Cats Aren’t The Only Ones With Long Tails

By Whitney Blessington | June 25th, 2012

SEO

So we recently just realized that cats aren’t the only “animals” roaming around The Cabedge Patch with long tails. And these tails really do have a purpose. Ever look at your Google Analytics and wonder how people are truly finding your website? Wait – you do look at your Google Analytics more than once a month, don’t you?
If not, please contact us and we will explain why this is crucial to making SEO decisions for your business. Anyway, I digress. Once you start looking at your GA, one of the things you need to keep in mind are the keyword analysis. This shows you how people truly find your business online. Here are a couple images of what this looks like…

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Notice a pattern? How about the fact that most search phrases have four or less words. The “long tail” of search, or “long tail of SEO” refers to a search phrase that kind of keeps going on and on with details. And, if you think about it, it would make sense to assume that people searching with more words are looking for something more specific; and when people are looking for something more specific than they’re typically pretty close to making a purchase. Check out the example below from a great book that I’m currently reading called the SitePoint SEO kit from AppSumo. Which phrase below do you think represents someone most likely just doing research? Okay, now which phase do you think best represents someone who knows what they want and is likely ready to make a purchase?

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See the bounce rates as well? The search phrase “Red Adidas Shoes with no Laces” has six words, and only a 3.09% bounce rate. So what if it only brings in five visits, look at the far right column above. Isn’t it the sale or conversion that really matters?

Also, keep in mind that as you look at your Google Analytics, keep in mind that there are three types of searches that people do.

Navigational Search- The person wants to find a specific site and remembers the brand but can’t place the correct URL. This is the most common type of search that we find while analyzing Google Analytics accounts (and we analyze dozens on a monthly basis). These queries are the most utilitarian of all – the user either finds the site they’re looking for, or they don’t.

Informational Search – The person is searching for information about a particular topic for which they’d like to learn more. These are important searches, but aren’t necessarily the kind that we want to have our clients focus on optimizing for, as ultimately, the third type of search will truly drive business.

Transactional Search – ding, ding, ding! The person wants to engage in some sort of activity, such as purchasing a product or signing up for a service. If your business is not focusing on optimizing for these types of search terms, then you need to take a real hard look at your SEO strategy. So, while you may look at your Google Analytics and see that these types of transactional searches are hard to come by, they’re typically the ones that do the most for your business’ bottom line.

According to SitePoint SEO, long tail search queries are conducted close to the conversion point, when a searcher has done all their previous research by means of navigational and informational searches, and are now ready for the transactional stage. The book also goes on to point out that upwards of 25% of all searches are unique, meaning the search engines haven’t seen them before.

This seems extremely shockingly high, but interesting. Why? Because for all the keyword analyses that we, and other Nashville SEO companies do, most of the phrases with four words or less can be thrown out the window if we’re looking less at simply wanting to drive traffic and more wanting to increase specific types of conversions for products.

This is where the “long tail” of search strategy can and should be applied. Using this method, your business can focus on keywords that your competitors may be ignoring, and capture a part of the market that is already looking to make a conversion.

 

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