Long Tail Searches by Example

Ranking for a single keyword can be very lucrative (just ask Scott and his tattoos) but ranking for any semi-competitive keyword or phrase is both difficult (especially for new sites) and may not be the most profitable of rankings. Whilst doing a bit of stat research last week I found I was getting a bit of traffic for the term inflatable water slides, after checking on Google I saw my site was currently in the #2 spot but the year old page was getting twice as much traffic as that ranking was generating, time for a bit more research.

In the past two weeks the page has been found 1,435 for the term ‘inflatable waterslide’, however Google Analytics was reporting:

This page was viewed 2,794 times via 147 keywords

So it was getting nearly the same amount of traffic again from 146 different phrases. I won’t list all the phrases here as that would get somewhat repetitive however here’s a selection of the top and bottom.

Water Slide Top
Water Slide Bottom

I often find when a page consists of 200+ words it can draw traffic like this and even if you can’t get a first page for your chosen phrase there is still plenty of traffic to be had. Another interesting thing that I saw in this example is that it was being found for words that weren’t in the main text. I was getting traffic from ‘inflatable slide reviews’ and the word review was never mentioned. However when I looked at the page there is a link to one of my other blogs:

Game Addicts Reports on all the latest news in the gaming industry along with reviews on the latest addictive games

Which is where Google was getting the review keyword from (it was highlighted in the site snippet in the SERPs). So one of the lessons I’ve learnt from this is to have a few more generic terms dotted around my template that could be appropriate for many of my pages, words such as review, buy, for sale, sell, discount, cheap etc.

Another thing I’ve found is that certain long tail search terms are much more profitable than the shorter version, if you had a site selling say tattoo guns, how would you rather be found, for the generic term “tattoos” or the more targeted “tattoo guns for sale”, it’s not just about numbers it’s also about quality.

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.


  1. Spot on Al, Using modifiers within your template and articles is a great way of attracting less competetive long tail traffic.

    Aaron Wall wrote a good article here: http://www.seobook.com/archives/001668.shtml which touches on keyword modifiers, download his excel spreadsheet for ideas on different types of modifiers.

  2. The competitor in me always wants the top keyword though 😉 But the stats don’t lie, I had 1,306,857 unique page views to my homepage in the last month with only 375,597 of those actually coming from the most popular keyword term ‘tattoos’. So almost a million page views from the other 8,171 keyword terms combined just for that page, you have to love and chase the long tail.

  3. Do any of you use hittail.com to track longtail keywords? I have used it on and off since last year and it has some good suggestions on what you can work on.

    • I’ve heard of it but not used it, so I’ll add that one to my list of services to check out.

    • I’ve used hittail.com, and it’s a nice interface for seeing what long tail keywords you’re getting hits from. I haven’t had enough traffic yet to make its suggestions especially relevant, though.

  4. It’s very tough to get people to look beyond the primary search phrase that they assume they’re dependent on for traffic. Great explanation.

  5. I found out that some of the generic terms that get me a lot of traffic are: free, online, information, …

    So yes, thanks for some other terms that are always nice to include somewhere on the page.

  6. It is really intresting. Yes only 20-30% traffic comes from the primary keywords and the rest all traffic comes from long tail keywords.

    Focusing on those long tail keywords and build content can generate more traffic.

    By the way Google Analytics is awesome it can generate more than 80 different kind of Analytics reports of your site.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. I used to have a simmiler issue with my website with the term “md5 encrypter”

    I then realised that the word “encrypter” isn’t very common, but still it generates some views.

    So would it be a good idea to pick unusual titles or better stick to classic?

  8. Thanks ash for the link i have been experimenting with some of those long tail keywords i found in analytics as you mention they are very interesting to review.

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