Long Tail Keywords: The Greatest Key to Business Blogging Success

by Marcus Sheridan

pondering long tail keywordsMost small business blogs stink. I’m sorry if that offends you. Fact is, it’s true. There are many reasons for it, but none more important than what I want to briefly talk about and then show you(via video) today.

A few months ago, I wrote a blog about long-tail keywords and what they are. Although I don’t want to go into too much depth here regarding this ‘low hanging fruit’ of the world wide web, suffices to say that long tail keywords consist of longer phrases (usually at least 3 words or more)that internet searches are entering in order to find more specific data regarding a particular niche. Here is an example:

  • Short Tail: Chicken
  • Medium Tail: Rotisserie Chicken
  • Long Tail: How to Prepare Rotisserie Chicken

Because internet users are becoming more and more adroit at searching and finding information online, the floodgates are wide open for any businesses that is able to aggressively go after these ‘longer phrases’ and beat others to the punch.

This process of developing a killer small business blog and dominating your niche via the long-tail is not as hard as it might sound, and in my opinion really only requires 3 essential qualities:

  1. Think like a homeowner
  2. Write Homeowner Friendly Blog Titles and Articles
  3. Consistency in Post Frequency

Business owners and employees have a big problem when it comes to content marketing: they often think like business owners and employees. You may snicker at this but it’s absolutely true. The curse of knowledge can kill anyone’s ability to speak at the level of their audience.

In order to overcome this problem, the most important exercise a business owner or content marketer can do for his or her blog is to sit down and write the 20 most prominent questions consumers ask regarding his or her product. These questions formulate perfect titles for blog articles and combined with solid content and regularity (post at least twice a week), a blog’s traffic will quickly skyrocket because of its consumer-centric appeal. If you haven’t ever done this exercise, stop putting it off. It works.

Remember: Any question, and I really mean ANY, that a consumer asks regarding a product or service is worth writing about. And it’s the businesses that are most aware of these questions that end up producing the best content for search engines and eventually garnering the most viewers.

I can say this because my swimming pool blog is easily the most popular in its industry. Also, our traffic is in the 99th percentile for swimming pool companies. So by simply going after longer phrases with our blog articles (thinking like consumers), we’ve been able to bypass other companies that are multi-million dollar operations. In fact, our traffic is so prolific throughout the United States and Canada that I’m now partnering up with consumer-lead services because we get a mountain of leads outside of our consumer area and I just hate throwing them all away. But to see exactly what I’m talking about, please check out the following video. It’s a snapshot of my company’s analytics (Hubspot Software) and you’ll be blown away once you see how much organic (free) traffic our business is getting simply because we know how to blog effectively.

YouTube Preview Image

Well I hope this article has helped s you to have a better feel for how to establish a successful long-tail keyword strategy with your business’ blog. If you have any further questions about this important form of content marketing, or would like to share some of the success you’ve experienced with your blog, please feel free to add your thoughts below.

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

The Hero January 11, 2012 at 5:30 am

Awesome . its true dear long tail keyword are easily rank in search engine


matt February 28, 2012 at 8:30 am

Great post and great site. I am enjoying your content and it is helping me understand how to construct better blog articles for my site. Any suggestions will be much appreciated!


Craig Mc February 1, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Hey Marcus,

I’m only up to page 136 of your “inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy” ebook, which is super, and came across this blog post. I wanted to let you know that in 7 days I have written 4 blogs, 3 of which went to page 1 within 3 days of publishing and am getting organic traffic already on 2 of them.

What you teach is right on the button. I have also researched my competition and not one of them is blogging how you teach (which is good for me). Thanks so much for willingly sharing these super success tips so freely. Good karma to you Marcus. :)


Lucu Na March 5, 2013 at 8:15 pm

I’ve been frustrated, I’ve had a few blogs, and I have 2-3 blogs over the years, but none of them are getting good traffic, a blog more than 50 articles, One of them you can see from my blog link fill in the comment form, while on the other hand there are people who only 10 articles, can have ranking. From your writing I get a little enlightenment, hopefully these tips can help me more in the blog world. Thank you for this useful article. Finally, let me bookmark your blog.


Marcus Sheridan March 6, 2013 at 10:41 am

Hope this helps Lucu!! Thanks for your comment,



Shital Bhalani December 13, 2013 at 12:14 am

Long tail keywords are very lucrative keywords and we can easily rank at top of search engine if we have less competition and have no authority site as competitor.



Mr. Karaoke December 19, 2013 at 3:56 am

Rand beautifully explained this and thank you for adding the headline point in your post as most people do not use the similar heading as their titles and this is because they usually think Google don’t really give credit to the keywords in the heading tag… but in my opinion there is a thing other then Google and that is USERS! And for USERS as you said expect to see the similar title they see in the titles!


Lance Carlson January 30, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Hey Marcus, I wanted to let you know that I used this Post to define the term “long tail keyword” in a post I wrote. It is a storyized (I think I can say that in English) newbie IM glossary. I linked to posts that (in my humble opinion) defined and expounded well to give some depth to the answer.

Thanks Lance

By the way it is the post listed in commentLuv


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Liz McGee March 26, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Amen Marcus,

It’s thinking like a business owner or merchant that can get us into trouble. We have to think like our customers and consumers. What do they want to know, don’t give them info WE think they want to know.

It’s about getting into their minds with the information they want and then delivering on that want. Also sing relevant keywords and keyword phrase variations also helps expand your list of keyword phrases and connect your content to a central keyword theme. A lot of what the Hummingbird update was about.

Good post Marcus. Love your writing style :-)


Marcus Sheridan March 26, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Really appreciate the kind words Liz, continued success. :)


navjyot kaur July 1, 2014 at 6:28 am

It’s truly a nice and helpful piece of information.


Jophan July 8, 2014 at 8:12 am

Hi Marcus,

your article is already quite “aged”, it would be very interesting to know how your swimmingpool blog is doing right now.

Moreover, I am always interested in those traffic generation techniques by using content strategy but almost no one tells us

a) with how many articles they get this traffic
b) when traffic started to come significantly (time and amount of articles)
c) how many articles were written within a time frame

It would be much appreciated if you could also put some light on these important questions. Thanks in advance.


Marcus Sheridan July 10, 2014 at 4:43 pm

If you read the article on the home page of the site right now I think you’ll be quite pleased withe the answer Jophan :-)


google July 17, 2014 at 12:07 am

Wonderful blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News.
Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!


Jen Jelly August 18, 2014 at 11:45 pm

It’s posts like these that newbies to blogging need. I’ve been looking for ways to figure out how to get more focused on my blogging topics and something as simple as writing down 20 commonly asked questions is perfect. I’m now of course asking myself why I didn’t think to do that but alas the world of blogging is a bit overwhelming.


Marcus Sheridan August 20, 2014 at 8:38 am

Thrilled to help Jen :)

Keep going!!



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