attracted these visitors because one of my articles had the term “eye socket” contained within the article, not even one of the keywords I was using for any search engine optimization.  It was however, a phrase that was very relevant to the domain in question and something that would possibly provide some conversions if I could successful attract traffic to my site.

To experiment with long tail optimization, I quickly researched an article and wrote one using the long tail phrase that I had found these 2 visitors had used to find my site.  I made sure the long tail phrase was used as the title.  This article was published on August 28, 2008.

As of December 31, 2008, that single article had received 738 views.  Of those 738 visitors, 78.6% of them read more articles on the site, and just over 32% of them met several of my goals I had established for visitors.  From one article, that’s pretty amazing statistics from a single article.  The article now occupies the Number 1 position in Google, MSN Live and Yahoo search.  Even as I am typed this article, there were another 3 people who visited the site and accessed this particular article.

With it becoming more and more difficult to rank for many of the profitable and highly competitive keywords and with many sites having thousands of pages ranked, with thousands of links, long tail optimization allows you to attract quality traffic.  Keep in mind, most people do not search for a single word, they use a phrase.  It is much easier to rank for long tail keyword phrases than it is for the single words.

Long tail optimization will also make your articles much more readable, thus increasing the user experience at your website.  The more easily an article is to read, the more likely they are to return in the future.

Just think of how you perform searches.  The ability of the search engines to find the information I am searching for when I type a phrase is amazing.  Rarely do I find myself using a single keyword.  I type a phrase or a few words resembling a phrase to peform my search.

Remember, examine the keyword phrases being used to find your site, pick several long tail keyword phrases and develop a few articles around those long tail phrases.  Using this long term optimization process, you should start seeing traffic arrive to your site.  Long tail optimization in my opinion, plays a very important role in search engine optimization and in driving targeted, relevant traffic to a website.

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About Barry Wheeler

Barry Wheeler is a blogger, novice SEO, geek and passionate Newfoundlander. Operating several successful websites and online communities, Barry has started exploring the social internet and its impact on all facets of society including personal life and business relationships. Find Barry on Twitter @barrywheeler and FaceBook or on his website Barry Wheeler - Blogging for Success.
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