Long Tail Keywords: Best Kept Secret that Experts Don’t Tell you About

Guest Post by Irene Watson

Last week I mentioned to use long tail keywords and the question came up as “What are long tail keywords?”

First of all let’s address what a keyword is. Wikipedia says: a term used as a keyword to retrieve documents in an information system such as a catalog or a search engine. What this really means is what keywords someone would type into a search engine when looking for information, and in our case, as authors, our book.

Now, let’s talk about what “Long Tail” means. The term was first coined in 2004 by Chris Anderson in Wired Magazine . It’s a statistical theory that shows collective sales of products in low demand can exceed that of bestsellers. Low demand – that’s us, isn’t it? (Yes, I know…we want to be high demand but let’s face it, we aren’t…but, read on.) If we apply this theory to Amazon, we see they make low-demand products available and at the same time achieve high profit margins by selling those low-demand products: books by unknown authors. Yep, that’s us.

Okay, so, that’s all fine and dandy and confusing, but how do we sell more books?

First of all, let’s talk a little more about long tail keywords. When they are applied to websites, the websites are most likely to get more low-volume search queries than a few of those that use specific keywords. And, that’s what we want – we want to capture those that want to specifically come to our site and not those that spend less than 3 seconds after they find out that’s not where they want to be.
Next question: What are long tail keywords? Yes, I know…you’ve been waiting for this so here goes: Long tail keywords are multi-phrase words that potential readers of your book use on search engines to arrive at your website. They are targeted and fill the need of the visitor. (Keywords used to be a succession of individual key words, separated by a comma, that described your product.)

Still confused? Okay, I’ll give you an example of my own personal website: http://www.irenewatson.com There I have three of my books listed: Rewriting Life Scripts: Transformational Recovery for Families of Addicts; The Sitting Swing: Finding Wisdom to Know the Difference; Authors Access: 30 Success Secrets for Authors and Publishers.

Because each of the books has a different target market, I am challenged to capture potential readers of all books. “Recovery” is my general keyword topic for two of them, while my other books’ general keyword topic is “writing.” I have to decide what my highest priority is and for me; it is my most recent book “Rewriting Life Scripts: Transformational Recovery for Families of Addicts.” The long tail keywords within its niche on my home page are:

*recovery for addicts
*recovery for families of addicts
*rewriting life scripts in recovery
*help for families of addicts who are in recovery
*where to go when family members have an addict in recovery
*finding wisdom to know the difference in recovery
and then I threw in:
*secrets to writing a book
*how to write a book
*irene watson (just in case someone is looking for me.)

As you can see, the long tail keywords are actual search queries that the potential visitor will key into the search engine. Using long tail keywords optimizes the site and creates content to match search queries. (When you change your keywords to long tail keywords give it time for all the search engines to spider your site. This could take up to 30 days.)

When I changed my keywords on my personal site to long tail keywords, I immediately started getting more visits; the visitors doubled in the first month and steadily growing. And, I get at least 10 new sign-ups a day for a free e-book. (You can sign up for a free e-book too: http://www.irenewatson.com) My Google ranking went from a 1 to a 3. For a site that once appeared stagnant this is pretty darn good.

So, why are you doing this? Because:

*you want to tap into your target market and drive potential buyers of your book to your site
*your site will rank better on search engines over weaker sites (those using individual keywords or none at all)
*you’ll get more visitors to your site because your pages will be indexed for specific phrases that relate to your book
*your visitors are specifically targeted – they get on your site because they want to be there.

There are a number of free and paid keyword programs available online but I’d do a lot of research before using or buying one. They are just programs and are generalized – they don’t know your target market nor do they know your book. The best “program” to create long tail keywords is you.

One more thing – go to your Google Analytics and record your stats. You’ll want to use them as your baseline.

Okay, now go to your site and start creating long tail keywords. Focus on your home page but also be sure to create long tail keywords for your all your other pages as well. Next week I’m going to talk more about this and your next step to optimize and monetize your book website.


Irene Watson is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.


Posted on October 24, 2010, in Publicity & Writing, Writing & Publishing. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. How do you implement the use of long tail keywords? My website uses WordPress so I'm not sure where to enter the long tail keywords.Thank you.

  2. Irene, I've only just now found the time to read some of your e-mail newsletters, which I've been saving until a day when I would have a few moments to spare. And now I'm so glad I hung on to them. Thank you for sharing your insight! I sincerely appreciate your advice, which I am looking forward to implementing as soon as possible!!Best,DeeDee

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