Uncategorized - 12/36 - Digital Marketing Agency

SEO – How To Analyse Your Long Tail

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The Long Tail is often discussed in SEO (and PPC), but is still largely misunderstood or unactioned. It is not a term unique to Search Engine Marketing, but is also used in many other industries to describe the situation where a small number of customers/products individually create large amounts of profit, but the larger pool of small profit customers/products bring in the vast majority of overall profit.

Lets have a quick look at the long tail, noting that you should easily be able to see this phenomenon reflected in your own traffic statistics.

One of my sites, has over 10,000 visits from search per month. This (natural) search traffic comes from over 6,500 different search terms!

Around 10% of this traffic (being generous), comes from a few key search terms. The remaining 90% comes from a vast array of search terms, which each bring less than 0.1% of traffic.

This is the long tail. The huge array of search terms which alone aren’t bringing significant traffic, but without them, your overall search traffic would be decimated. Within this gigantic list of terms are opportunities you can capitalise on.

How do you do this?

Step 1 – Understanding Your Long Tail

You can make a graph of your own site’s ‘long tail’, like the one above, by exporting your search term traffic data from your analytics package, and making a graph of it in Excel – Traffic on the Y axis, Terms on the X axis.
There are different long tail graphs you should make:
a) The overall long tail graph – all your search traffic – shows you which terms are driving traffic overall. Branded terms should figure high in the ‘head’ section.
b) The branded and non-branded long tail graphs – branded and non-branded terms behave very differently, so you need to analyse them both separately AND together
c) SEO and PPC long tail graphs – you need to know where the traffic is coming from to be able to optimise for it, so you better separate your organic and paid traffic.

Once you have made these different graphs and tables, it is time for

Step 2 – Analysing Your Long Tail

Look for patterns in your long tail. Some questions you might want to ask include:

a) Are your main terms often part of the smaller terms? This shows an effective SEO strategy whereby your main SEO is benefitting long tail terms. Can this be replicated to produce other ‘free’ longtail campaigns? ( SEO can help in the long tail and the head. The purpose of a good SEO strategy is to increase ranking for specific (usually competitive) terms, which if done correctly should also mean that similar but less popular terms also gain visibility.)

b) Are there common themes which are surprising – if you are getting  a lot of long tail traffic for a common theme, perhaps there is a related ‘head’ term which should be incorporated into your SEO or PPC strategy?

c) Are there few main themes? If so, then perhaps you should try and develop your SEO campaign to develop some ‘free’ long tail campaigns. Or alternatively, how can you group these terms for a more comprehensive PPC longtail campaign? The key is try and organise your long tail so that you can better manage it.

d) Is your PPC head largely Branded terms – this is a common phenomenon, and you need to ask yourself – can this be easily shifted to natural traffic to save money?

e) Is your non-branded SEO traffic largely in tail terms? This insinuates an ineffective SEO campaign for specific terms. Maybe you aren’t targetting high traffic terms? It is important to try and get head terms from SEO as well, just so you aren’t dependent on the fluctuations in the PPC bidding market.

Your own long tail will raise its own questions and patterns, so obviously this list of questions is non-exhaustive.

Step 3 – Expanding on Your Long Tail

How to do keyword research for the long tail? Well of course you can use your normal keyword tools,  where you suggest terms and they give you more. Or you can use Googles Search-based Keyword Tool, where you type in your URL and it suggests terms for your particular site (AND links each term to an appropriate landing page – v. useful).

Another way is to look in your natural search term traffic report. You will see tonnes of tail terms which people will come to your site on.  You might wonder, if you are already getting traffic from them via natural search, why spend money bidding on them in PPC? Good point, but the reason is that those terms should be cheap, so you can just test and see if you can improve on your natural search performance. If not, switch it off!

Then, you can also use those natural tail terms to try and generate more tail terms using your normal keyword tools.

Some PPC marketers might think that they can use broad match instead of doing longtail keyword research. You could – but don’t think it will bring optimal results. Also, remember it is largely only going to bring traffic for terms that have your nominated search terms as stems. It doesn’t hurt to make a long tail keyword list in your PPC campaign – if no one is searching for those terms, you won’t pay!

