Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Long Tailed Keywords, Oddball Searches, and an Ocean of Money (Maybe)

A Sampling of Searches On My Site

Strongest woman of the world photos
Energy conservation pictures of monkey
Pink French poodle
Image of a bank vault
Funny photos on efficiency
Cats and kittens
Funny pictures com
Cliché friendship funny
Poodle is a car
Blind man stock images
Close picture of two elephants
Strip poker photos
Lion with a crown
Pictures portraying power in business
Moving pics of pomeranians
Nude mature beach photo
Stacks of money
Golf shirts with pictures
Lion sitting throne
Aerial pictures complex interchange

25,000 searches And A Mind Boggling Statistic (To Me Anyway)
The above list consists of twenty consecutive search terms that people put into search engines today and ended up on my site (there were over 400 such searches, I just grabbed twenty from the list). I use a web company named SmarterStats to track this information.  My brother (who is my webmaster and actually looks at these things) brought to my attention that in the last three months over 25,000 searches of keyword phrases have resulted in people ending up on my site. Now here is the, at least for me, mind-boggling statistic: Approximately 24,000 of those terms were searched for only once! About 120 were searched for more than ten times. Now, keep in mind, these are only searches in which people ended up at my site. Only searches for which I had key words that would result in my site coming up early enough for them to see it and click through.

Google Searches, Ego Things…and Oh Well….

Some times I will copy the search term, paste it into my browser window and conduct the same search to see how quickly I come up. This is kind of an ego thing…someone searched this term and came to my site! So I start searching, scanning, page after page, eagerly looking for my name…and usually not finding it by say, page 96 or so. Oh well…. Sometimes I might not find my site because I am searching on Google and the person who did end up on my site was using Yahoo or some such circumstance. But it has become clear to me that a lot of people do search pretty deeply…far more deeply than I would! Now to be fair, a lot of searches do bring me up quickly. But surprisingly enough, those searches that find me on the first page, or even number one (yes, it happens!), don’t bring in all that much traffic.

A Lot of Text and Oddball Searches
What do we make from all this? Well, for one thing, you need a lot of text on your site to be able to "harvest" all the oddball searches (long tailed key words) people do. Remember, Google, et. al., can't see images, they can only read text. Secondly, it is probably a mistake to rely on just the "important" keywords. For example, I only have one key word that brought in more than 200 visits, and that key word was "John Lund".  Coming in second at 118 visits was "pictures of dragons breathing fire", and third at 114 visits was "photo funny".  Now, at the time of this writing I am number 27 when you search Google for "photo funny". That is pretty amazing to me. Number 27 out of 99,000,000!

Energy Conservation Pictures of Monkeys
But what I would think would be a pretty productive key word has only brought 114 visitors in over the last three months. Another way to look at it; all my work has resulted in a few hundred visits for the important key words I have targeted, and over 20,000 visits from key word phrases that I didn't think about, and in some cases never would think about ("energy conservation pictures of monkeys" being one such phrase).

Important Keywords, Relevant Text and An Ocean of Money
Now I have been an advocate of key word research, and I still am. But I think it would be a huge mistake to put all your marbles in a narrow key word basket.  How do you get around that? Target those important key words, then add relevant text.  A lot of relevant text! The more text you have, the greater chance that when someone searches for “Poodle is car” or whatever might bring them to your site, they will find it.  This is all about the long tail keywords and the unimaginable number of people out there searching for them. There is a sea of people out there looking for what you have. If you can tap in to that sea of people, you can bring in an ocean of money.

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