- The Secret To Getting Organic Traffic Is Writing a Lot of Stuff
- Long Tail Keywords
- What’s a Long Tail Keyword?
- Examples of Long Tail Keywords in Action
- Why Semrush’s Data is Wrong
- How Do I Find Long Tail Keywords?
- Getting Keyword Ideas
- Writing Content About Your Keywords
- Why Long Tail Traffic Rocks
- The Problem With Long Tail Traffic
- Quick Recap
The Secret To Getting Organic Traffic Is Writing a Lot of Stuff
You probably are. But don’t be. Keep reading and I’ll show you why writing a lot of stuff works, and will keep working. Your fancy backlinking strategy may go bust in a year or two, but my method has worked nearly 8 years for me.
If anything it’s gotten better over time.
The best way to get a lot of traffic is to have a lot of content. Shocking! I know. A lot of people seem to be super focused on building backlinks, focusing on On-Page SEO and social media. Yeah all of that is great; but it’s time-consuming and doesn’t always give you the best results if you don’t know what you’re doing. Writing content on the other hand doesn’t take some extraordinary skill or understanding of search engines. You just need to be able to write.
Content matters. This is coming from a guy who builds blog networks, and has repeatedly said “screw content, it’s all about backlinks baby!”.
While On & Off Page SEO are important; your content is more important. As long as Google can index your website your fine.
I’m not saying On & Off Page SEO aren’t going to help you. Hell yes they will. Having good On-Page SEO is a big deal, and will give you amazing ROI for time and money invested. Also who would say no to high quality backlinks? Not me.
But even with horrible On & Off Page SEO you’ll be fine. How do I know?
Here I’ll show you.
The website above is a website I made a long time ago. I didn’t build backlinks, I never researched keywords. My site was poorly optimized.
Despite all of that I managed to get it up to 7500 organic visitors monthly. Then I promptly got bored with the site and let it die a slow and painful death.
The point in all of this is to show you this:
If your website has enough content your going to get organic traffic. Even if you do your best to screw everything up. As long as Google can index your website you’ll be fine. Here’s how my keywords looked.
- My #1 keyword brought me 21,301 searches. About 39% of all traffic
- My #2 keyword brought me 2,134 searches. About 4% of all traffic.
- The top 10 keywords combined didn’t even bring me 50% of traffic.
Long Tail Keywords
That’s the secret. Look at the green arrow. I had about 10,000+ keywords bring traffic to my website. The majority of the keywords were long tail. I never did any keyword research, or even had a clue what keywords I should have been targeting. Even the keyword that brought me 21,000+ visitors was a fluke.
I never did any backlinking, but did get some natural backlinks (tends to happen when your content is good + you’re getting thousands of visitors).
My site could have been much better then it was. Some simple On-Page SEO tweaks alone would have probably increased my traffic by 50%.
So How Did I Do It?
I wrote lot’s of content. Seriously lots. I would average 1-2 posts a day (that’s a lot for me). Each post would be around 200 – 600 words. Although my content was much shorter than what I would recommend, I still got lot’s of long tail search traffic. More content would have been a lot better.
The goal of the website was never to make me money. The website above was a passion project. I did it out of enjoyment (sick isn’t it?).
Write Enough Content, and Long Tail Traffic is Guaranteed.
The secret to getting organic traffic isn’t anything fancy. It’s just content. That’s all you need and you’re guaranteed to get some long tail traffic.
Write content = Get traffic
It’s pretty straightforward. That said, there are a lot of things you can do to make the content more effective. I’ll tell you what you can do to increase your chance of success in a minute, but first lets talk about long tail keywords.
What’s a Long Tail Keyword?
I talked about this in my keyword research guide, but let’s talk about it again quickly. A long tail keyword / phrase is:
- A keyword that gets very few searches, <10 a month.
- Usually composed of multiple words (but not always!)
- Won’t show up in any keyword research tool (Google Keyword Planner)
Most long tail keywords will follow the rules above, but as with all thing’s there may be a few exceptions.
Chart is from MOZ: https://moz.com/blog/illustrating-the-long-tail
What Does This Chart Mean?
It means more people are searching for terms that are long and unique then something you would immediately recognize as a keyword. For example:
- How to lose weight
The keyword above is fairly common. It’s 4 words, but it’s not a long tail keyword, even though it’s composed of 4 words.
Here’s an example of a long tail keyword:
- How to lose weight fast this Friday 9 PM before prom begins
The keyword above is a long tail keyword. If you checked the traffic on the Google Keyword Planner tool the keyword above would have zero traffic.
How to lose weight on the other hand gets about 110,000 searches a month; in the USA alone.
Long tail traffic is responsible for the majority of all searches, but you’ll never find these keywords in the Google Keyword Planner. They’re simply too unique; like my keyword example above.
