Onsite SEO

Longtail Keywords for SEO : Find, Use, Thrive.

By | keyword research, Onsite SEO, SEO education, seo seattle | No Comments

longtail keywords for targeted traffic

Many people (including SEOs) don't properly understand what longtail keywords are, so I thought I could ask my friend the Diplodocus to help illustrate the idea. While longtail keywords do usually have more words in the search phrase then head keywords, this isn't the key point.  What is key is the specificity and relative uniqueness of the search.  There is also usually a smaller amount of monthly searches.  Simply put, longtail keywords are more specific, lower search volume searches that tend to have much lower competition for ranking then do most head keywords.  Because of this, using these longtail keywords naturally for page titles, in meta descriptions, in your content, in your social campaigns, and really anywhere naturally can bring direct targeted traffic to your website.  Like everything else you do online, the use of longtail keywords needs to be a contribution to the internet, not a manipulation of it. However, with proper etiquette and a strong strategy, longtail keywords are a very power way to drive visitors with relatively little work once the content and optimization have been completed.


Who Cares About Penguin and Panda!

Well, most of us in the online marketing world do but the point is that with longtail keywords, you can care significantly less.  Not because you are immune, but because you won't be doing anything that would even remotely trigger a penalty.  Yup, that's right, very often there is no need to build backlinks or send social signals.  No need for viral content, or optimizing every last detail of a content piece.  With longtail keywords – especially when you have really isolated long competition longtail keywords – you can simply get your page indexed and ranked on the first page just because it exists.

Yes, I know, the Google algorithm is complex and there are over 200 different correlations related to why pages rank.  But here's a secret… Google is a giant index!  When there is little or no competition, they are simply looking for either an exact match (best) or the next most relevant result to match your search, period. 


Manual Ways To Uncover Longtail Keywords Using GKWT

Alright, so this isn't revolutionary information, but as you know, using the Google Keyword Tool, you can uncover a lot of longtail keywords.  Google offers up to around 800 related results when you search on GKWT.  Depending on the niche, I can general generate up to 200 LTKW (longtail keywords) from the first search like this.  Here are a couple more tips to increase this number still using the free GKWT:


Switch out of [exact] and back to 'broad'

Although using GKWT is generally best done and most accurate (for our purposes) when searching using the [exact] parameter, once you have established a seed base of keywords, if you enter those into the tool and then search broad terms only, you’ll get a lot more variation.  Don’t be selective on based on volume, just grab terms that are related to your seed terms.  Now armed with more keywords, enter them back into the [exact] search to filter out any that have no volume.  For whatever reason, Google won’t always show you all of the related [exact] terms when you only search in [exact].  Bringing keywords over from broad can expand your list.


Double dip your search in the GKWT cheese

Not sure what that heading means, but I know what I meant:  GKWT won't always give you all related terms the first time through.  Do a thorough once over of the initial keywords they give you, pulling the most relevant.  Now, re-enter those back as your new seed keywords and believe it or not, Google will give you more! 

See what Google is giving you under "seaches related to"

Take your top 5 primary LTWK and Google them.  What does Google give you as related results at the bottom of the first page?

Google Searches Related To Suggestions

These may or may not have much volume, but you know Google considers them relevant.  I wrote about ways to use these relevant keywords that Google provides in a post here.


Using Multiple Longtail Keywords On One Blog Post or Page

Again, a longtail keyword isn't defined by its search volume or number of words in the phrase.  Yes, there is consistency with this, but it isn't the key point.  You could have a longtail keyword with 5000 exact monthly searches or one with less than 10.  That said, who should you decide when to use a LTKW in a page title or paragraph heading?  How many should you use on a page?  Well, this is relative, but here are some tips to get the most out of your longtails:


Unless you want to build links and invest time and money, don't get competitive

There is no point in building pages using longtail keywords that are completive, unless your plan from the beginning is to do the work necessary to compete.  Just like head keywords, LTKW that are completive will require a sustained investment of time and energy to build relevance and authority.  The beauty of many LTKW is that they are low competition or even zero competition.  Don't get cocky.  Make sure you know how to judge keyword competition.


