When doing your SEO keyword research, you should be paying close attention to both Search Volume and Search  Competition.  Search Volume is simply the amount or quantity of searches that occur for a particular keyword or term, often expressed as searches per month..  Search Competition is how many pages on the internet include that term, thus, the number of pages you will be competing against.  The ideal combination is a term with high search volume and low search competition.  These terms are hard to find.  Often the popular search terms already have a significant amount of competition, making them very difficult to achieve top position search engine rankings.  The competition is already there and has been there a while.  Given a choice between optimizing for search terms with high volume or low search competition, I will almost always choose low search competition.  The rest of this article will help explain why.

Long Tail Search Terms

To overcome the challenge of strongly entrenched competition, we can turn to a strategy known as Long Tail Keywords or Long Tail Search Terms.  The concept of long tail sealong tail keywordsrch terms is simple, take a popular keyword and lengthen it by adding additional words to make is more unique and reducing the competition.  These additional words are the tail, the more words you add, the longer the tail of the search term.   As the illustration shows, popular keywords have high search volume and the longer that tail (the more specific the term), the less search volume and the less competition.

Long Tail Keyword Example

A quick example will explain the magnitude of adding a long tail to keywords.  If we search for the keyword “watches” on Google, there are 830,000,000 possible search results.  That’s almost a billion pages with the word watches.  Begin the long tail process by adding the word “mens”, making the search term “mens watches” and the number of results is now 42,500,000.  Still extremely high but only 5% the size of the original search.  Adding a single word has reduced the competitive factor by 95%.  Let’s add “sports” to the search term and we are now competing against 21,500,000, knocking the competition in half again.  The more you increase the length of the tail of the search term, the more you lessen the competition.  The search term “mens sports watches waterproof” has 5,530,000 results.

Overcoming Low Search Volume

In the example above, each time we increase the length of the search term, we reduce the competition, but we also end up with a search term that has a lower search volume.  The more specific and unique your search terms, the fewer people are searching for them.  So after going through the process to reduce the competition, we now need to go through the process adding search volume.  This is done by adding more long tail search terms and adding suitably optimized content to your site to support these keywords.  By adding together the search volume of several terms, you will be able to draw in more traffic, with less competition.  In our example above, we could build and optimize content for “mens sports watches waterproof”, “mens sports watches compass”, “mens sports watches gps”, and other related terms.

Free Keyword Ranking Report

Do you know how your website ranks for keywords in search engines?  Should you be deploying a Long Tail Search Term strategy?  We will send you a free keyword ranking report, just visit our Free Keyword Rank Report page.