Publishing content regularly has become essential for a company to exist on the web. It has also become, by necessity, an opportunity for a brand to demonstrate its expertise to its audience. And we must recognise that the time when it was enough to publish a simple promotional message as website content has passed. It is no longer sufficient. If you want to drive traffic and build customer loyalty, improve your visibility to the audience and strengthen engagement with your community, you’ll need to produce quality content that goes beyond the mainstream business dialogue.
And to produce the right content in the right format at the right time, you need a robust content strategy.
At Edit Place we strongly believe that content strategy is drawn from data itself. We believe that a content strategy aimed at increasing your traffic must be based on SEO and that therefore everything begins with analysis of long-tail keywords. Let’s look at the issue in more detail.
What is long-tail SEO?
Before exploring the theme of SEO and content strategy, it is important to trace back the concept of long-tail SEO.
Thelong-tail approach was developed in 2004 by Chris Anderson, while he was editor of the California-based magazine Wired.
Taking the example of Amazon, he noted that out of an immense catalogue, the total of products with a low volume of sales represented a market share equal or greater than the high-volume salesof bestsellers. This had the consequence of contradicting the famous Pareto Principle, also known asthe law of 80/20.
Focusing on long-tail and therefore always having low demand products can become very profitable because of less fierce competition. Are you following us so far?
So if all companies focus on the 20% of the market accounting for 80% of profits (the Pareto Principle), competition increases and the profit per market share decreases.
On the other hand, focusing on the 80% of the market that is less popular can be very profitable.
This is a theory that has yet to prove itself, as the concentration of the market pushes the tendency towardsa focus on bestsellers. If you want to go further, we recommend this article.
If we transpose the concept oflong-tail to the principles of SEO, we come to the conclusion that the few keywords with a high search volume lead to a smaller amount of traffic than all keywords with a low search volume. This makes more sense in terms of finding information on the web,in light of the fact that Google estimatesthat 15% of all searches typed into its search engine are new queries.
Let’s take makeup as a concrete example:
The short-tail keywords are generic queries consisting of one or two words with a high search volume. In our glamorous and glittery example, we find makeup, cheap makeup, eye makeup.
These keywords are the focus of attention and thus increased competition. This is illustrated in the picture below showing a profusion of ads sponsored by Google. Find out here how to choose your keywords with Google Keyword Planner.
The conversion rate is generally low because it is a very vague query, and it’s not possible to detect the intentions of the person behind the smartphone or PC.
SEO long-tail keywords are precise and contextualized queries. For example: “how to conceal dark circles with makeup”. Behind this request we can extrapolate that the person searching online is looking for tips to hide the signs of tirednessaround their eyes due to a build-up of work over the last three years and appear radiant in the office to encourage the loyalty and commitment of their team… OK,we’re taking it to extremes, but it does give you a good insightinto what really motivates your audience.
The more precise the query, the higher the conversion rate. Let’s be specific again with another example. If you are looking for a pair of trainers and you type in the search engine “women’s red Nike running shoes” you are more likely to find what you’re looking for and add it to your basket than if you type in the simple word “trainers”. It makes sense!
Long-tail keywordsmake for more valuable traffic, hence the interest indefining and analysing them.
And since a picture is worth a thousand words, here is a diagram:
Rely on the long-tail approach to build a content strategy
When building a content strategy, with the main channel of increasingtraffic being natural referencing, we must put together a list of keywords on which we want to position ourselves.
Of course it is difficult or even futile to position yourself on generic, short-tail keywordsif you have a new website or a smallpresence on the web. It is therefore essential to make the long-tail approach the foundation of your SEO strategy.
The long-tailapproach will not only serve to reference your site, it will also allow you to shape your content production, the templates of content pages, the architecture of your site and your editorial scheduling. It will also help you to detect trends emerging in your industry.
Categorise your long-tail keywords and build your site map
Through analysing long-tail keywords, we candeduce the intentions of users and create specific pages corresponding to their expectations. The next step, to guide content production towards the right themes, sub-themes and topics, is to categorise the keywords.