Mixing search longtail keywords on one page based on search volume

So if I had a massive content budget and endless time, I would create one page for every single LTWK that I wanted to use.  Unfortunately, spending time and money to optimize a page for a LTWK that has less than a few hundred monthly exact searches may not create a positive ROI.  Instead, you can find a higher monthly search volume LTKW to use for the primary page title / theme and incorporate lower search volume LTKWs into paragraph headings and general text.  For example:

  • Primary LTKW with monthly search volume of 500+ gets incorporated into my page title
  • Secondary LTKW with monthly search volume of 200 – 500 gets used as an H2 – H4 paragraph heading
  • Third level LTKW with monthly search volume of 50 – 200 gets sprinkled naturally into the body text.

Not only have I found a way to use these LTKWs on one page, but I am creating a theme of relevancy on that page for the search engines to understand.


Don't Over Do It With Longtail Keywords

The two most frequent things I see people doing with LTKWs that simply aren't effective or can lead to trouble are targeting competitive LTKWs, and using too many and in an unnatural way on their websites.  This post is meant as somewhat of a guide and while not techical, assumes that you are practicing solid and contributary website publishing.  That is, you are a real business adding quality content to the internet.  Armed with longtail keywords, someone like this can fluorish.  Just armed with longtail keywords and not much else and you won't get very far. 




4 On Page SEO Tips To Push Link Juice And Increase Indexing

By | Onsite SEO, SEO education, seo seattle | No Comments

advanced onpage seo strategies to push link juice and increase indexingSEO consultants still have varying techniques for how they do on page SEO.  With the advent of Panda and the push towards a more natural and inbound marketing experience, old school SEO tactics aren't as effective and can be dangerous.  Obviously keyword stuffing has been taboo for a while, but now many SEOs are staying away from any meta data, h1 or other traditional onpage SEO tactics.  Instead, they advocate 100% natural content with little or no mind of keywords or SEO.  "Just write awesome content and it will be found and shared" they say.  Well, while over-opitimization on your website can be an issue, but I'm here to tell you that onpage SEO is alive a well.  I'll write about onpage basics and how I set up a page in another post, but for now I'm actually going to jump a head a bit and cover some things you hear less about.  These things can make a difference in how your site is indexed by Google and how the linkjuice is passed around your site – helping your pages rank.  I'm going to keep it all as simple and strait forward as possible.  One last note before we begin…..there is nothing wrong with creating high quality, natural content with no mind to keywords or SEO and in fact, I do this regularly.  As SEOs however, we need to cover and be on top of what works when we need it.


H2 Tag Optimization For Framing Your Search Engine Position

I'm going to talk about site structure and silos in another point in this post, but the concept here is similar.  It used to be that SEOs used h2 tags (amongst others) to drop keywords in (maybe LSI or phrase match) to try and get more bang for their buck.  While this is still relevant, you do need to be mindful of over-optimization.  What I now do and I have found from experience which seems to help the page and the entire site rank is I create an ongoing theme for the site via my h2 tags.  If you look at your h2 tags as an opportunity to drop in words and titles that are most relevant to your entire website, your business, and your industry, you are setting up a theme or structure that tells Google over and over where you belong.  It's almost branding to Google directly.  For example, the h2 title to this paragraph doesn't have any keywords I've targeted at all.  I made it up as an appropriate description of the paragraph, but was mindful to use words that are relevant to my industry and site.  This is natural and relevant and yet, intentional.


Category Silo Structure On Your Website To Prevent Theme Bleeding

This can get confusing quickly, so I'll try to keep it simple.  Basically you want to set up your website, pages, and posts so that structurally, there are 'buckets' that groups of pages or posts fall into.  Themes if you will.  It's easier to understand when you think of WordPress categories and posting similar posts into the same category.  What you are looking to do is to keep the interlinking within each silo up until the 'end' of that silo, at which point you point it to the beginning of another silo or prominent page on your site.  Here's a visual example:

SEO silo structure example

Image courtesy of Dan Raine from his Silo Plugin

In this way you are keeping as much of the link juice within a particular category or silo and thus developing a theme for the search engines to follow, notice, and index you.  Another way of saying it would be how and where you publish into a silo on your site tells Google how and where to index your new page.  The search engines are complex.  Helping them by assigning content to organized structures within your site that they understand makes their job easier and your traffic grow.


