Today, search engine optimization is not a highly technical task. Content management systems like Joomla and WordPress come with an array of search engine friendly features that allow users to manage all of the in-site elements that Google values. And there are countless extensions used by thousands of people every day that give you even more control. It’s nothing new.

But, where many companies fail, is right out of the gate. Most businesses do not have large budgets to allocate towards their search engine optimization campaign. So, a certain amount of research needs to be performed so that a company isn’t wasting it’s money. This is where the story of Blockbuster Video versus Netflix comes in:

Many years ago, when going to the video store and renting a VHS tape was a weekly event, Blockbuster Video stole the show. They beat out all the small video rental stores by deciding to have a big box model where they would stock lots of copies of the new releases as well as the most popular old movies. People went there because they knew they would get what they wanted. But along came online video and the market changed.

Netflix decided that they would stock everything else – all the little niche movies and TV shows – but would offer a different distribution model to allow users to rent their videos without going to a store. Now, on an individual basis, those niche movies didn’t generate a lot of revenue. However, when you add up the revenue from all of those niche rentals, it turns out to be worth quite a lot.

We all know how the Blockbuster vs Netflix story turns out. But, the lesson as it relates to SEO, is that you should try and be like Netflix. If you sum up the revenue Netflix garnered from all those niche rentals, it ended up being worth million (if not billions). This is the power of the “long tail” – a distribution of declining popularity (see image).

So, you don’t want to be competing with the blockbusters of your industry or sector when it comes to keywords. With a limited budget, you need to focus on keyword phrases that have a significant (though somewhat smaller) search volume and which are NOT being highly sought-after by competing websites. If you commit to content generation and target niche keywords phrases, you will begin summing up the niche keyword phrases in your industry and garnering significant amounts of traffic at a fraction of the cost of your competitors.

I can guarantee, that most dictionary words (single words) are highly sought-after in your industry so focus on phrases that are two or three words long. Google Keyword Tool and Google Trends are great free tools to help research keyword phrases and search volumes. But, feel free to give us a call if you need help with your long tail seo strategy.