Optimize Long Tail Traffic

In this search engine optimization tutorial, we will learn how to optimize long tail content to increase website traffic and our standing in the major SERPs.

According to this study – Increase Google Traffic Long Tail Content Techniques – long tail traffic consists of around 83% to 96% of the total search engine traffic to websites. It is many times more powerful and important than the SEO optimized terms targeting the homepage or any other single page.

In any business plan, it is important to estimate the future sales and profits your website – which in turn  is proportional to the website traffic figures. This also applies to advertisement revenue if you are not selling any products on your website (such as in blogs).

Assessing Your Current Long Tail Traffic Performance

The first step to any improvement activity is to assess current performance.

You need gather important data which will be used as a reference or for base figures. To do this,  follow  these steps:

1.) Login to your Google Analytics account.
2.) Under “Website Profiles”, click “View Report” link.
3.) Click “Traffic Sources”.
4.) Then click “Search Engines”. You will then see the total monthly visitors sent to your website from different search engines. 
5.) Take note of the total visitors sent to your website from search engines. For example it will say something like “Search sent 20,043 total visits via 9 sources”. It means in a one month period (default setting in Google Analytics) there were a total of 20043 visits from search engines.
6.) Get your total published articles on your website. If your website is a blog, this is the total blog post. So you need to log-on to your website and get the total published posts; let’s suppose you have 159 articles on your website.

With these very raw statistics you can estimate how much each piece of your content is attracting search engine visitors (from “long tail effect”) per month on average. This is the formula:

Estimated visitors per published article per month = Total Search Engine Visitors per month/ Total published articles

Punching-in the figures:

Estimated visitors per published article per month = 20043/159
And this is equal to around 126 visitors per published article per month on average.

You can even compute how much this would on a daily basis:

Daily estimated visitors per published article in your website = 126/30 ~ 4; (30 means it is using 30 days in a month).

Your current long tail traffic performance is that on the average, each of the published articles on your website attracts 4 visitors per day from the search engine. Then since there are 159 published articles, the website attracts a total of 159 x 4 = 636 daily visitors coming from search engine long tail traffic.

{mospagebreak title= How to Formule Future Long Tail Traffic Goals}

Now that you have defined the current performance, it should not be hard to formulate some goals to increase search engine traffic coming from long tai contentl. When formulating a goal, experts in goal setting advise that it should be “S.M.A.R.T”. This means:

S= Specific
M= Measurable
A = Attainable
R= Realistic
T = Time bounded

Supposing you and your team decide to increase the total daily visitors coming from search engine to thrice the current performance after two years. So if it is 636 daily visitors, it will be 636 x 3 or 1908 daily visitors from search engine after two years.

The question now is: Does this goal falls under “S.M.A.R.T” classification? Let’s examine and do some quantitative analysis. Let’s have some assumption. Let’s assume that the daily estimated visitors per published article in your website do not change. So it is still 4 visitors per published article per day.

The first thing that you need to examine is the “publishing schedule” of your articles. Of course, articles should be published with the intention to educate and help your visitors. It should be written as best as possible (with the word “quality” in mind). Avoid publishing “thin” and “generalized” type of articles; it won’t help much for your visitors searching for details as well as in attracting long tail traffic. There is a good article guideline that you can implement as shown here: http://www.seochat.com/c/a/Google-Optimization-Help/How-To-Increase-Google-Trust/

Writing a single great content takes a lot of time, research and hard work. Supposing you and your team are committed to publish 5 new great articles per week. So it will have a total of 20 new articles per month.

Let’s compute how much articles will be published in your website in a span of two years.

Number of articles per month = 20
Number of articles after one year = 20 x 12 = 240
Number of articles after two years = 240 x 2 = 480 articles published after two years.

Let’s compute how much will be the long tail traffic result of these 480 articles published after two years

Daily estimated visitors per published article = 4
Articles before improvement period = 159 articles
Articles after improvement period (realized after two years) = 159 articles + 480 articles = 639 total published articles in the website.

So this means that if there are 4 daily estimated visitors per published article, then:

Total search engine traffic from 639 published articles on a daily average = 639 x 4 visitors = 2556 visitors. This implies:

1.) By publishing 5 new articles per week, after two years it will realize the goal of reaching three times the current traffic.

2.) The team should be committed in publishing 5 new articles to the website each week.

Therefore, the goal falls under “S.M.A.R.T” classification.

Factors Affecting the Traffic Goal

There are lots of factors that can affect the performance of the website in terms of attracting long tail traffic from search engines. These factors can degrade the long tail traffic performance in the long run so its better you should take note of this:

1.) Participating in link schemes that can penalize the site – as your website gets bigger and attracting more visitors; your website is very attractive also to the link building market. They will try to convince you to put their website link on your homepage without the rel=”nofollow” attribute, in exchange for some big cash. Of course this will pass some Google page rank and will put your site under penalty if you get caught. Or the other way around could be that if you hire some SEO or link building company to do the job and you are completely unaware that they might be practicing things that can hurt your site. Like the case of J.C. Penney link scandal: http://www.seochat.com/c/a/Search-Engine-News/What-the-JC-Penney-Link-Buying-Scandal-Means-for-SEO/

If you will be penalized what will happen is that major search engines like Google will drop your long tail traffic, so instead of having 4 visitors per day, you may get only 1 or even none. The worst thing that can happen to a link scheme is getting your site ban.

2.) Increasing too much advertisements on the new and old content – because your website gets bigger and you have much higher level of traffic before; you might be tempted to put more ads in the hope of getting more income. This is fine but do not cross the border line. The primary reason is that too much ads can be annoying to your visitors. As a result, your old readers might stop reading your new content or new readers might not read your content completely because the ads. This means less visitor time in your website.

The negative effect is that these readers should have stayed longer in your website thus increasing the possibility of linking to your content or even liking your page in Facebook, etc. These positive benefits from maintaining or increasing visitor time can play a major role in attaining your long tail traffic goal.

3.) Failure to maintain “high content quality standards” – some webmasters or bloggers dreaming of increasing their search engine traffic are tempted to just publish content and failing to put “more work” on making it a more quality post/article.

This is true if you have set such a demanding article publishing schedule in your blog or website such as one new article per day and you have a day job (so it means you have very limited time to write).  Make sure to adjust your publishing schedule to something you can really write quality and helpful articles. For example publishing two articles per week is fine as long as content quality is not compromised.

It is why you have read stories of full-time bloggers quitting their day job so that they have more time to focus on writing quality posts for their blog on a daily basis.  Example of these bloggers is Darren Rowse: http://www.problogger.net/archives/2005/01/06/about-darren/

4.) Failure to maintain effective “link-baiting” techniques – links to your website are still very important factors used by search engine to rate the quality and reputation of your website. This will play a strong role in your long tail traffic. So make sure you will consistently think of innovative ways of attracting link from your readers. Now you have these high amount of website visitors, your next challenge is how to make them link to your site?

Some simple to implement yet effective method is to simply put the linking/hyperlink HTML code below your articles. So that after visitors read your content and plans to share your content by putting a link to your post; they can simply grab it and paste the HTML code on their own blogs/website.


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