When companies hire me to improve their SEO they tend to come up with a few top keywords they want to rank on. On the first or second position of course. You should forget about that. There is a better strategy called “long tail” that is the hidden gold of SEO.
A small number of keywords get searched for a lot. A large number of keywords get searched for a little. But, in aggregate, the search volume of all those small keywords is way bigger than the volume of the few main keywords you are targeting.
These larger keywords, often containing more than two words, are called the long tail. They have way less competition because everyone is focussing on main keywords.
Do you care what keyword someone searched for when he ends up on your website anyway?
— Gijs Heerkens 👨🏻💻 (@gijsheerkens) January 8, 2020
Funny enough, the way to rank on top keywords is focussing on long tail keywords. It’s a long term game.
SEO is a great example of compound interest. Every new page you add to your website brings you new traffic every day for the rest of its existence. All pages together attract way more traffic than a few main keywords will ever do, even if you rank number 1 on the best keyword for your market.
And all the pages reinforce each other, which creates a compound effect. By keep adding content your website will have more and more body over time and your authority for your topic will grow. This will make you rank on the top keywords eventually, too.
The problem is you have to put in loads of effort, it costs many resources. But it’s worth it because it’s recurring. Every page will keep bringing visitors. This makes it a better investment than ads, in my opinion. An ad will bring you one click, content brings thousands.
Long term versus short term thinking.
Practice what you preach
I practice what I preach. My own website Pasfoto.nu, an online passport photo solution, is a good example. I’m working on this project since 2009 and created 900+ pages on the topic (passport photos) over the years. All those pages together bring me lots of visitors on a daily basis, a part of them converts to customer.
Furthermore, I’m ranking on top positions for top keywords now because of the authority I have on the topic, outranking government pages and Wikipedia sometimes. This is compound interest.
📸 Weer gewonnen van de overheid pic.twitter.com/I4PHtH3nGB
— Gijs Heerkens 👨🏻💻 (@gijsheerkens) August 9, 2019
So, how should you get started? I summed up a couple of ideas of how you can give your website more body:
- Blog: The usual suspect. Integrate a blog in your website and write on the topic often. There is no need to put it in your main menu, though. A link in the footer is sufficient, you want to attract visitors from your blog to your website, not vice versa.
- Customer service: Every customer service ticket is a content opportunity. Create a customer service section on your website and put all the questions there. Every question gets its own page.
- Knowledge base: Wikipedia ranks on almost all keywords because they have so much content. Create your own wiki within your website. A knowledge base section where you add pages for all topics you can imagine around your main topic. Use Google’s suggestions to get ideas.
- Filter archives: Having any filters on your website (e.g. a webshop) is a big opportunity to autogenerate extra pages that rank on long tail keywords. Nomad List does this the right way. Pay attention when you apply a filter on this website. Every filter has another URL, page title, meta description and, of course, filtered results. Adding the meta description as content somewhere on the page would improve it even more. Result: Nomad List has almost 40.000 pages indexed.
- Extended guides: If you are really prepared to put in the work, extended guides are your thing. These are very long content pages on one topic, Google loves these. Vlogging pro is doing this the right way.