Though many businesses focus their efforts on ranking high for short keyword terms in the hope of generating large amounts of traffic from popular search phrases - this is an ineffective strategy. Efforts that are funnelled towards fewer keyword phrases are generally poor long term strategies, as the popularity of keywords can change with trends and time.
Additionally, shorter keyword terms often have much greater competition and therefore take more energy and effort before you see results. On the flip side, diversifying your traffic by targeting multiple long tail searches can provide you large amounts of traffic. Also, because you are providing more specific responses to the needs of the reader, the traffic is more valuable and more likely to convert. The introduction of Google Hummingbird is yet another factor contributing to the importance of the long tail search as voice searches create more specific, question related searches.
Traditionally the way to create content with a focus on long tail keyword terms has been relatively straight forward. The process involved researching a list of long tail keyword phrases and creating a page focused on each of these phrases. You would then use these phrases in your meta-descriptions and title tags and promote the page by posting it on your social media account. This may also be complimented by spinning content and writing multiple entries with similar themes over time.
The problem with this old method is that keyword phrases now hold less relevance in an SEO context and these pages aren’t actually solving problems, providing value or adding a good user experience. If you want to create quality long tail content you should be focused on filling a gap in knowledge rather than a gap in keyword searches.
Creating quality content is only a matter of following solid foundations. It requires good research, effective execution and consistent promotion.
Before you begin researching topics, list the areas you want to focus on in your niche. This is because when researching you may find gaps in the market where there are questions you could answer but are not directly relevant to your site or your goals. In this case, having a predetermined list of topics ensures you don’t stray too far from your intentions.
Once you have some ideas, begin by using a keyword software such as Google Keyword Planner, to see what long tail terms are being searched for. Expand on this by finding other businesses in your niche and reviewing their content for ideas. There are dozens of places you can look to find out what specific problems customers in your niche are experiencing. Some areas to look for ideas are forums, twitter searches, Facebook and blog comments and yahoo questions.
By reading what others in your niche are writing you should get a feel for the type of information your market likes to consume. Look at your competitions most popular posts and try to spot any trends. Popularity can be judged by social media markers such as Facebook likes and shares, twitter re-tweets and blog engagement. For example, are short blog posts with lists popular in your niche, or do the readers respond to more in depth articles?
Execution also involves the maintenance of the quality of the article. If after a couple of months there are common comments that are addressing issues with your piece or the advice of the content becomes dated, don’t hesitate to update it in order to improve it.
Aside from obviously promoting your articles on social media, where possible you should be responding directly to the questions you came across in your research. You can comment in similar blog posts and on forums to give people the value directly and build your status as an authority in the niche.
Understand that a lot of traffic can be generated by long tail search content. Making sure your traffic comes from a diverse range of sources is key to maintaining long term stability in the search engines. Make sure you stay on top of the Google updates and follow the effect that changes such as Hummingbird have on long term keyword searches.