23/01/2013

Think like the customer to attract long-tail keyword traffic

In the last post, we looked at using broader anchor text as the base for your outbound links and how those links should comprise a whole thought.

The same SEO tactic applies whether you are linking to another of your own articles or to another domain. 

There are, however, other distinct advantages to stretching your links over longer anchor-text.  Firstly, we'll look at long-tail keyword search.

How do you decide what phrases to use for your long-tail keywords?


There are two methods - think like an average Joe customer or be more scientific and use Google's External Keyword Tool.

In this post, we’ll look at your article, what traffic it’s trying to attract and how to think like a customer to attract relevant visitors. Tomorrow, we’ll look at the Keyword Tool.

Before you do either, decide what the keyword(s) for your article are going to be, both primary and secondary. They should be, in all circumstances, what your article is about.
photo credit: Ed Yourdon via photopin cc
If you are ranking for a keyword phrase, surfers expect to find answers for their query when they land. Immediately. If your article even looks like going off-topic, they'll 'bounce'.

Ideally, you want one primary (focus keyword), and two or three secondary to support the focus keyword so your post does not look like Spam.

The fewer keywords you use, the more specific your post will be. Don’t try to rank for ten keywords with one post - you ‘dilute’ your page’s strength.

Don't over-complicate long-tail keyword research 


The first option, then: 'think like a customer'. It's probably best if we look at an example, rather than go in and out of Meg's arse for an explanation.

If your article is about the migration of ducks from Iceland to the Indian Subcontinent in winter, make sure the keywords you use are distinct.

You could choose the word 'ducks' as your main keyword and then 'frozen', 'Iceland' and 'Indian' as your secondary keywords.

Logical, Captain? Erm, let's look at the results, Spock, before we corroborate your evidence.

If you put those four words alone into a Google search tool, comma separated, you'll see a list of Iceland stores around the UK that sell Chinese and Indian frozen duck.

English: Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) a...
Find your Ruddy Shelduck, not the nearest Iceland
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Great if you're throwing a last-minute dinner party. Bog useless if your article is about the migration habits of the Ruddy Shelduck or Ring-necked duck.

If, however, you then type in the phrase: “duck migration frozen iceland to indian”, you get a completely different set of SERPs.

And that's purely because your second search is more specific. The insertion of 'migration' ('to' is a stop-word and not indexed) tells Google a completely different story.

This is where the use of long-tail keywords comes into its own. Think of phrases that someone would enter into Google search if they were querying the information your article sets out to explain.

For the above example, you could target: “When do ducks migrate from Iceland to India?” or, ”How long does it take for ducks to migrate from Iceland to the Indian Subcontinent?”

Your anchor text would be “ducks migrate from Iceland to India/the Indian Subcontinent”. Delete as appropriate to the query you target.

Your link should then go to an article on your site relevant to that phrase or an authority site in your niche with similar or more in-depth information.

And there you have the complete ‘think like the customer’ loop:

  • customer search query
  • strong long-tail keywords to match  
  • relevant link to sales/authority page 
  • your reputation enhanced 
  • maybe even a sale 

And that’s all because you’ve provided the customer with what they came for by anticipating how they would be searching for it.

Join us tomorrow when we replace the blue-sky method with the blue chip way of doing things.
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