Long-tail keywords in 2012

Long Tail Dinasaur

There’s a temptation, when designing your PPC campaigns, to use broad keywords that are likely to have high search volumes. However, there’s another popular approach to PPC. According to this approach, you should use long-tail keywords which have a low volume but high click through rate. While an individual long-tail keyword might not contribute much to your PPC campaign, a number of these might provide a more cost effective way of driving sales, particularly if you choose them so that they target people at the stage where they’re about to make a purchase. On the other hand, more and more people have begun to take advantage of this approach, driving up the competition to bid for these. This post will explore long-tail keywords in 2012.

SEO LongTail

Traditionally long-tail keywords have been seen as cheap ways of generating leads for your business. Partly, this is because they are intended to have a high conversion rate so each click through is more likely to lead to a sale. It is also because the bidding so such keywords has traditionally been lower. That’s the traditional view but what’s the view of long-tail keywords in 2012.

Benefits of a long-tail approach

Long Tail DinasaurWhile a standard keyword might be something like “chess boards” a long-tail keyword might instead be “wooden chess boards”. There are a number of advantages to the long-tail approach. For a start, because the keyword is more specific, there’s a good chance less people will be bidding for it. On top of this, if you use multiple long-tail keywords instead of a single broad one, it will be easier to adjust your bid prices for individual elements of the campaign so that you can increase the chance of some adverts being displayed without uniformly increasing your bid price. Overall, long-tail keywords can be a cost effective way of converting leads.

Disadvantages of a long-tail approach

On the other hand, many of the benefits of long-tail keywords have been eroded in recent years. Not only have long-tail keywords become popular enough to drive up bid prices but Google, and other search engines, have implemented a number of features that make a long-tail approach less useful than it used to be. Given this, it’s not as clear that long-tail approaches are the best way to proceed with a modern PPC campaign. On top of this, some people advise against long-tail keywords for other reasons like, for example, the comparative simplicity of managing a smaller number of keywords rather than a huge number of low volume ones.

On balance

Whether a long-tail approach suits your campaign will depend on the bid prices for the different keywords you are focusing on as well as on your ability to manage a campaign involving a large number of keywords. However, a few years ago, a long-tail approach was suitable for everyone. In 2012 the issue is more complex and your approach will depend on your individual needs.

Do you use long-tail keywords in your campaigns?

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