Fishing for the Long Tail: Ten Quick Tips

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Fly Fishing

You can give a man a fish, but it’s better to teach that man how to fish on his own. With that in mind, here are ten quick tips for fishing for the long tail:

Finding the Long Tail

1) There are a lot of great keyword tools out there. Instead of boring you with yet another long list of tools you might or might not have time to check out, here’s a little pearl of wisdom. You don’t want to depend too much on any one tool. From analyzing data changing the data being analyzed to other problems, no one out there has the definitive “press one button and make money” tool. Looking at more than one can give you a look at phrases that are getting traffic.

2) Be sure to use your common sense when you are doing long tail keyword research. Some of the tools can produce strange results (such as phrases which are actually out of order), so make sure you use your own brain to analyze the results you are seeing instead of automatically accepting what the tool shows you.

3) The next step is to find out which of the long tail keywords you found in the last step are getting little to no competition. Again, there are tools out there that will do this for you, but when you’re first starting out, you should do this manually so you know the ins and outs of the process. It may take a while, but you’re going to find a few really good multi-word phrases that a) get a lot of traffic and b) have very little competition.

Catching the Long Tail

4) Once you have a small list of your target fish, you have a few decisions to make. It’s good to see if there are any domains with the keywords or phrases in them still available. You may be surprised how many are available with a little creativity. Even if they’re not, you’ll most likely have a site that is in the same theme as the keywords that you can use to create pages targeted for your keyword phrase.

5) Once you know where you’re going to put them, it’s time to get to work on creating content. Whether you create it on your own or hire a writer, you’ll want to make sure the initial content is as good as possible. The better the initial posts are, the better your chances of long term success. Good content will also help attract links.

6) At this point, you’ll need to start getting some links to your site. Whether it’s from your own network or elsewhere, you’ll want quality backlinks to your long tail fishing hole. Take some time to find at least a few good ones. Remember that you did your homework and this phrase or keyword doesn’t have a lot of competition (yet.) It’s not going to take a lot.

Monetizing the Long Tail

7) This is up to you, but you should choose an ad network or two and maybe some affiliate offers. Go with the standard recommended ad positions in the beginning.

8 ) Sometimes, this is the hardest part. It’s crucial, though. Once you’ve completed all the other steps, walk away and start digging another pond! You’re going to want to obsess over the stats and add new content, but leave it alone for a month (at least) and work on other phrases in the long tail.

Managing the Long Tail

9) After a month or so, go back and start looking at the stats. It’s time to look at the traffic and see if you’re getting any. If you did everything right, you should be. Take a close look at variations of keywords in the logs. Are they close to your original phrase? Choose the top ones and build content (pages) dedicated to just those phrases. Do this for all your sites. In, out, then move on!

10) Rinse and Repeat. That’s it. You do have to put in the work, but it pays off in the long run, keeping you happy and fed for a long time to come. Some of your ponds might become so popular that you need to expand them into lakes, but that’s another post entirely. It’s one of those “good kind of problems.” Now get to work!

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