Internet marketing sounds like a very complicated discipline for most business people. SEO is constantly changing and requires quite a bit of technical knowledge; Google AdWords, Google Analytics and all these other tools also require a strong sense of analysis and quite a bit of time to be managed properly. For a SME owner that has no specific background in internet marketing, it is close to impossible to succeed alone in the task of improving his online visibility.
SME owners will often hire SEO consultants in order to get some backlinks coming in. These professionals, though, can quickly become very expensive! Offsite optimization must definitely be an important part of the SEO strategy but there are cheaper ways to get good rankings online. CEOs and marketing employees have opportunities to contribute to the effort by making sure the company’s website is loaded with content.
In this article, we will start by explaining the concept of long tail SEO, which is essential for every small company. Then, we will see how it is possible to work on it without help from outsiders.
What is long tail SEO?
According to Moz and Experian Hitwise, the top search queries used by search engine users generate millions of monthly searches. If you narrow it down to a more specific industry, let’s say bathroom furniture in Canada, you’ll notice that top keywords such as “Bathroom vanities” still get close to 15 000 searches every month. A company with a huge internet marketing budget will make everything so that users will find its website in first or second position with a “bathroom vanities” query.
The graph shows us, however, that 70% of total search queries come from much more specific keywords. “Wholesale bathroom vanities”, for example, is still reaching 110 users every month, while “installing a bathroom vanity” is on 20 users’ minds every month. These are long tail keywords.
Therefore, long tail SEO is the process on working on a lot of very specific keywords in order to bring traffic to your website.
The value of long tail SEO
In general, big companies’ SEO professionals will concentrate their efforts on positioning a website on search queries that generate a lot of traffic. A lot of offsite SEO will be required for someone to get a good ranking on a very competitive search query.
However, things are very different for long tail keywords. Since they are a lot less attractive, fewer people will think about creating specific pages or blog articles for them. This means that by creating some unique content and uploading it on your website, you have a shot at getting a great position on the request your competitors have ignored.
Let’s find out how you can do that by yourself without paying 100$/hour or more to a SEO company.
Making sure that your website is modification-friendly
When you hire someone to build your website, make it very clear that you want to be able to make modifications and add sections by yourself. This means, if your web background is close to none, that you should be able to create page, upload images and add text and other contents without coding anything.
A CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress is very modification-friendly. Some web agencies also use their own CMS that was developed internally… in any way, ask to see how the final interface will look like in order to know if you’ll be able to work with it later.
URLs, product descriptions and titles
If you want people to find your website for a “red bathroom vanity” request, make sure that the URL that leads to this product’s page includes the keyword! A good CMS will generally make this step very simple. Once this is done, create a unique text for the page that will describe your product: it should have at least 100 words to be effective, even though it is said that texts of 350 words and more have a great impact on Google. In this case, you will keep it shorter because you have many products on your website and because it may harm users’ experience if they have huge texts to read. Finally, make sure the title of your page uses the keyword you want to promote.
Here, remember that unique texts are required; you cannot use copy-paste without severely harming your Google rankings. By adding a good text, you will do something that many webmasters have neglected, making it easier to beat them in the end! It is very time-consuming but it is cheaper that hiring a consultant to do it for you.
Blogging is another key to success
It will never be mentioned enough: a website which hosts a well-updated blog will attract a lot of potential buyers thanks to the long tail search queries. In this case, writing an article about How to install a bathroom vanity would help you to rank on the “Installing a bathroom vanity” search query we were talking about earlier. People working on home decoration projects will find you and could be attracted in buying some of your products. Even if they buy nothing, your company’s name will stick in their mind for a while.
Great bloggers also tend to see their articles shared on social networks, especially if some articles are funny or exceptionally informative. Facebook shares, tweets and +1 will help your website to reach higher search engine positions.
Interns can help you
Unpaid internships are still allowed in most countries and they can be a good win-win situation. The intern will receive a good work experience and will have an easier time to find his next job. At the same time, hiring a tech-savvy intern with good copy-writing skills will do wonders to attract more traffic to your website thanks to the techniques we have just mentioned. Except if you are a CEO or a Marketing director with a lot of spare time, delegating this SEO job is probably the best thing to do to avoid burning yourself out.
Charles Bernard is a web marketing professional working for PierDeco Design, a company selling high-end bathroom furniture products in Canada. He loves to share his knowledge with small business owners.