Long Tail Keywords and Measuring their Performance: SEO

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The long tail should drive most of the natural search performance for ecommerce companies. Long tail theory assigns the labels `head’ and `tail’ to groups of keywords. As a SEO Services Company in Mumbai, the `head’ of the curve represents the keywords that drive the most traffic individually while the ‘tail’ of the curve is everything that doesn’t drive large amounts of traffic for each individual keyword.

Analyzing Keyword Performance

The only way to determine whether the long tail is working for your ecommerce site is to compare your keyword research with your analytics: matching the keyword report from your analytics with the keyword research you’ve done.

In this way you could see how many times a month on average a word or phrase has been searched for and also the number of visits your site has earned for the same keyword. Since most keyword data is not available, we can’t trust the data in our own analytics tools. We need to use a proxy. Google Search Console shows, the top 999 keyword queries that drove traffic via Google at any 3 month period gap.

The Search Analytics method has a couple of limitations. First, the data is for Google. You won’t see how the tail is performing in other Search Engines.

The second is that this data is available for only the last 3 months. You can’t analyze your performance against past performance unless you’ve been regularly saving the data.

Unless your site has a limited amount of products for sales, the 999 keywords which show up in Google Analytics will be too small to cover all the products.

Analyzing Entry Page Performance

The long tail of search also corresponds roughly to different page types, mapping to the typical hierarchy of an ecommerce e site. The head of the long tail keyword such as ‘cars’ and ‘ferrari’ which drive a lot of keywords demand individually would typically be targeted by the home page and major category pages of a site selling cars. And the long tail phrases ‘Porsche GT in grey’ would be targeted by some of the faceted subcategory pages and product pages.

SEO professionals also add the concept of the chunky middle. As a SEO Services Company in Navi Mumbai, the keywords that each drive decent traffic individually but aren’t large enough individually to be considered head phrases fit inot this category. This corresponds to lesser category pages, subcategory pages and some facet pages.

With this mapping in our mind, we can use as a proxy for long tail performance a natural search entry page report in our analytics. This works best of the most targeted pages deeper in the site – the pages representing the chunky middle and the long tail.

Similarly, if only your home page, a handful of main category pages, and your product pages are performing, you’re likely missing your chunky middle. A missing chunky middle is more common. The other common issue is a chunky middle hidden in a long tail. The page that should be driving moderate amount of traffic are instead driving very small amount. They will be hard to identify within the sea of long tail-targeting pages like product pages.

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