How to use long-tail keywords to build your short-tail rankings

If you have a relatively new or low-authority website, then you know how difficult it can be to rank for high-volume, short-tail keyword phrases. Heck, any competitive keyword can pose a challenge, even for well-established sites.
I often hear experts talk about going after the low-hanging fruit of keywords. “Forget about the short tail,” they say.
I agree that that going after the low-hanging fruit is a good strategy, but not at the expense of those highly competitive phrases that will drive some great traffic to your site. Rather, it’s that low-hanging fruit that paves the way to ranking for those more competitive phrases.
Very few searches are truly unique
When it comes to search terms, there isn’t a whole lot new under the sun. Google says that 15 percent of all queries they get have never been used before, but that doesn’t mean it’s unique in the true sense of the word. Let’s assume, for example, that neither of the

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Report: 57% of traffic now from smartphones and tablets

It’s been a little over two years since Google first announced that mobile searches had exceeded desktop queries on a global basis. That number has continued to grow, although the company has not provided an official update recently.
At a recent press event, a Google speaker casually said that the “vast majority” of search queries are now mobile. However, this is not official and wasn’t affirmed by spokespeople.
In the absence of official updates from Google and Bing, third parties have offered a range of statements on the question of mobile search and mobile traffic volumes vs. the desktop. For example, earlier today, BrightEdge reported that 57 percent of traffic among its clients is coming from smartphones and tablets.
Mobile vs. PC Traffic in US (BrightEdge customers)

In some categories (e.g., restaurants), the numbers can besignificantly higher. That goes equally for younger demographic segments, where all the numbers skew more mobile.
In general agreement with BrightEdge, StatCounter reports that mobile traffic in

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3 customer insights gained by keyword research

Keyword research is underrated. Many SEOs have gotten the idea that keyword research just doesn’t hold the value it once did, especially in today’s environment of voice search, extreme long-tail phrases and so on.
However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Not long ago, I wrote a post outlining 13 uses for keyword research, but that really just scratches the surface of its value.
Traditionally, keyword research has been performed to better understand what phrases searchers are using to find the content, products or services you provide. But using keyword research for that is akin to treating the symptom rather than the problem itself.
Searchers type particular phrases into search engines based on multiple factors that are relevant to them. The question is, what makes those factors relevant? It’s the underlying motivation — need, desire and/or interest — that makes any particular phrase important. Your goal in performing keyword research should be to determine what that underlying motivation is.
With a

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3 reasons SEO belongs at the beginning of a project, not the end

Too many marketers still bring SEO in at the end of a content marketing project. They finish a blog post or finalize a new marketing campaign, and at the end of the line, SEO comes in to find related keywords and plug them into content.
Unfortunately, this approach is outdated and completely ineffective.
Robust, modern SEO research can decipher who your real audience is online, where visitors are in the buyer’s journey, what information they’re looking for, and what content format they prefer. These insights lead to more effective content strategies.
But if SEO is only given a voice at the end of the line, it’s too late to utilize the insights it provides. To fully enjoy the benefits — and optimize every piece of content — SEO must be a foundational part of every project from the beginning.
1. Keywords should help determine content, not decorate it
Most online experiences start with keywords — so marketers should, too.
There are a lot

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Study: Top-ranking page in Google ranks for a thousand other queries, too

Ahref has published an interesting study that shows how many other keywords a single page can rank for in Google. Typically, SEOs tend to try to optimize each individual page for its own keyword phrase.
But the study showed that the average number one ranking page will also rank in the top 10 results for about 1,000 other relevant keywords. The median value is less than half that, with around 400 relevant keywords.
Here is the chart that shows ranking average for other relevant keywords by ranking position:

If you break it down by high-volume keywords, the study said “ranking for 2–3 keywords with over 1,000 searches per month is quite common. While ranking for more than one 10k+ keyword with a single page is very rare.”