Examples of Long Tail Keywords in Action
I like to read a blog by a guy named Matthew WoodWard. He writes some great stuff, but he’s also pretty open about sharing his blog stats like traffic. He shared his blog traffic recently.
For the month of October 2015 his blog had nearly 42,000 organic visitors from Google alone, which is a hell of a lot. What I find most interesting is that he’s not really ranking for many high traffic terms. Here, let’s have a look at what he’s ranking for:
Matthew’s site is ranking for about 6,800 keywords, which are in position 1 to 100. His number 1 keyword is his name. Which has around 590 searches a month, and is responsible for about 30% of his traffic. Obviously the Semrush data is wrong.
Why Semrush’s Data is Wrong
The more long tail content you rank for the worse Semrush’s estimates is going to be.Why?
Simple, they don’t have traffic data for these keywords. True long tail keywords won’t show up in any data tool, since they’re a unique search (they have less than <10 searches a month). I’m sure Matthew’s website get’s a lot of random longtail traffic. But I don’t have access to his webmaster tools so we won’t know for sure.
Semrush estimates Matthew had 1,300 organic visitors (from the U.S) for October, 2015.
Is Matthew lying and not really getting 42,000 organic visitors?
No, he’s not lying. Semrush is just wrong; it can’t account for all the long tail phrases he’s ranking for.
Matthew’s blog is interesting because he doesn’t build backlinks. If he built backlinks and focused on ranking a few keywords Semrush would have a better traffic estimate for his blog.
When you rank for a few keywords with a lot of traffic Semrush is better able to estimate your traffic since the big keywords represent a bigger chunk of your total traffic. Longtail keywords completely mess with Semrush’s algorithm.
Matthew’s blog is similar to my own website example, since we both didn’t build backlinks to rank anything. The only difference is that half my traffic was longtail, but Matthew’s website probably has 70%+ longtail traffic. I got lucky and ended up ranking for a keyword with lot’s of traffic.
Matthew is a perfect poster child for random long tail keywords & phrases and how effective they can be. Since he:
- Writes long and detailed articles/ guides (2,000+ words)
- Doesn’t purposely create backlinks.
Matthew was able to get up to 42,000 Organic visitors from Google just by creating good long-form content and having a well optimized website. If he focused on creating backlinks for a few of his key terms he could probably rank some high traffic terms fairly easily.
One More Quick Example of Long Tail in Action!
Had to give a shout out to Neil Patel at Quick Sprout. Around 91% of Quick Sprout’s organic traffic is from long tail phrases.
You can read more about it here.
Okay you should now be sold on long tail, and writing longer articles. Now what?
How Do I Find Long Tail Keywords?
You don’t. Not “true” long tail keywords anyway. They’re unique keywords for a reason. There are a few things you can do to help you get long tail keyword traffic:
- Long-Form Content (2,000+ words of content, at minimum). Longer articles give you a chance to include long tail keywords.
Longer articles rank better. Neil Patel has a great post about Long-Form Content and how it affects rankings, you can read it here.
- Make your content good. Writing 2,000+ words of garbage isn’t going to do you any good. Sure you’ll still get long tail traffic. Long term you will suffer. Bad content = higher bounce rate. Higher bounce rate = Google’s going to make your life bad sooner or later. Writing good content is also better because people will share it, and you’ll get REAL backlinks, for FREE. Amazing isn’t it?
Lot’s of content + quality = Lot’s of long tail traffic. That’s the secret recipe to getting lot’s of organic traffic. Nothing fancy. A first grader can understand this formula.
Getting Keyword Ideas
Before we get started trying to generate long tail keyword ideas, there’s a few thing’s you should know.
- We want to start with broad keywords and work our way down to more focused keywords.
- The keywords we use should be getting traffic (don’t pick keywords with 50 searches a month)
- Keyword should have value. Don’t pick keywords with lot’s of traffic but no commercial intent. You want to make money. Traffic is worthless if you can’t convert it.
- Try to find keywords that help answer a question
Go into long tail pro, or whatever keyword tool you’re comfortable using. It could be Google keyword planner, or something else. I’m going to use long tail pro for this, since it’s the easiest tool for the job. Type in a broad keyword. In this example we’ll use “how to lose weight”.
We need to find a keyword with a lot of potential for variations. Weight loss is a really easy niche, since there’s so many questions and possible variations of keywords. The keyword we choose should be able to create a lot of similar keywords.
Okay, so I found an interesting keyword: how to lose weight in.
