What is a long tail keyword?

I have been writing about the basics of SEO and search based advertising on my blog for quite some time. The common thing in both is that the first interaction in search is always the keyword based search.

Yes, this is the part where our user goes to his favorite search engine (Go Google!) and searches for this keyword. Based on how well this search engine has indexed content, it will display the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

Search is keyword based

This bit, every other person will tell you. That you need to be listed for your main keyword.

What people do not realize is that normal people like you or me are beings which adapt to a situation. In the heydays of Google, one simple search term used to help me find the right content.

Case of Crappy Content

The problem is that since then a lot of things have changed, and the sheer amount of crappy content on the internet has increased.

What this means, is that I do not find the right page even after searching the right term! So what does the normal user do after this?

Well, he refines his search … he adds a couple of other terms after his original term … that whittles the search results by a few thousands … and he keeps doing that until he finally finds the page he wanted! The user started with one term … and has finally ended up with a series of terms! But this set of terms has helped him reach to the right piece of information. That’s what matters in the end.

This set of terms the user used in the search engine is called a long tail keyword.

Long tail keywordThe name is because the number of terms keep on growing over a period of time. The longer the tail, the more specific you get about your search.

As content generation and content indexation in a search engine keep on growing … the number of terms required to recall the correct page also grow. Neil Patel discusses this very matter in a very information post on how content length affects conversions.

What does this mean?

So now you know what is a long tail keyword … but what do yo do with this piece of theory?

Well for starters, you get to understand that the longer the keyword, the more niche the audience. This increases the chances of a conversion (if your keyword research and targeting is spot-on). Longer keywords will have lesser impressions, but higher conversions.

This also means that as time goes by, the pressure on publishers (that’s me and you if you are a blogger!) would keep getting higher to write in a much more well defined fashion. I can certainly see this in my writing which has evolved in the past 3-4 years of writing on this blog.

Now find exactly how many people are bidding for your keyword

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is often becoming the de facto traffic generating mechanism for people who have the pockets. This, in addition to the fact that Google is really aggressive about its growth in the Indian markets puts Google Adwords right up there in the strategy of any digital marketing executive.

I have been working on the Adwords interface for the past 18 months or so now and get excited whenever I discover a new and useful feature in the web app. One such awesome feature is the single keyword bidding tool.

Where do you find this?

You find this feature in the Keywords interface of any campaign. Be sure that you have enough data points (works for a weekly period for most of my keywords).

The tool is only available if you are selecting one single keyword at any point of time.

Google keyword bidding

There is a small bar graph icon for the keyword bidding tool, now simply select this keyword and view the bidding and competitors.

Google Keyword Competitors

What can you do with this?

This data is good, but what can one do with this data? Well, this gives you a wealth of information –

  • How many people are you competing against (for eg. I did not expect ask.com to be running an ad on this keyword)
  • How are you doing vis-a-vis your competitors in SEM (yes, we are beating the crap out of the rest ;-))
  • The approximate budget spends of your competitors
  • A bit more research on the landing pages can help you identify what your competitors are doing right and you are doing wrong

This is one fun tool that the folks have Google Adwords have churned out.

Economics teaches us that when information is provided to everyone, then the wealth extraction within the market is at a maximum. The adwords bidding is one such great example, wherein me (and all my competitors) have the same access to data. The two players who will end up benefiting the most after the correct usage of this tool are bidders who take fast decision and Google.

Will you advertise with this site?

I was checking on my list of target keywords on Google for both SEO and SEM, when I chanced upon “CFA Hyderabad” where we are doing good on both the paid rankings as well as the organic rankings. When I was checking the ad, I noticed that one of the ads was by olx (in case you do not know about this site, do not bother to find out!).

They have recently started advertising in a heavy way (even on TV as well).

Buying advertisements so you could sell your advertising platform? Really? Is that how effective your platform is, that you have to pay to get traffic?

Or are you just trying to siphon off traffic from one of the market leaders?

In fact not quite sure whether they are directly in the advertising space, somewhere between Craigslist and e-Bay. I still wonder, why will anyone pay good money to put advertisements on this site?