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The Art of SEO, 2nd Edition by Rand Fishkin, Jessie Stricchiola, Stephan Spencer, Eric Enge

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Leveraging the Long Tail of Keyword Demand

As we discussed at the beginning of this chapter, the long tail of search is where 70% of search queries occur. Only 30% of those precious queries happen in the more obvious terms that people use, the so-called “head terms.” Another way to underscore this is that in May 2007, Google Vice President Udi Manber indicated that 20% to 25% of all search queries that Google receives on a given day are queries that Google is seeing for the first time. You can think of this as the “ultra-long tail.”

The long tail of search queries in a given industry is typically not visible via any of the major keyword research services or search engine ad databases (Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and MSN adCenter). In these instances, there is a method to find those terms that can carry value, but it requires a good amount of research and analysis.

With this in mind, let’s outline a few methods for finding long-tail terms.

Extracting Terms from Relevant Web Pages

One source for long-tail terms is web pages that do well for searches that are relevant to your target market. Here is a basic process for finding those pages and extracting that information from them:

  1. Extract the top 10 to 50 most common search phrases at the head of the distribution graph from your existing keyword research in the industry.

  2. Search Google and Bing for each term.

  3. For each page in the top 10 to 30 results, extract the unique usable text on the page.

  4. Remove stop words and filter by phrase ...

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