Getting traffic from the search engines is a great way to scale website traffic, for free. The quality of the visitors are high and it doesn’t cost like paid ads. But the biggest challenge for marketers is getting good rankings on the search result pages.

Getting good rankings for competitive keywords is extremely hard. The website needs to have a good domain authority and relevant backlinks from trusted sources. That cannot be created overnight.

However, you need not wait forever to start tapping into high-quality search engine traffic for your relatively new website. Instead of trying to rank for short-tail keywords, rank for long-tail keywords. You will start ranking faster, because there is less competition in the long tail.

In this article, I want to show you some of the strategies that I’ve used to tap into the search traffic from long tail keywords. Short-tail keywords are highly competitive and have a lot of search volume. Long tail keywords have low search volume, but there are many possibilities.

A good thing about long tail keywords is that the quality of the traffic will be better than the ones from short-tail keywords. That’s because the internet users who search with long tail keywords are deeper into the buying funnel than the people who search for short tail keywords. The following graph makes it clear.

Someone searching for “digital marketing training institutes in Bangalore”is more likely to sign up for a digital marketing training program than someone who searches for just “digital marketing”.

To scale your search traffic using long tail keywords, you need more content. This increases your investment in content generation. As long as you believe that the investment in the content is going to produce enough returns, you can go ahead with it.

Calculating ROI on Long-tail Content

Creating content costs money. The returns are not immediate in this case because I do not monetize my blog with display ads. Then how do I justify the investment made in the creation of this content?

Let’s have a look at the numbers from my Google Analytics. Here, you can see that this page on Mumbai digital marketing courses has got 31.5k unique views over the past two years and 27.7k unique views.

I convert around 13% of my visitors to email subscribers. That means that from this article alone I would have got 2,700+ email subscribers over the period of the past two years. If I have a page specific campaigns using OptinChat, then I might be able to convert as high as 25% of my visitors into subscribers.

I spend around Rs.10 – 20 for every subscriber via Facebook Ads. So every subscriber is worth at least Rs.10 to my business. When I launch courses, I would get an ROI from this investment.  If I can get the same quality subscriber from some other source for a lower cost, then its a huge profit for me.

This article has given me 2,700 subscribers at least, until now, over the past two years. And it will continue to give me more subscribers into the future. Acquiring 2,700 subscribers using Facebook Ads would have costed me Rs.27,000 in ad cost.

I invested only Rs.2,000 to get this article written by a content writer. That’s a 1250% return on investment over a period of 2 years.

Now I can do the same for every major city in India and tap into the high quality targeted traffic that is available out there on the web. The cheaper I acquire quality subscribers, the higher is my profit margin when I launch my courses.

The Long Tail Concept

The long tail is not limited to SEO. The concept of the long tail has been there for quite some time and exists in retail and e-commerce business as well.

Amazon was able to beat other traditional book stores because Amazon has “unlimited shelf space”. 

A traditional book store can only store so many books on their shelf, so they only store the best selling ones. This is the short tail. High demand, popular, known to everyone. Let’s say, for a book to qualify to be on the shelf of a typical book store, it needs to sell 500 copies a month.

Amazon stores all their books on warehouses which are away from the city. There is no shortage of storage space, so they can store even books which sell only 50 copies a month.

More than 50% of Amazon’s book sales come from the long tail topics, which are large in number but each topic will have limited demand.

Amazon is a disrupter in the books space and they used the concept of long-tail. They competed with well-established book stores like Barnes and Noble, and crushed them. All with the power of long-tail.

If you want to compete against the big websites, focus on the long tail. Competition in the long tail will be low. Big players will not focus on niches because the market size is not big enough for them.

The long tail, with so many possibilities, together can sometimes be bigger than the short tail, as seen on Amazon’s case here. That’s why long tail is the future of SEO.

There is also a book called The Long Tail by Chris Anderson which is an entire book only on this topic.

As the book’s title says, the future of business is all about selling less of more.

Have more product options, sell a little bit of everything.

And the future of SEO is getting less traffic to more number of pages on your website.

Together, the total traffic will be more than the short tail keyword traffic that your well-established competitors get.