The Long Tail Optimization to Nowhere
Using long tail keywords has become a popular way of cutting out the competition and getting very specific keywords that bring in a targeted audience. The guiding principle is the more specific the keywords, the less likely it is that other people are targeting the same group.
The SEO basics site has a nice overview of setting a long tail strategy but pay special attention to steps 1 and 2.
Long tail optimization is a great strategy but only when you do the research of steps 1 and 2. Long Tail optimization without selective keyword filtering leads to 2 problems:
- No Audience – Blindly optimizing a site or PPC campaign for long tail keywords typically targets an abyss of phantom people site owners believe exist. But they don’t.
- Too Much Information – Optimizing too long a tail can put such a restrictive criteria that it defeats the purpose of optimizing for it. After all if it’s so restrictive that only a couple people would be included, optimizing likely is not the best means to engage them.
Don’t convince yourself you know what users want and skip the research. Long tail optimization is popular because it allows very high rankings for specific keywords. Just do your homework to make sure those keywords are worth the effort.