How 1% of your traffic can bring in 90% of your business
Maybe you’re an SEO Director, or an owner of a small business, who, for the last 20 minutes, has just heard your SEO wax lyrical about how organic traffic has increased for the last six months.
Are you interested in traffic, or are you interested in conversions?
I know which one I’d pick. Let’s be clear – traffic is often an integral part of driving conversions and can be a key metric for in-house marketers and agencies to report on. However, ask yourself, your client or your boss if they’d prefer to see 1,000 visits and 10 conversions or 100 visits and 50 conversions and I think you’ll correctly guess the answer.
Long-tail keywords can be a fantastic way to drive high converting traffic to your site with the optimum amount of marketing effort. A little bit of research and a little bit of work can go a long way with these keywords.
Let’s break down why long-tail keywords are so valuable and how you get the most from them.
The conversion funnel theory
Image credit: SuccessfulWeb.com
Each visitor that comes to your site is at a particular part of the conversion funnel. You have those at the very top of the funnel – visitors with no real knowledge of or interest in what you’re offering – and those visitors right at the bottom of the funnel – visitors who are on the precipice of making a conversion.
Now, depending on your marketing strategy, you may want a holistic approach and try to convert all of these visitors, or you may prefer to focus on a particular segment. A holistic strategy obviously requires more effort and may not be the most efficient method for your business. Conversely, if you can educate and convert people at the top of the funnel, you may end up with extremely loyal customers.
That’s a discussion for another day, but for this topic it is clear to see that long-tail keywords can help you target those users nearing the end of the conversion funnel. What’s more, capturing those cash-parting visitors can be very simple and require the minimal amount of effort.
A seasonal example
Here in the UK, we’re on a bit of a sporting roll at the moment. The British & Irish Lions smashed their Australian counterparts on the recent rugby tour, while Andy Murray finally banished the demons of yesteryear and picked up the Wimbledon singles tennis title, ending Britain’s 77 year wait for a home-grown winner. That is, of course, if you’re a numpty and scratch out Virginia Wade from the history books.
Hot on the heels of those two triumphs come The Ashes, where England and Australia play cricket for roughly 25 days to contest a miniscule urn, and finally The British Open, where for only 4 days some men in questionable attire try to get a tiny ball into a tiny hole literally thousands of miles away.
Let’s take golf as our example for this blog post. Let’s imagine I’ve just launched sowhatgolfclubs.com as an e-commerce store to sell all kind of golf clubs and I now want to target some keywords to bring in traffic via SEO.
A quick search for the term “golf clubs” pulls up 18,100 exact match local searches. Fantastic, I should optimise for that! Let’s look at the SERPs for that term: http://i.imgur.com/ZPdT8ql.jpg
Oh. Well that sucks. I can see big competitions from local search, strong backlink profiles, PPC and Google shopping suggestions. In fact, there’s only 2 organic search results above the fold.
Furthermore, let’s look back at that conversion funnel. Where the smeg do you put visitors who came for your site via the term “golf clubs”. Are they late in the funnel, because they know what they want? Could they be early in the funnel, because they’re just looking for golf club pictures or information, with no intent to buy? It’s a real minefield.
Maybe it’s not such a great keyword after all.
So what’s an SEO to do? Well, how about looking for keywords with much weaker competition that we can confidently place at the end of the conversion funnel?
Dig up them long-tails
There’s a number of places where you can discover long-tail keywords. Google Adwords’ own keyword tool can provide them from time to time, but it’s a bit hit and miss. Similarly, typing in queries into the search bar and getting auto-suggestions might reveal a couple of long-tail keywords, if not a little comedy.
Ubersuggest on the other hand is a great tool to find some long-tail gems. Simply plug-in your search term and you will be given with tons of additional words to add to the term, all based on real searches. You can even get sub-suggestions of those suggestions by pressing the result itself. Pressing the ‘+’ icon adds the result to a box on the side of the screen, allowing you to copy and paste the suggestions back into the keywords tool and give them the once over.
If your site has been running for awhile and you’re looking to maximise your conversions, don’t neglect the data that your site may already have. I was inspired to look at my Analytics data for long-tail keywords after reading this post, and it really has pulled out some interesting results. Have a look at that post as to how you can dig up long-tail keywords based on genuine queries people have used to enter your sites. Also, if you’re not a regex expert (let’s be honest, who is?), LunaMetrics have recently launched The Regexinator – an awesome generator to give you regex code on the fly. Absolute life-saver, this one.
So after a bit of digging around, the keyword “best golf clubs for beginners” emerged. Now, it’s not in the same stratosphere or search volume as “golf clubs”, 210 versus 18,100 respectively, but it doesn’t need to be. We can be confident that this keyword is late in the conversion funnel, which means that its conversion could be very high. Furthermore, let’s have a look at the top 10 results in Google (UK) for the term:
Now this definitely looks like a more rankable term, with little in the way of competition. The Moz statistics report very few inbound links for the pages that are currently there. The presence of forum results and sites like Yahoo Answers means that a fully optimised page with some quality content and links could rank very quickly, and easily, for this term.
What we’re left with
After a brief bit of work, we’re left with a keyword term that will snap up searchers that are ready to convert. Furthermore, the effort required to rank a landing page for that keyword on the first page of Google will be considerably less than for a super generic term. It’s a win-win.
These keywords may not have the same level of searches as some generic terms, but their quick, easy to rank and proven to convert. What’s more: they are infinitely scalable. You could rank, ten, twenty, fifty of these kind of keywords just as easily. When you get to that scale, you’re suddenly looking at the same level of inbound traffic, but at a much higher conversion rate.
Now that’s what’s up.