Optimizing Web Content – The Long-Tail Search

April 28, 2009

We are going to chat a bit today about one of my favorite topics – the long-tail search. You see, when people arrive at your web site, they are there for primarily one of three reasons:

  1. Research information
  2. Browse your services or products
  3. Buy your services or products

In order to accommodate their needs, you must have information, and consequently pages, written just for them.  Let me give you an example:

Let’s take a jewelry business that handcrafts women’s sterling silver bracelets.  The high level pages of the web site should give information about the jewelry overall.  The keywords used for these are simple, short keywords.  With this company, the keywords for the high level pages are jewelry, bracelets, women’s bracelets.  Makes sense, right?  After all, these pages are to help people understand how beautiful the jewelry is, how it fits their particular style, how it’s made from sterling silver, and how it is the ideal bracelet for you, the ideal prospect.

Then come the long-tail keywords.  Long-tail keywords or key phrases are three to four words that specifically identify or describe what the person wishes to find in a search engine. With our jewelry store, they would include phrases like women’s sterling silver bracelets, or sterling silver beaded bracelets, or even silver turquoise woman’s bracelet. 

People who use long-tail searches are typically buyers.  They are looking for something very specific to fulfill a need and do not want to waste time on web pages that do not meet that desire.  So, if you optimize your web page for a very specific phrase, then that phrase better be the focus of the page.  You would not, for example, want to optimize a page for sterling silver red beaded bracelets and then only have turquoise bracelets on the page.

I find that the best way for me to lay out my keywords and key phrases is to use a web site map.  Having a layout of the design of the site gives me the opportunity to determine the best use of the keywords and key phrases, allowing for creation of compelling and unique content, while not overusing any particular keyword or phrase.  It’s much like you would lay out a brick and mortar store – you want to think about your customer, what they see when they walk in the door, where they would go next, and how you want to lay out each section to best accommodate their purchasing habits.  Make your web site each for your shoppers to use – whether they are researching, browsing or buying, you want to give great content to each of them, and make it easy to find.

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