Thursday, August 13, 2009

What is a longtail key phrase?

If you read much about SEO you will come across the term "longtail keyword" or its cousin "longtail key phrase."

When search engines started, people tended to search for information on the web by entering a single word at the search engine prompt. So, if they were looking for a new men's suit, they may have typed simply "suit" or "clothes."

Over time, the search engines became more sophisticated providing much higher quality SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages). People stretched the envelope by searching for phrases like "men's suits" or "gaberdine suits."

Still later people began to search for "men's suits in Minneapolis, MN" or "polka dot bikini swim suits." You get the idea. Sure, people were always using long keyword searches but the number grew when they knew the search engines would return valuable websites specific to their search.

My SEO mentor always says "take the low hanging fruit." What he means is that use methods to get people to your website that are not incredibly difficult. Take the easy, low hanging fruit first. The "fruit" is, of course, targeted visitors.

To get your website on the first page of any search engine is getting more difficult each day. To try to get in the first three results for a one or two word key phrase in a comptetive niche is next to impossible since there are many factors that are involved in making that happen.

The longer the search phrase the better chance the searcher is a potential buyer for you. I think that is true. For example, someone searching for "pool maintenance in Paso Robles, CA" is not taking a search joy ride. He is probably wanting to solve a problem he is having with his pool and maybe looking to change who he wants to service the pool. I will gladly pay for that type of lead all day long.

So, if you have a page on your website meta tag titled "Pool maintenance in Paso Robles, CA" coupled with a good creative description meta tag then you may have a good chance of being seen in the search engine. Now put in a nice article on that page with limited use of that keyword phrase "Pool maintenance in Paso Robles, CA" .

This will often be all you need to get on the main page of the search engine. Couple that with well written text on the landing page (good copy) and you are in an outstanding position to pick up some new customers.

And that is the name of the game, isn't it?

Greg Cryns
Expert website design and small business promotion

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