Long-Tail Tactics for Local Search Optimization

As noted in “The Very Long Tail of Search,” 25 percent of all Google searches are unique. And there are thousands of random keyword combinations that aren’t likely to show up in keyword research tools. However, all these long-tail terms can add up to a truly significant amount of traffic to your Web site. What optimization tactics can you use to draw those searchers to your pages?

Create New Pages

The potential of the long tail is most easily realized with large sites. The more pages you have, the more terms for which you can optimize.

Don’t hesitate to create new pages tailored to harvesting long-tail traffic. But remember, they must be good, useful pages for your visitors. You need to decide for yourself how much traffic makes publishing a new page worthwhile. The number of visitors you generally average and your conversion rate can help you determine at what point a new page becomes a good investment.

Create new, well-optimized pages focused on services, products, brands, service areas, and the like on which you can list many long-tail terms.

If you have multiple brick-and-mortar locations, write a separate page for each one. Make certain the page prominently displays the location’s correct physical address, including the Zip Code, and the local phone number with area code. Doing so will tie the keyword-rich content on the page with a place.

Driving directions and maps are incredibly useful to visitors. Many location terms can be included on a page describing where you are and how to get there. Write about what is nearby you to associate your location with other terms and to help humans find you. For example:

  • Across the street from the Crossroads Mall.

  • Two miles north of Aspen on Highway 82.
  • Take I-70, exit 116, and turn left onto West Glenwood.

Consider using a WordPress blog on your site. WordPress makes it a breeze to create new content, even for nontechies. Blogs are found by spiders quickly and, with the right plug-ins, optimization becomes relatively easy.

Optimize Existing Pages

We all have pages on our sites that don’t bring any search traffic at all. Use your analytics program to discover them. Rework them to rank for long-tail terms, and you’ll at least draw some new traffic with them.

If you find a less competitive term through your analytics program or log files that’s converting, think about either optimizing a page for that term or creating a new page to optimize for it and its variations. By publishing a really effective landing page, you should be able to gain even more conversions from those searchers.

It’s quick and easy to place a noncompetitive term or two on a relevant page that already has good PR and ranks for a related term. To be a little more aggressive, add the term to the page title as well.

When writing or rewriting page text, be sure to use synonyms and terms related to the main phrases you for which you are optimizing. For example, don’t just repeatedly say “car wash.” Instead, talk about autos, automobiles, trucks, vans, passenger vehicles, SUVs, and company fleets. Mention upholstery, wheels, chrome, undercarriage, finish. Then, describe services like detailing, shining, waxing, carpet cleaning, deodorizing, vacuuming, and stain and scratch removal. When Google sees all these terms on a page, it’s simple for it to tell what the page is about. It also helps humans learn about all the things you can do to help solve their problems.

Be sure to link to your new and optimized pages from other good pages on your site (and your site map, of course) using the keyword term for which you are optimizing.

Local/Social Web Site Tactics

Use long-tail terms in the descriptions you write about your business on local and social Web sites, like Google Maps, Citysearch, Superpages, and Yelp. Use as many characters as you’re allowed, but break the content up into easily readable chunks so it doesn’t look too daunting to readers.

If you can tag your listing, use as many as tags as allowed. Your Google Maps Local Business Listing has an “attributes” feature, which allows you to create your own categories and populate them with plenty of relevant long-tail terms. Not many businesses are using these yet, so get on board now to gain an advantage.

Many long-tail terms are contained in consumer-generated content. Encourage happy customers to leave reviews of your business on local and social sites. Then leverage this content by putting some of it on your Web site. This type of content is very appealing to your visitors and will help to build their trust in you.

Try some of these tactics for optimizing for local search’s long tail. Because these terms are less competitive than high-volume phrases, you should soon begin seeing new visitors coming to your Web site from a wide variety of long-tail searches.

Join us for a new Webcast, High-Touch Personalization, The Successful Marketer’s Secret Ingredient, September 29 at 2 p.m. EDT.

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