Killer SEO tip: How to make the long tail pay
Content, like SEO, has a long tail. The long tail, in SEO terms, refers to "all the SEO keywords and phrases (usually longer ones) that tend to send only a small amount of traffic, if any".
Likewise, when it comes to content, some articles, blog posts, or marketing material will drive large volumes of qualified traffic, and others won't (i.e. your content long tail).
If you're in the mood for being sneaky and getting a lot of SEO juice without having to work too hard, then read on. This article is going to look at how to revitalize "long tail content" and turn it into an SEO and traffic generation machine, using simple techniques.
How to re-SEO long tail content
I look at my content as a big ball of SEO "potential". Some articles are realizing their potential by driving traffic, engaging readers, converting visitors into paying customers and clients... and others aren't.
Those article that aren't might need a quick SEO facelift to pick them up and get them working. It would be a shame to let all this content go to waste. The "meat" is all there, the articles just need polishing, a bit of tweaking, some re-purposing, etc.
Why does content need an SEO facelift?
There are many reasons that content might need to be tweaked or updated. For example, as I've blogged, I've learned and improved my writing for the Web. This means, by definition, that some of my older articles are not as engaging, exciting, SEO'd, as my current standards dictate - even though all of them are original, unique and genuinely useful pieces of content.
You might want to check out the following articles that talk about recent SEO issues (in light of Google's Panda and Penguin algorithm updates):
- Panda & Penguin friendly SEO: A business guide to recovering from Google's algorithm updates
- Five money making SEO tips for small business online stores
- Five awesome tips to extract valuable SEO secrets from Google analytics data
- How to double your search traffic using SEO, Webmaster tools and Google analytics
How to select SEO facelift candidates
Every now and then, I do the following:
- Decide on an SEO keyword or phrase I want to perform better on
- Find articles that are doing well
- Find related articles that are not doing well
- Refresh the target articles using a variety of SEO facelift techniques
It's important to focus in on a small group of articles that you believe are the best candidates for renewed SEO. The idea is to gain as much SEO benefit without having to expend huge amounts of effort - something you would end up doing if you randomly spent time updating articles.
There are a lot of SEO techniques you can use to provide content with said SEO facelift.
SEO facelift techniques
This section is going to give you a few ideas about the type of SEO tricks you might use to re-invigorate your content and SEO long tail. I'm sure you clever people out there can come up with a few more, so share them below in the comments or join the discussion on Twitter or LinkedIn.
1. Improving SEO with internal links
Relating older content to newer content, or content that performs better is a great way to improve the flow of traffic around your site and give older articles a new lease on life.
In order to get an idea about which content you would like to improve using the internal linking SEO technique, look for the following signals:
- Doesn't drive traffic
- Closely related, in subject, to more popular content
- Doesn't perform on target SEO keywords
There are a number of ways you can get this type of information off Google analytics. For example, go to "Content >> Site Content >> Pages" and look at the articles or blog posts that have received the least traffic over the last year or so.
Go ahead and update both articles to link to each other in an organic and natural way. Make sure that your non-performing content is up to the standard of the higher performing content. You might have to work on it a bit before linking them.
2. Updating outdated content
Sometimes an article simply falls out of date. Let's say you wrote a top ten list of the best SEO companies a few years back. It's likely that there are new companies on the scene by now, so why not go back and update it?
Add newer companies and republish and share - alerting anyone you mentioned in the article via Twitter.
Adding a few new paragraphs is much easier than writing a whole article from scratch, but the SEO and social marketing benefits might be the same.
3. Re-SEO content based on Google analytics data
The beauty of working on older content is that you should have plenty of analytical, SEO data built up. Use this information to find out why the article doesn't do well in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Sometimes all it takes is a few changes to the opening sentence or paragraph to better focus the article for the target SEO keywords.
4. Give Google fresh content
Google loves fresh content. There is no SEO law against updating existing content. Do a bit of keyword research on the articles you want to improve, and spruce them up.
Content that has been refreshed still maintains any SEO juice it has built up in its lifetime, so you are working from a "higher base" than completely new articles.
5. Add Social "hooks"
Sometimes the only thing content lacks is the human touch. Update older articles with a section referencing other articles, people, products or services. Then tweet about the update, ensuring that you "@" reference the people or companies involved.
Often, people are delighted to get coverage in someone else's blog and they will pass on your article to their followers. This can breath new life into content that should have had an impact, but never really fired.
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