It can be really easy to get sucked into only focusing on a few main keywords in your SEO efforts. However, if you slip into this habit you will lose out on a great deal of opportunity. The reality is there are hundreds of other long tail keywords related to your business that people are searching for.
Smart marketers will not only focus on the main keywords, but also identify opportunity for rankings in less-competitive long tail keywords that can add up to big gains. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to rank for these keywords.
Step 1: Prospecting for opportunity
The first step to this process is to identify the various long tail keyword opportunities available for you to try and optimize for.
With Google’s recent privacy updates and the dreaded “not provided” taking over our reports, it has become harder and harder to do proper keyword research. However, despite these set backs, there are many tools you can use for keyword prospecting, including our very own SEMrush.
One free option that will give you some basic insight into the long tail keywords your current visitors use to get to your website is Google Webmaster Tools. Once logged in, click on the “Search Traffic” menu on the left and then on “Search Queries."
This will give you a listing of the recent keywords users used to get to your website, which you can export into Excel for further analysis.
No matter which tool you use, it’s important to find those keywords that have a decent amount of search traffic. However, say your website is currently not ranking well. It’s an added bonus if the competition is relatively low. These are the best opportunities to rank very quickly and capture that traffic for your website.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to prospect for long tail keywords, here are a few resources to check out:
Step 2: Develop amazing content
Getting your blog ranked is only half the battle. The other half happens once they get to your website. Because of this, steps two through four are extremely important.
You will want to put yourself in the shoes of the people searching for the term. What is going through their head and what problem, or question are they trying to solve? It will help to keep your audience in mind while working through this process so you can relate back to their overall goals and needs.
Once you have the general article strategy developed around the person and search intent, it’s time to create the actual content. Because we are trying to push for SEO rank, I’d recommend making it a bit longer of a piece. Push for an article that is between 1,000-1,500 words of unique content along with pictures and videos to complement the text.
Step 3: Optimize content
After the content has been created, take the time to sweep back through and optimize it based on all the on-page SEO best practices. You can read all about the best practices for on-page SEO by reading the blog post, “On-Site SEO: Anatomy of the Perfectly Optimized Page”
Additionally, take the extra time to include any relevant rich snippets and rel=author tags within the article. This gives even more context to your the article, and increases the possibility of Google including it in the SERPs.
After the content itself is optimize for on-page SEO, you can then move on to developing and updating your website site maps. Create a new site map for “Featured Content” and include each one of these long tail keyword articles. Once created, submit this new sitemap into Google Webmaster Tools for indexing and tracking.
In addition to the page itself, you will want to include all of the images and videos in that article in your existing image and video sitemaps. This will give Google a bit more context around the content and provide richer data for it to index.
Step 4: Drive lead conversion
I think we get obsessed with ranking for a keyword and forget that ranking and driving organic traffic is only the first step. In terms of business metrics, what we should really be focused on is lead conversion.
You will want to pair this long tail keyword blog with a relevant conversion offer (ebook, webinar, whitepaper, etc.) that the person landing on that blog would be excited to download. Create call to actions that you can pair with the blog so you can try and convert as many visitors into leads as possible.
Again, the success of your campaign shouldn’t just be how much traffic you drive to your site from ranking on a long tail keyword; rather, it should be how much of that traffic converts into leads. Thus, this setup is critical to the process and it is important you take the time to properly match the content, personality and buyer stage of the blog with the content of the download.
Step 5: Expedite Google indexing
If you’re relying on a Google (or Bing) bot to find your new content, you might be waiting a bit. There is a way to “poke” Google to have them crawl and index your content sooner than later.
First, log into Google Webmaster Tools and find your website that the content lives on. On the right hand side, click on the menu “Crawl” and then again on the sub-menu item “Fetch as Google."
Then, you will be able to type in the URL for the newly created content and click “Fetch.” This will process for a second and give you two different fetch options. You will want to select “Fetch this page only.”
In addition to “Fetch as Googlebot,” by submitting your new “Featured Content” sitemap and updated image and video sitemaps, this will also give it a bit of priority to crawl your new content.
Step 6: Develop a mini-SEO campaign
Once you have the content created, optimized and published, you will then want to launch a mini-SEO campaign around your piece of content. The goal is to earn links, social shares and build the page rank of that single blog so that it can quickly climb the SERPs.
Here are some resources to help you start developing your own SEO campaign around your long tail keyword blog:
- 101 Ways to Build Link Popularity
In addition to building rank from external sources, you may find it valuable to find places on your own website, then link to this blog to give it some extra push. I would suggest building a “related content” module on the products and services, which are similar to the content of your blog. You can also take the time to link to your new blog from other existing blogs where it makes sense.
Once you get a system down for developing these long tail keywords ranking, it will then be important to integrate it into your normal routine. Doing this process once or twice will have a small impact on organic search overall. However, make it a habit and produce three-to-four per month. Before too long you’ll see a collective push on organic traffic.
Do you have any other ideas or success stories you can add? Comment below; I’d love to hear your input.
Luke Summerfield is the Director of Inbound Marketing at Savvy Panda where he helps lead web and marketing success stories for medium to Fortune 100 companies. Additionally, Luke is also the head instructor of Master Inbound, a comprehensive online Inbound Marketing training course. His last article for SEMrush was "Think Strategic! Where SEO Fits into Content Marketing."