SEO & Your Blog | Pay Attention to the Long Tail


SEO, or search engine optimization, is not a new tool, and certainly not a new topic on Public Relations Blogger, but it can be a new tool for many new bloggers, business owners, and website creators alike. SEO takes some time and effort, but it shortly becomes second nature in your normal blogging or website writing. Search engine optimization is essentially the use of keywords and phrases (hopefully related to your blog or company) that can help increase traffic. When search engines send out "spiders" that crawl the web and record, in a sense, the information on your website, having more keywords and phrases that web users search for can move your website up the search results, in turn brining more traffic to your site.

One vital thing, and perhaps the most effective way of gaining new traffic, is to pay particular attention to the long tail of the keyword curve. Every day, new searches that have never been searched before are made in Google, while simple keywords that are one or two words long are repeated many times. While it may seem illogical to aim for these new searches, it is rather the opposite. When a consumer searches for something like "shoes", there is going to be an endless amount of results, and your website or blog can very easily get lost in the sea of options. In order to differentiate your blog or website, focus on the long tail of the keywords. The graph below from Elliance is a great visual to explain the concept of the long tail.

The chances of your site grabbing the attention of users from the head (or front) of the curve is less likely to occur than capturing those of the long tail. The majority (~74%) of the traffic that comes to this blog comes from search engines. More than 75% of that traffic comes from a term or keyword phrase that was only made once, a single search of a more descriptive phrase that would put them into the long tail. Without much effort, I gather a ton of traffic and potentially new readers by focusing on the long tail searches. Long tail phrases can also bring more than one visitor from search engines. For example, "new public relations tools to benefit your business" has brought more than two dozen visitors in the last two weeks, but it still only accounts for 1.4% of my traffic. In the last month alone, 1,244 searches brought this blog traffic.

Try out different phrases, use Google's keyword tool to get ideas, and experiment; marketing and public relations is all about figuring out what works and what doesn't. If this doesn't work immediately, don't give up; it may take time for the search engines to record your site's data. Keep optimizing, pay attention to the long tail, and offer great content.

Any other tips for SEO and the long tail? Leave a comment!

Comments (2)


November 13, 2009 at 5:43 AM

I just read an article that recommended marketers ignore Digg in favor of more traditional social media sites, which seems rather goofy advice. For one thing, submitting to Digg takes mere seconds. If you don't have seconds to click a Digg This button, you need to manage your time better.

If you're in pursuit of long-tail results, that few seconds may just result in some surprising results, because you'll improve backlinks, and you just may get a surprising long-tail result that you'd never get on Twitter and Facebook.

I think the marketers who are ignoring Digg have some serious tunnel vision, and aren't thinking laterally.

Ashley Wirthlin

November 16, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Thanks for the comment; it's nice to hear more on a topic, and it's interesting to hear about advice floating around from marketers.

I agree that Digg is helpful, and something that takes little to no effort is worth the time.

Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing more from you!


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