The phrase “the long tail” is becoming more and more popular. I’m going to explain what it is and why you should care.
The long tail refers to all of those keyword phrases that just get a few searches per day. For example, the phrase “church” probably gets thousands of searches per day, but the phrase “contemporary church in Little Rock, AR” gets maybe one search per day.
The reason you should care about this is two-fold:
1 – You’re never going to rank well for a big phrase like that. Just learn that and move on.
2 – There are millions and millions of long tail searches every day. In fact, Google says that about 25% of the searches on its site are search queries that have never been used before. Think about that. Hundreds of millions of searches per day, probably close to a trillion searches all time, yet there are tens of millions of searches every day that have never been done before. It’s staggering.
At the church I worked for last year, we had a total of 45,383 visits from search engine queries last year. Those 45,000 visits came from 15,831 different search phrases. There is no way to prepare for all of those, so you need to design your site to rank well for anything related to it.
Why should you care?
You should care because these people are looking for you, whether they know it or not. While you want to rank well for “your city church” and “your city worship” and things like that, you need to make sure you’re covered for other things that people might be searching for in your area.
One thing I did was to go around to most of the staff in the church and ask “if you were new to this area, what would you search for to find a church around here”? They key was to not give them any hints – just raw answers. I then took those queries and ran them to see how we ranked. Some were good, some were ok, and some were pitiful. I took the pitiful results and tried to improve them.
For example, that church is in the city of Marietta. A search for “Marietta church” did pretty well. However, many people also call it “East Cobb” (east side of Cobb County). A search for “East Cobb church” didn’t have us in there anywhere. The fix? I put “located in East Cobb County” in the footer of every page. It helps people that know the area get a little better idea of where we were, but it also helped us rank better for “east cobb” and for “cobb county”.
Try it with your church. Here are some to get you started:
- your city church
- your city worship
- your city VBS
- your city sunday school
- your city bible study
If you have a rec program, see how you rank for those. Things like:
- your city children’s baseball
- your city co-ed softball
Try your staff members. Just Google their names and see if your church comes up near the top. Unless they have a very common name, their page on your church site should come up near the top.
If you find you’re ranking poorly for some phrase and you don’t know how to fix it, feel free to leave a comment below with details and I’ll try to help you out.