80-20 rule for your SEO keyword strategy

by on December 12, 2008

How does the 80-20 rule hold true in terms of search engine optimisation and your keyword strategy, well lets find out

Following on from the post

80-20 rule for better time keeping

I thought it would be good to write a quick post on how the 80-20 rule applies to your keyword research.

When people are searching they star with the shortest query that might work. They then expand on this search and refine the query by adding words. This kind of searching results breaks keywords down into two categories, the head and the long tail.

You have probably heard the old SEO proverb “Target The Head, Mine the Long Tail”. It basically deals with ensuring your keyword strategy takes note of the competitive keywords you are trying to rank for (The Head) but also keep in mind how a user may expand on these keywords (The Long Tail).

To come back to the 80-20 rules. It has been noted by Google that 20% of terms produce 80% of the volume and 20% of the volume was generated by 80% of search terms. To go one step further, Google also notes that half of all searches in a given month are “one offs” …. this really is the “long tail”.

This allows you to divide your keywords into both competitive and second tier. I always see them as static channel pages and keywords which may sit well in an article i.e. is not one of your central pages. These second tier search terms are made of the your competitive keywords, secondary keywords and modifiers.

Again I would highlight Google Insights for this. To see more of how to structure your site for keywords. Check out the Keyword Blueprint posts (there are currently two)

SEO keyword strategy

But I would suggest you never revolve your all keyword strategy around long tail searches. If you are in this for the long haul. Go where the traffic is and look to compete in competitive spaces. Just ensure you can bring in some long tail traffic to give those competitive keywords a little boost.

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