Long tail search for B2B [video]

Hello. We’re going to talk about long tail search today. Slight change of form if you’re used to watching my video blogs, they’re a little bit more produced than this is, and the next 3 are going to be somewhat in this format. Leanna, who normally produces my videos, is in New York, Talon who’s being trained is already becoming great, but he’s got a lot on his plate, so I’m going to make the format quite simple. Also I’m traveling, so I need to do them remotely anyway. So, slightly different format, but I’m going to dive into some topics that lend themselves to this onscreen capture format. I’ll get off your screen in a second, but I thought I’d show you my nice garden.

I want to talk about long tail search, and let me explain why that’s worth understanding and mastering. A significant proportion, and I’ll show you some scary numbers in a moment, but a significant proportion of the search traffic that you can optimize for are for phrases that you wouldn’t think to optimize for, and on pages that you wouldn’t bother to optimize. There’s a lot of untapped gold in search engine optimization, it’s not just about your hero pages. I’m going to show you something off Math Marketing’s site to give you a sense of why this is even worth buggering about.

There’s our traffic over the last few years, showing you quite a bit of confidential information here, so don’t tell anyone. We’ve been averaging around 5,000 visits a month, order of magnitude. It’s steadily growing, had a nice few months, but it’s generally been steadily growing. What’s key about that? Let’s take a look at the Google search traffic over that same period. You can see that the Google search traffic has been, this is search of course, but specifically on Google, has been growing fairly steadily from around 2,000 a month to around 4,000 a month. Now, clearly, we’re really happy with that. Where does that traffic come from?

It’s a significant number of phrases, but we get about a third of our traffic overall goes to hero pages. The homepage and a couple of key pages on the website. The other 2/3 comes from blogs and other pages. It’s going to get more important than that still, though. I haven’t built the case yet. Bear with me. Now if we take a look at Google analytics again, we can see in terms of number of clicks that there are a couple of misspellings of our name, plus one key phrase that have between them generated some traffic. But, then we start to get into phrases that we wouldn’t have definitely and deliberately optimized for. What’s going on with that?

Long tail, the term I used before, long tail search, long tail doesn’t refer to long phrases. If you look at our phrases that we get traffic for the average is 3.2 words. Long tail doesn’t refer to how long the phrases are. It refers to the fact that after you get past your first few, typically around 10 phrases that you get traffic for, how much of your traffic do you get from the rest, from the long tail of the curve? Now for us, let me show you something here. It’s significant. If we look through the search traffic, and I’m now using [inaudible 00:03:39] because analytics has not given us the data that we need, so I’m using a different tool, also from Google web master tools.

If I start scrolling through the phrases that we’ve got traffic for just in the last month, the tail, as you can see, is very, very long. Frankly, it’s now going to get silly. I’m going to go down to 1,000 different phrases back at the top. There are 1,000 different phrases for which we’ve got search traffic just in the last month. That’s the long tail. Let me give you some proportionality of that. If we look at our top 10 phrases, and then how much of our traffic comes from the rest, from the long tail. I can tell you exactly. It’s 98% of our search traffic comes from the long tail. That’s why we need to learn how to master long tail optimization, not just key phrase optimization on hero pages.

How do we typically go about search engine optimization? You get together with your team and you think about what are the sort of phrases that we would expect people to use when they’re looking for a company like us. You might find that some phrases predominate in their inquiry. You identify hero pages, a small number of pages that you’re going to carefully optimize for those phrases that are worth optimizing for, after you’ve done some competitive analysis. Now, I’m not pretending to be an SEO expert in this conversation. If you want to get some really good oil just on SEO, search engine optimization generally, go to Rand Fishkin’s, he’s from Moz, Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Friday, or more locally, Jim Stewart from StewArt Media does a great job locally on a weekly video blog that I’m a frequent listener to.

What I wanted to say is, that’s the basic stuff. Let’s get away from the basic stuff and I want to talk about the long tail. By the way, here’s whit board Friday. That’s the Whiteboard Friday I mentioned before. Now let’s go back to a tool I’m going to refer to called Hit Tail from a guy called Rob Weiland. Rob put Hit Tail together for a couple of reasons. Firstly, when you look at Google Analytics, you don’t get any search traffic anymore, they’ve hidden it. Now they’re doing a few things, and I looked at the analytics just before putting this together, and I saw some traffic from analytics. I’m a little confused as to what we get now, but for a very long time we’ve been getting depressingly little information from Google about the phrases used to reach our own websites.

We go to web master tools, but web master tools only stores it for a month. What Hit Tail does is it goes to Google wen master tools, grabs the latest search data, and it just keeps it. Through that, you get a long history of data. It compares that long history of data that people are using to actually get to your site with volume trends, and competitiveness, and how well you’re ranked. It comes up with recommendations that, from their algorithm, they believe you’ve got a good chance of optimizing for, because you’ve already got a certain amount of traffic, or because you’ve got a certain amount of content, or it’s not too competitive or some combination of those factors.

Great idea for generating suggestions. What phrases could we write about? Now they’re only going to be relevant to you because they’re drawn from your own website, beta in marketing strategy, marketing training, sales and marketing alignment. Of course we’re going to write it up as topics, they’re quite core to what we do. How did it work that out? By looking at our site and our search phrases. Great way to get suggestions. Now you’ve got a long set of topics about which to blog. What do you do? Well you go and create great new content using the usual techniques. You make sure that the phrase is put into the level one heading. You make sure the phrase is used fairly frequently in the content of the website, not to silly quantities, but frequently enough.

Perhaps the URL is going to carry the name or the phrase. Perhaps the images are going to carry the names of the phrase as well. They’re all the normal things for search engine optimization, but the point about today’s show is that what we’re optimizing for are phrases that we may not have thought to optimize for, and not using our hero pages, but the blog. Now, that’s long tail search, but because I’m Math Marketing, I want to go a little bit beyond that and talk about one more topic. Search, like any other tactic, needs to be in context. What are all the tactics you’re going to use for every stage in the buyer’s journey by marketing and by sales through to closed deal? Now until you know that, you can’t really set about doing any tactic, let alone long tail search.

Here’s a question for you. How clear are you and your team about the objectives that you need sales and marketing to achieve for the next 3 years? How clear are each of the members of the team on the problems that you most want to trouble the market about? Which part of the market the most has those problems? What a complete solution to those problems looks like, what velocity you need to generate for the next 3 years, and of course as I referred to earlier, what tactics you’re going to use in concert into an overall end to end campaign to generate that velocity. Now if you don’t have good enough answers to all of those questions, then maybe we can help. Take a look at the contact us section on our website, let me just go to that now.

You can go to click on the contact page and you get our standard form fill, but you can also use the drop-down and select a region that’s closer to you, and then select one of our final coaches in a region near you. Say hi to them, and ask them how they can help you to generate that sort of clarity. Hope that helps. Have a great day.

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