SEO: Why Your Long Tail Isn’t Long

SEO: Why Your Long Tail Isn’t Long

August 19, 2016 2:01 pm

The lengthy tail of pure search ought to drive extra visitors and gross sales than the top. Unfortunately, technique, structure, and implementation selections typically minimize the lengthy tail in need of its full potential.

This is the second installment of a 3-half collection on addressing the lengthy tail for search engine marketing. In the primary installment, “SEO: How to Maximize the Long Tail,” I defined the fundamentals: the propensity for the individually excessive-worth trophy key phrase phrases to drive much less pure search efficiency in combination than the phrases that drive just a few searches every.

Think of your ecommerce lengthy tail as a physique of key phrases made up of a product or sort of product with desired attributes or sides. An particular person searcher may need a barely used Honda Civic, ideally black. That ensuing key phrase question of “black 2015 Honda Civic” is actually nothing greater than a product (Honda) with three sides (black, 2015, Civic).

Another searcher might need to purchase the final e-book in The Heroes of Olympus collection by Rick Riordan. That key phrase question can be based mostly on a product (e-book) with two sides (Heroes of Olympus, Rick Riordan).

But optimization implies that there’s one thing there to enhance. You can’t optimize one thing that doesn’t exist already. If your website doesn’t already include the pages that may naturally goal searches for lengthy tail key phrase phrases, it’s unimaginable to maximise the lengthy tail in any scalable method.

Scalable is the crucial distinction. It’s potential for many websites to manually create particular person promotional or article pages to focus on particular key phrases they need to seize. If you actually need to promote a number of black 2015 Honda Civics or Heroes of Olympus books written by Rick Riordan, you can create a promotional web page for every. But guide web page creation isn’t a viable choice for capturing the lengthy tail as a result of it’s, by nature, hundreds and even lots of of hundreds of key phrases.

But optimization implies that there’s one thing there to enhance. You can’t optimize one thing that doesn’t exist already.

Strategy, Architecture, and the Long Tail

What, then, makes up the lengthy tail? It is website structure: subcategory pages and filtered or faceted subcategory pages. These navigational pages are the important thing to providing up the varieties of merchandise and attributes that actual searchers are on the lookout for, in a means that search engines can equate immediately with the relevance and authority alerts they analyze.

If the optimum varieties of filters or sides are recognized inside the strategic planning that goes into your website, and expressed optimally by the location’s structure, the result’s a scalable community of product varieties and attributes that may be mixed in hundreds of various methods to match searchers’ wishes.

Someone needs a black 2015 Honda Civic? As lengthy as you might have a web page that filters your Honda product set by shade, mannequin, and yr, you’ve a web page that may naturally goal that key phrase search to drive that searcher to your website. But in case your website lumps all Honda Civics collectively no matter colour or yr, it’s extremely unlikely that your website will ship a robust sufficient relevance sign to rank for lengthy tail search queries.

Only deep key phrase analysis can inform you which subcategories and filters are essential to your product set. Color could also be irrelevant to your clients, however the measurement might be crucial. Analyzing key phrase knowledge together together with your information of your product set and the merchandise which might be most worthwhile to you’ll assist you to decide which filters and sides to supply on prime of the classes and subcategories that make up the inspiration of the location.

Technical Implementation and the Long Tail

The greatest-laid plans for strategically optimum structure can nonetheless be foiled by implementation, nevertheless. Architecture is expressed by navigational design and technical implementation in making a website from which clients can buy.

But some implementation selections by accident minimize off the lengthy tail. Even in case you’ve deliberate for filters and sides, the implementation of complicated types of AJAX and JavaScript can render these filtered pages inaccessible.

Google has said that it’s “usually capable of render and perceive your net pages like trendy browsers.” That “usually” is the issue. Some builders use it as a license to develop with out regard to the degraded state nonetheless wanted to make sure that search engines can entry all the performance within the navigation and the content material on the location.

I’ve had too many websites come to me after a redesign questioning why their complicated implementation isn’t performing in pure search, and why it’s not even getting listed. It’s a horrible factor to find, after the very fact, as an alternative of planning and creating for it up entrance.

In different situations, sides are accessible to look engine crawlers however they don’t look like any totally different than the father or mother class. Some platforms by default deal with sides as sorting options, with out apparent modifications to the textual or metadata content material on the ensuing filtered pages displayed.

As a outcome, there’s nothing on the web page to ship a singular sign of relevance to search engines — or for searchers to orient themselves by once they land on the web page from search outcomes. The title tag, meta description, heading, and physique copy are all the identical on a filtered web page as they might be on the mum or dad web page.

You can’t inform with the bare eye in case your website’s lengthy tail is being maximized. Next week, within the third installment, I will clarify the way to analyze your lengthy tail efficiency — to find out challenges to beat or untapped alternatives.

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