Take our example on eye makeup.
Exploring the long-tail approach to eye makeup, two groups are rapidly formed around the theme of eye makeup. Obviously there are dozens of others.
So if tomorrow wewere to set up a blog on makeup, we couldbase its structure on the followinglong-tail keywords:
The power of the long-tail
Long-tail SEO is a goldmine for any self-respecting Content Strategist, and like a clairvoyant reading tea leaves, they will be able to interpret the keywords and help to shape content productionby combining site performance withusefulnessto the intended audience.
In our example on eye makeup, wecan now say, even though we’re not beauty experts, that we will create an “Eye Makeup’category page on the blog that will bring together all our articles on eye makeup tips.
Then wecreate folders on the types of concerns of ourpotential readers: for example ‘How to make up your eyes according to their colour’ with some generic ideas and tips.
Finally, inside these folders we will include page files of our articles such as make-up for blue, green, brown, or round eyes, almond-shaped eyes and so on.
How to uselong-tail keywords to position yourself on high-volume keywords
By using long-tail SEO, the website will nurture the flowering of semantic buds useful for the reader and also useful for the recognition ofthe site by the Great God Google.
By creating an array of folders, articles and categories on eye makeup with an intricate interwoven structure between these pages, we will give more weight to our pages in the category ‘eye makeup’. In this way we can, over time, (preaching and teaching patience to customers being essential qualities for an SEO project manager) position ourselves on a keyword with a higher search volume. QED.
Understand the intentions of your audience through the long-tail approach
Let’s go mad and take the example of the search ‘makeup blue eyes’.
Since we’ve got something to work with…
What’s behind this request? Very simple: just ask Google!
Photos are in prime position on the search results page, followed by a video. It may seem self-evident, but if you create a website on the theme of makeup, you must attach great importance to visuals. It may sound obvious but remember, we rely on data to build our strategy!
What we also see on the search page is that there are no sponsored ads which suggests that users entering this request are not primarily motivated to buy, but are seeking advice instead. So if you are an online shop that sells makeup products, you should advise and interest your audience first and then offer them your most appropriate products based on their search.
In terms of page size on this query, you can also infer that an article shown with a video or photo slide show is more likely to capture the user than a product listing. But deducing is not enough, so you should also scrutinise the competition that appears at the top of the search result pages.
The analysis of the search results page also allows us to determine what we are going to talk about on the page dedicated to makeup for blue eyes.
Finally, why not focus on the colour of the make-up rather than the colour of the eyes? There are different shades to test on one’s eyes and certainly anglesto explore in the articles. Basing yourself on the data does not prevent you from being creative!
There are still many tricks to exploiting the long-tailapproach and new interpretations of the search results pages. These includetrends, seasonality, linking of pages and topics and so on. But this is probably enoughto be going on with.
Not only keywords…
Basing yourself on long-tail SEO keywords is just the beginning of the story when it comes to the content strategy you have decided upon.
Keywords cannot replace editorial management of your site.
Also, it’s important to note that a good strategy is to create content that is right for your target audience. You have to question yourself about your legitimacy to speak and how to talk about this or that subject.
Finally, keywords are only a prerequisite for success in your content strategy. You need to be bold and creative in terms of editorial angles and analysis. Get off the beaten track and offer quality content and innovative formats. Creativity is intelligence laced with a touch of humour!
And don’t forget to relay the message to your community of social networks!
One last tip: Rome was not built in a day. It can take a long time to develop your strategy and you should factor that into your timelines, even if we personally would want fast results once the content is in place. It often takes between 12 and 18 months to reap the benefits of all that hard work.
So be careful not to get ahead of yourself,and set up a system well in advance to measure the performance of your content.
You’ll need to analysethe long-tail SEO of your theme again and again. If you need help, contact our great SEO and Content Strategy team!
This article has been translated by a freelancer from Edit-Place Community. Click here to join