This is keyword is pretty vague. I know it has lot’s of potential long tail keywords. Since it can be literally anything. For example:
- How to lose weight in 3 weeks really fast
- How to lose weight in 4 weeks before wedding
- How to lose weight in 48 hours
As long as you follow this formula: How to lose weight in + any time frame
This keyword has insane potential for generating long tail keywords. Here’s what we could do to get some more keyword ideas. Go to Ubersuggest.org
You can also go to keywordtool.io to get more ideas. Here’s what I got:
Or just do a Google search and scroll down, you should see some related keywords. Like so:
Writing Content About Your Keywords
We have some keywords, now we need to write some content. This is going to be the tricky part. There’s two ways we can do this. First thing’s first we need our keyword list.
Here are the main keywords we’re going to target.
The Two Ways of Writing Content
1) You can create multiple articles for each of the keywords above. Articles should be at least 2,000+ words. There’s 14 keywords above, so you’d end up with around 28,000 words of content. I would not recommend this. The content would be far too similar and repetitive. Not really good for users. Basically don’t do it this way.
2) Create one massive and insanely awesome article. This is what I would recommend. You can easily add all the keywords into one article. Here’s how I would do this:
Title of article: How to lose weight in no time!
<h2> How to lose weight in 1 a day </h2>
Add content here about losing weight in 1 day
<h2> How to lose weight in 1 week </h2>
Add content here about losing weight in 1 week
<h3> How to lose weight in 2 weeks </h2>
Add content here about losing weight in 2 weeks
Inside the content I would add keywords like how to lose weight in a healthy way. Add as many of the keywords from the lists we generated above. As long as the keywords make sense. Don’t force keywords into awkward positions just for the sake of having them. Content readability is the #1 thing you should focus on.
You should end up with a lot of content. For the amount of keywords in the example above, I would expect 5,000+ words of content.
After some time your site should start to rank for some of the keywords above, plus a hell of a lot of random long tail keywords. The long tail keywords should drive the majority of organic traffic to your article.
How long it takes to get long tail traffic will depend on a lot of factors. I wouldn’t expect anything major for the first 3 months.
Helping The Searcher
I want to stress this again before you start blasting out content like crazy. Writing a lot of words for the sake of having a lot of words is meaningless.
Your content should help the searcher.
Ask yourself these two questions before you post your article:
- “Would someone share this article to a friend?”
- “Does this content help the searcher?”
Why Long Tail Traffic Rocks
Long tail traffic may not have the huge volume of searches you’re used to, but it has something far more important. Commercial intent. In general when people do a really long tail search they are far more likely to convert. Just think about it for a second. Here’s an example:
Keyword #1 -> TV reviews
Keyword #2 -> Samsung J5000 48″ tv review
Which keyword do you think will perform better? Obviously keyword #2 is going to perform much better. The searcher already knows what brand of TV they want, the size and model. They just need review to reassure them that the Samsung TV isn’t crap.
Long tail keywords will generally out perform non long tail. Not always, but generally.
The Problem With Long Tail Traffic
The biggest problem with getting long tail traffic is that you have to write high quality long-form content consistently.
You’re not going to see results quickly, it will take time. No normal person wants to spend time writing high quality content that nobody’s going to read for months.
You could always hire someone to write great content for you. But you probably won’t. Here’s why:
- Good content isn’t cheap
- You need a lot of good content
Most people and businesses would rather invest the money and time into other thing’s like link building, social media and paid advertising.
If you put in the time and you will not regret it. Most people will have trouble staying focused and writing great content for months on end. Myself included.
I’m not particularly passionate about many of my website niches. Really how many normal people love insurance enough to consistently write 2,000+ word articles on it?
That’s why I build backlinks to my website. The example site I used was something I was passionate about. That’s why I was able to write so much content, and so consistently. I would recommend you pick something you enjoy, and something that preferably has a chance of making you money.
What I do
I build backlinks. Like I mentioned above, I hate writing; especially about the topics my websites are focused on (BoredMarketer is a rare exception).
Most of my websites are a combination of long-form content + backlinking. It works well for me.
I would still recommend focusing on long tail keywords for the majority of people out there. Writing a lot of high quality content doesn’t require any special skills or understanding of search engines. Anyone can write high quality content consistently; and they will see results.
If you do the bare basic SEO you should have no trouble getting organic search traffic.
No need to build backlinks, no need for social media, no need for networking with others.
Although I would still highly recommend that you do all of the above.
Just keep writing
- Pick keywords that get traffic and have long tail potential
- Write 2000+ words of content at least
- Make sure your content helps the searcher
That’s it. Nothing too complex. Just write stuff!
Have a question? Suggestion? Or something to say? Share it with the world and comment below!
I use weight loss keyword examples so often that I’m starting to get long tail traffic for weight loss. Found this very funny, so had to share it. Also this post is about 2900 words long, so I practice was I preach (somewhat).