Stop Link Bleeding Through Mindful Interlinking On Your Website

Ok, so this one is fairly simple, but widely misunderstood – especially by many novice SEOs.  At one point PageRank sculpting was everywhere and people understood it as mainly using nofollow links on your website to direct the flow of link juice so it would accumulate where desired, thus forming increased PageRank.  Well, Google wised up quickly and addressed this both to us at large and via their algorithm, effectively making this practice obsolete.  Because of this, many people hear the term PageRank sculpting and think it's bad or you cannot do it anymore, but they are wrong.  Maybe it's a you say potate-o, I say potaato kinda thing, but PageRank sculpting or the elimination of link bleeding can make a major difference in your rankings.  Here's what I mean:

First and foremost your interlinking and hyperlinks on any page should be set up for proper user experience.  Next, you are looking at silo structure and site architecture – what makes sense and is logical.  Next, if you are mindful of interlinking for SEO, you will be looking at how you may pass link juice on a page to anther page – possibly using internal anchor text hyperlinks to tell users and spiders what page is what.  Ok, good, now you’re done, right?  No, now you need to go back and cut.  In the same way that people used to try to use nofollow links to preserve link juice (this doesn't work btw and is a gross misunderstanding of how Google passes link juice and PageRank), you need to eliminate unnecessary links or pages that are draining your juice.

For example, maybe there are pages on your site that can be combined, but that you currently have as two separate pages. A privacy policy page and terms of service page can be made into a single page.  Another thing I see all the time is a top level menu for users and then the same menu somewhere in the middle of the page, followed by the same menu in the footer.  Are you kidding?  If it's absolutely necessary and functional, ok.  Otherwise, you are literally bleeding all over the place.   Lastly, do you really need that footer menu listing your privacy policy on every page of your site?  No.  The privacy policy is mainly for the search engines.  List it in the footer on your homepage and then get rid of that link on all of your other pages.


Include "Searches Related To Your Keyword" In The Body Of Your Post

Targeting and incorporating longtail keywords into your posts and pages is a great way to increase targeted traffic without needing to compete much.  I have a post on proper longtail keyword SEO brewing in my mind, but for now, let's talk about the longtail keywords that Google gives you and that you can use directly in your content.  When I Google "how to target longtail keywords", aside from the search results, at the bottom of the page I get "searches related to how to target longtail keywords" and then a list of the following searches:


  • what is a long tail keyword
  • how to find long tail keywords
  • seo long tail keywords
  • what are long tail keywords phrases
  • how to use long tail keywords
  • long tail keyword research
  • long tail search strategy
  • long tail keyword search


Not only has Google given me 8 longtail keywords that I can use in a my post about longtail keywords, but they have given me what they consider to be the most relevant search terms related to what I am searching for.  This means they are telling you what is relevant and how create a them for your post that they will understand.  Now how you include theses terms in your post is up to you.  They can be naturally in the text, you could use them in h2,h3, or h4 tags, or even some as hyperlinks to external or internal pages.  Regardless, you are framing relevancy to Google that they have told you they recognize.  The only caution I would add is to be mindful of overuse of specific keyword combinations.  Get creative, it will pay dividends.

Each of these points I've written about is a solid way to increase your onsite optimization for the search engines.  While different in approach, they all represent practical means to naturally benefit your site.  The architecture and silo structures are quite powerful, but usually require advanced planing and site adjustments.  H2 and longtail keyword optimization, using the points discussed above are easier to implement and can be used in your next post.  Eliminating link bleeding is something you can do in stages.  Don't bring out the chainsaw right away!