In a post last week, I discussed a certain Internet Marketer’s use of "straw man" arguments to debunk the "myth" of the long tail. Well, we have a bit more clarity this week.Since they apparently didn’t get my emails about this last week, you can imagine my surprise when they thought enough of li’l old me, to fire back with a new video.
Now in this video, while ignoring most of what I said last week (controversy sells!), Nancy is kind enough to clear up what she means when she talks about long tail keyword strategy. The straw man looks pretty much like I thought it did – the strategy that Nancy is debunking goes something like this:
- Identify thousands of search terms that generate as little targeted traffic as possible
- Build thousands of web pages to "target" these low-volume search terms
Nancy says that this kind of strategy is really dumb, and a terrible waste of time. Well, once again, I just have to say: "DUH!" Who in the world would tell you to go and do something like that? What kind of crazy "strategy" is that?? I mean, you’d have to be a complete…
Oh, wait! Actually, there are plenty of Internet Marketers who have promoted that very idea. In fact, there are a bunch of them selling software that will automatically generate thousands of pages of "content" to "target long tail searches."
They deserve every insult that Nancy fired at them. You go, girl! But can we please stop calling this crazy "doorway page" strategy "the long tail?" Just because they stole the name of a perfectly good idea to sell some crappy software, that doesn’t mean we have to let them keep it.
Nancy, I think we agree 100% that this particular idea is dumb. Neither one of us would ever give people that kind of advice, would we? So can we now agree that this straw man should be burned to the ground, its ashes scattered on unhallowed ground, and acid rain fall from the sky to wash it all away?
Thanks, Nancy… I’m glad we could agree.
Now, your assignment for next week is to actually read my entire post from last week, or read my book, or watch my video on keyword strategy (you’ve seen me give this talk live)… You can even watch your own video, because David hints at it near the end. There’s a better way to "target" the long tail.
Please Nancy, tell your eager audience how they can have their cake and eat it too, without throwing away time and money pursuing a "doorway page" strategy.
Because the right way to target the long tail, as I said last week, is to simply do your research, and be aware of the keyword modifiers that you should be working into your copy. This isn’t a bunch of extra work, and if you do it right, it even will make you a better copywriter.
Let’s take the student I mentioned last week as an example. No, he doesn’t have a huge team of people creating thousands of pages to target long tail search terms, because his coach would fire him if he did that. It doesn’t take 60,000 pages to bring in referrals from 60,000 search terms!
In fact, his site has about 1200 pages altogether, because he sells about 1,100 products. He uses an outsourced copywriter to write product descriptions when the new products come in. They work modifiers into the copy, from data that was collected during the keyword research step. With 1200 pages, 60,000 search terms in a few weeks’ time. If you look at a full year’s worth, it’s nearly 450,000 distinct search terms.
Weird… who ever thought this stuff could actually work?
What "targeting the long tail" really means:
- Going all out on your core search terms (the head)
- Using modifiers to make sure you are "in the game" on long tail searches.
No extra work. A lot more sales and leads. No doorway pages.
P.S. If you actually want to see Nancy’s video, you need to watch it before they pull it down. No, they aren’t going to pull it down because of me, they are pulling all of the videos down after showing them for a limited time. So if you don’t keep opening their emails and clicking, you’ll miss one. It’s kind of an interesting strategy – maybe one of these days Mike will let us know if it worked.
P.S.S. What’s really, totally weird and funny, is that I’m getting traffic ( and conversions!) coming in from searches for Nancy Andrews SEO. Apparently my post created some kind of "instant ranking trick" and it shows up above Nancy’s own blog on Google search results… and that search term showed up in my "converting terms" report. For the record, neither one of us would actually try to optimize a web page for a long tail term like that. That would be foolish. You’d have to be a complete… oh yeah, I said that already.