Improve SERP Rankings with Long Tail Keywords

by Brian Farrell July 27th, 2012 

As part of their ongoing research, the Lawyers.com Search Engine Optimization team regularly tracks and analyzes user behavior in search engines like Google, Bing & Yahoo. In doing so, they uncovered an evolving trend.

Simply put, users are increasingly employing long tail keywords (three to five word phrases) to zero in on exactly what legal information they're looking for, especially when searching for an attorney or law firm. By evolving the Lawyers.com website's long tail keyword strategy, the SEO team dramatically improved not only placement on the SERPs, but also overall natural search traffic.

Here's how they did it:
First, they analyzed lead-generating SERP rankings, looking at keywords and corresponding page traffic, including number of visits, how many visits were Google-referred, and the number of leads generated.

Next, using sources like ComScore, Optify and WebTrends, they examined the organic long tail keywords people aresearching with. This reinforced the new search trend findings and helped establish search data specific to Lawyers.com.

Data from a combination of sources helped the team members identify opportunities to optimize targeted pages with the long-tail terms that visitors were using. They also found many pages targeting these specific long tail keywords were dynamically-generated pages not included in Lawyers.com's XML sitemap. Because of this, last July, a new XML sitemap format was generated that:

  • Optimized existing pages for long tail keywords (on-page changes, such as <meta> tags);
  • Included newly-created "static" URLs for pages and included them in the file

The results:
Targeted Lawyers.com pages appearing in Google SERP listings position 1-10 increased from 14% in July 2011 to 53% by year's end.

The take-away:
Continuously review your website SEO analytics, focusing specifically on the search terms, and identify any user search-behavior trends. Determine the long-tail keywords visitors are searching with; revise/optimize the existing pages or add new pages as needed; and track Google and other SERP listings accordingly to monitor results. As this is an organic campaign, the results won't happen overnight; however, if you continue to keep a close eye on your analytics, you should begin to see your site's results improve.

This graphic shows the increase in tracked keyword (percentage of targeted pages in Google Top 10 SERP listing). Source: Optify

Source: Optify

If you liked this, you might also enjoy How to Find and Target Longtail Keywords That Make Money  

Brian Farrell

Brian Farrell is the Managing Consultant @ FIND the CLIENT - a sales consulting organization providing interim sales leadership as well as training, recruitment & sales coaching for B2B sales organizations.

FIND the CLIENT 

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One Response to “Improve SERP Rankings with Long Tail Keywords”

  1. I would agree upon the importance of long tail key words. On one of my sites, most of the traffic comes from long tail key words. I just wrote as much quality content as I could and this generated a whole slew of search returns which I could have never planed for.