The key with long tail PPC campaigning is to make sure that you group your long tail terms appropriately so that you can target your ads effectively and therefore minimise wasted clicks.

Improvements to Image Search

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Google has upgraded their image search to include a nifty (if limited) colour filter. This means that when you search, you can narrow your search to a specific colour. For example, this is a search for cows….

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and this is a search for yellow cows….

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Note that Google has wasted no time in placing advertising on these new pages.

The new interface also lets you filter by image size, and by image type – such as clip art or faces. I think these improvements are much more useful for narrowing down your search.

How could these new things help businesses? Well, I am not 100% sure, although the different results for a search for cows filtered by yellow and the search ‘yellow cows’, insinuates an opportunity for any SEO’ers that are optimising for image search.You now have twice the opportunity to try and get your name up there.

SEO Interrogation – 8 Steps to Making Sure You Get a Quality Service

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We have all hired a provider – whether it be a cleaner, sales person or accountant – who just doesn’t deliver what you thought they would. They seemed so professional in the beginning, but now the contract is signed you  begin to think the sales pitch is the most expert part of their organisation.

In the SEO industry, particularly in a young market like Australia, providers can often be inexperienced. As the market matures, like in the UK or the US, the number of experts increases and the less ‘quality’ services are gradually driven out of the market. But in the meantime, how can you choose an SEO provider? Well, despite our obvious bias, we have put together some checks and questions below, to try and narrow down your choice…

  1. Time frames – what does the provider have to say about how long it might take to get your rankings to the top? SEO is not a quick process. It takes time to make changes to your site and build up the necessary content and links. Then it takes more time for this to be taken into account by Google. Any company which says this is a quick process is stretching the truth. No quality SEO project will go for less than 6 months, unless it is a training course.
  2. Guarantees– No company can guarantee you a top ranking in Google because Google and Google alone controls the rankings (or whichever search engine you are talking about).  SEO companies should be able to make estimates, or show you how they have achieved results for similar clients, but they cannot make guarantees (unless it is something like a money-back guarantee).
  3. Low Cost – Like anything in life, you get what you pay for. If you pay a low cost for SEO services, then you need to ask what you would ask any other provider – why are you cheaper? Is it the labour quality? The number of hours? There are good reasons why some SEO providers are cheaper than others, you just need to find out what exactly your money is paying for.
  4. Keywords – check that the key terms they are promising to work on aren’t low-volume, low value, terms which are easy to optimise for. Also keep this in mind if they are trying to prove their track record – achieving number 1 for “Cheap buckets Mt Isa” isn’t showing the kinds of skills you will require for more commercial terms.
  5. Links – ask about their linking strategies. You don’t want your company’s brand to be damaged through inappropriate association and you don’t want search engines to penalise you for spammy links. You need to ask them how they will get high quality, relevant links to your site
  6. Training – make sure they are transparent and ask how they will impart SEO knowledge to your organisation, so that you can take it on as part of your general online business practice.
  7. Project Plan – SEO isn’t a one-off effort. It needs to be ongoing so that your site remains competitive.  A long term project plan is a must, and something that a flash-in-the-pan provider is unlikely to provide.
  8. Reporting – A reputable SEO company should give you all the information you need to see where your money is going. This could be rankings, traffic and conversions, but should also outline all the work they are doing on your site every week or month.

MooMu's Aidan Moore Speaks at SMX China

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Today, one of MooMu Media’s founders,  Aidan Moore, will be speaking at the China Search Marketing Expo in Xiamen.

The conference is part of the US originated SMX series, but is presented as bilingual, for the biggest internet market in the world (last year, China overtook the US as having the most internet users on the planet).

Aidan has previous (and current) experience working on search marketing in China having worked in Shanghai as head of a search marketing agency, and now working on China-based clients. He has spoken twice previously at search engine conferences in China.

His presentation focuses on SEO for international finance brands, and will cover:

  • What sites are doing well internationally – in the US, UK and China
  • The many different types of sites now dominating the finance market online – direct, aggregators, panels and affiliates
  • The issues inherent in optimising financial sites – particularly in the face of the Global Financial Crisis
  • Best practice for financial companies – covering the basics and advanced techniques, and using a high performing UK financial site as a case study

Hopefully Aidan will let us put the presentation up on the site as soon as the conference is over.

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