Finally, Ahrefs broke it down to see how many keywords a page ranks for are unique to the point where they don’t have even a single common keyword with the rest of the

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The problem with obsessive rank tracking

Keyword ranking is one of the most overrated and misused metrics in SEO. Yes, tracking your positions is important, but placing too much emphasis on this metric is problematic. When it comes to SEO, what you measure gets managed. That means that focusing on the right metrics will help you generate results that have a business impact, rather than an ego boost.
So, let’s talk about the problem with obsessing over rank — and what metrics you’d be better off focusing on.
The problem with rank tracking
Measuring keyword ranking is easy to get sucked into because it’s so visible. When you type in the all-powerful keyword and see your listing there at the top, it feels good. The problem with putting too much emphasis on this metric is that the search results aren’t always consistent. Google’s results will vary based on a number of different criteria. Let’s look at the two most common.

Location. Your search results are tailored to the location from which you are searching. This

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Study shows search terms with the very worst (and best) click-through rates

Not all searches are created equal — when it comes to click-through rate (CTR), that is. A new study from Seige Media uncovers the top 42 keyword terms, along with their average CTRs. This exercise examined the top 50 keyword “stems” to find what terms helped spur clicks and, more importantly, what terms didn’t.
A variety of these terms with the worst click-through rates are geared toward knowledge graph answers like “translation,”  “population,” “definition” (which happen to be the number 1, 2 and 3 least-clicked terms across the board). That is to to be expected for many of these terms, as Google is trying to specifically answer questions directly.

 
Other searches with low CTR included terms that appear to fulfill the need for information in direction or review form. Terms like “restaurants” (46.20 percent CTR) and other local terms such as “flowers” (64.37 percent) saw click-through rates on the lower side. One term on this list that was surprising was “How To,”

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Micro-moments and beyond: Understanding and optimizing for consumer intent

Google introduced the concept of micro-moments over a year ago, and since then, the company has consistently published supporting information as it relates to specific industries and user behavior across content platforms.
If you’re unfamiliar with micro-moments, they’re essentially a way of framing a user’s path to purchase or to conversion, with specific focus on mobile and the needs or questions users search on Google along with way. The concept of micro-moments is easily digestible and provides a great way of conducting and organizing keyword research, something search marketing practitioners and decision-makers alike can certainly appreciate.
At our agency, ZOG Digital, we’ve been developing ways to comprehensively identify micro-moment opportunities for clients while mapping and optimizing to the consumer’s conversion path. The following is a high-level look at our approach and a few of the resources we use.
1. Identifying micro-moments: The consumer journey
Before you can identify micro-moment opportunities, you must understand the structure or user path and adapt it to

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The definitive SEO audit part 2 of 3: Content and on-site

Disclaimer: Every situation is unique. This outline of the elements of a content and onsite SEO audit discusses the common first points I look at with unpenalized sites hoping to increase their traffic. If you have a penalty or other serious issues, this list is not exhaustive and will not cover all the areas you will need to research or methods to employ.
Last month, I started my three-part series on conducting an SEO audit on your website. The purpose of auditing your site regularly is to ensure that you’re not only protecting yourself against penalties or technical oversights, but that you’re taking full advantage of the content you’re providing (from an organic SEO standpoint in this context) and that you’re “forcing” yourself to keep updated on shifts in users and terms as well as changes in the overall algorithms.
As mentioned, this audit is divided into three parts of which this is part two. Part three will be available in four

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7 types of keywords to boost your SEO strategy

Keywords are essential to every aspect of your SEO campaign, from on-site placement and usage to link prospecting and acquisition. Knowing which terms to target and how to target them can either produce great results or end in a huge flop.
Defining and categorizing your keywords will help in your link outreach and community building online, both of which are essential in order to drive relevant traffic to your site. While there are a number of schools of thought when it comes to the types of keywords we should use, I want to walk you through the seven types we use at my company and how we use them in all areas of our SEO strategy.
1. Market-defining keywords
Market-defining keywords are terms and phrases your target audience uses when talking about your business or industry. These phrases are usually very broad and generic, so they are often much harder to rank for than others; nonetheless, they are still extremely important.
These terms are critical in your on-page optimization. Following SEO

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