That title, the one above that I’ve used for this post, isn’t actually very well designed. It has some keywords in it like ‘using the long tail’ and it hints at a potential takeaway for the reader; ‘so that google can find your audience for you’ but otherwise I’m not practicing what I’m about to preach.
A better title might be “How Long Tail SEO Can Help Google To Find Your Audience” – why is that?
Because it considers user intent ahead of the usual signals we aim to include in our broader, ‘core terms’ SEO approach.
I haven’t even told you what this is about yet so I’m going to start with the conclusion and work backwards (to hell with convention and structure, too much caffeine for that this morning): If you write for your target audience, Google will go out and find them for you.
That’s right, you write stuff and Google will act like the king of SEO agencies and FIND YOUR AUDIENCE FOR YOU. Good eh?
I’m not going to ramble today (despite the caffeine), I’m going to get to the point because it’s just too juicy not to, so here it is:
OK, everyone wiggle your fingers and make a funny noise as we go back in time a few years to Google’s search algorithms as they worked way back when. Remember that Google’s years are much like dog years in that it ages faster than we do and thus 2 years Google time is like 5 years in every other industry – try to keep up…
Google devised a search engine that delivered search listings in response to keyword searches, and it did this by matching the keywords used in search to the keywords it found in the billions of indexed documents it had read. This strategy was the mainstay for quite a while and although it evolved slightly to consider latent semantic indexing (words that are correlated with other potential meanings) and rankings depending on the trustworthiness of links pointing to domains it didn’t quite satisfy us in terms of meaningful results. It wasn’t quite clever enough.
Enter Hummingbird (via caffeine – the algorithm, not the fuel behind this post).
Hummingbird is where Google use more than words (don’t start singing yet) to put the right results in front of the searcher, well right-er anyway (don’t care – using it). This is where intent is added to the mix along with the already evolving personalisation that considers location.
What’s the difference and why should you care?
Previously the word ‘money’ may well have fired back a few wiki results on the history and etymology of currency, maybe a few ‘local to my position’ banks if I’m signed into my G account and perhaps some results that LSI decided were also relevant like ‘currency, cash and finance’. Clever.
But the missing ingredient here is the searcher’s intent. Was I searching for a history of money? somewhere to withdraw money? Advice on saving or making money? Printing my own fake notes? What did I want?
Of course we search smarter now and we search in more detail that we used to. SO let’s upgrade our search to something with more intent:
‘how to make more money’ – Now, i’m not advocating you search for this if you’re looking for happiness, you should go with ‘how to make more time’ (you can always make more money) but without digressing, now we’re using more intent.
What hummingbird strives to do is understand who’s searching. I want to know how to make more money but where am I? What bloggers do I like to read? What brands do I often associate with? What job do I do? How much do I earn (by proxy/estimation depending on my job)? The more data Google can collect (and facebook and everything else you’re logged into 24/7) the better the potential results are that come your way (or more invasive depending on your point of view).
I write, and I read very specific blogs and I associate with certain brands so my results for that search may well return listings about:
- How to make more money by writing
- How to make more money (by a blogger I like)
- How to make more money (using the brand I associate with)
Which may be vastly different from the results you get. And everyone else.
So where does that leave us?
Back at the beginning, writing content for YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE. Because if you write long tail focused pieces that appeal to them, Google will deliver them EVEN IF THEY DON”T SEARCH FOR THEM.
If my target audience like writing, and Google knows it, then they might only need to search for something partially connected to or even broadly about “making money” to get my “ How to make money with writing” post in their search results.
So how do you go about getting this right?
The value of a single piece of content can be huge when you consider the long tail organic search potential (inbound traffic), the social sharability (follower growth, engagement brand reach and advocacy) and all the peripheral benefits like trust, thought leadership and inbound links, so you need to treat it as such, rather than as ‘a job for that hour on a friday afternoon I’ll actually not get around to because by then it’s pub time’ that seems to be the blogging plan for many of us.
Know your audience (like, really know them, like good friends):
You have email lists (I hope) and social media profiles and your website analytics and your adwords account just for starters. All that BIG data that you can trawl through looking for clues of INTENT. Who are your audience? What do they do? What do they like? What’s their prefered method of getting what they like? What do they try to avoid?
Get to know them. Ask them, email them, tweet them, survey them. LISTEN to them.
Use your data, use our data (that was sneaky eh?), use carrier pigeons, just understand them and you’ll find there’s hundreds of long-tail, intent focused titles at your fingertips.
Hummingbird means not focusing on a bunch of core search terms and worrying about where you rank for them (seriously, don’t even think about pretending that’s important, you know better than that) but about garnering a depth of content that your audience wants to read. If you do that, Google will make sure they find it (and they will get better at doing this, this shizzle is future proof) and you WILL see an increase in traffic coming to your website (you’ll see better brand recognition and social stats and other good stuff too) and you’ll be measuring your success in terms of the huge increase in the number of different urls being landed on.
Alright, I didn’t ramble too much did I? Got to the point as promised. But before you go, here comes the all important call to action. Ready?
OK, that was rubbish, let me have another go: For all your digital marketing needs, connect with Traphic now…
Yep, that one got you…