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Long Tail Keyword Choice for Niche Marketing

Selling small quantities each of many products or services, niche marketing to a great many niches, is sometimes called "long tail marketing." It calls for search engine optimization using "long tail keywords." Where does the term "long tail" come from?

Chris Anderson popularized the "long tail" in an October 2004 Wired magazine article. Long tail keywords and niche marketing go together on the Internet. To see the long tail, get a spreadsheet of related keywords with their monthly searches, sort the keywords in decreasing order by searches and make a graph of the searches. You should find a very few keywords with many searches and a long tail of the distribution with few.

Most of us can successfully compete only for keywords in the tail of the distribution. The questions are: Which keywords in the tail? And compete how?

You can divide the keywords four search bands: the super, the high, the medium, and the low search keywords. The border between low and medium searches can be set to somewhere around 500 searches per month; between medium and high around 1000; and between high and super around 10,000.

You are only interested in getting to page one of the search engine results, so when it comes to keywords, competition is bad. Divide the keywords into four bands by level of competition: the super, the high, the middle, and the low competition keywords. (For our purposes here, just use the number of pages containing the keyword as an exact phrase to represent the level of competition.) The boundaries between the low, middle, high, and super competition bands are arbitrary, but setting them to 10,000, 20,000, and 35,000 pages with exact matches is reasonable.

To use a metaphor, the number of searches is the quality of the fruit -- the higher the number of searches, the more ripe, plump, and tasty it is. The level of competition is where the fruit is on the tree. The super competitive keywords are on the tip top branches. The low competition keywords don't even require you stretch. There are two not perfectly consistent principles for harvesting the fruit: (1) harvest the best fruit you can, and (2) pick the low-lying fruit first. Here are some suggestions on how to do that:

1) You can ignore the super competition keywords: unless you are a huge corporation, you will not be able to get to page one of the search engines for them.

2) You can generally ignore those for which the level of competition is higher than the level of searches. They are not worth the effort.

3) Do not target the high competition keywords first. Devote your time where it will do more immediate good.

4) Usually it is worth optimizing web pages by hand only for middle- or higher-band keywords. An exception might be for selling products with a high profit per sale -- provided also the searcher is intending to buy.

5) You could generate web pages for low band keywords -- write the template once and use it many times.

6) You can use the low band keywords in alternative titles of ezine articles. Those articles can reach many potential customers and convince them to click through to your pages. You submit the articles with an article submission service such as Unique Article Wizard or Submit Your Article. Those services submit randomized variations of a single article to hundreds or thousands of article directories. With only a little more effort than submitting one article, you will have many articles spread around the web with titles including the low band keywords. For the keywords in the far reaches of the tail, appearance in a page title, page name, and anchor text of a link (all of which you typically get in an article directory) may be sufficient to gain a position on page one of the search engines. The few searches may well justify the effort of embedding the keyword in one of the titles.

7) There are a lot of searches for phrases the search engines have not seen before. You can devote a page as a destination for these very low frequency keywords. Create a page with a couple of thousand words of text filled with words and phrases related to your topic. When the search engine encounters some semantically-related but not yet indexed query, your page would be a good recommendation. You can also drop low-competition keywords into the text. They will bring a few searches themselves as well as contribute to the semantic classification of the page.

Dividing up keywords into bands by search frequency and by competition can simplify long-tail marketing.

About the Author:

See videos and other information about using long tail keywords for ezine article marketing at ezinearticleshow.com/ In particular, read a discussion of using a long tail keywords tool at: ezinearticleshow.com/UsingtheGoogleKeywordsTool.htm Thomas Christopher is a Colorado Front Range trainer and public speaker.

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