How to supercharge your search campaigns- long-tail love

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IMAGE: Blueclaw

Search marketers often advise clients- particularly large ecommerce companies- on strategies to maximise long-tail traffic to their websites as a way to boost sales. For SEO campaigns this means focusing not just on the top 10 or 20 “head” terms but optimising site structure and content for category  and product pages to help visitors find your products, as well as building links to these pages, to attract “long tail” search traffic. The conventional online marketing wisdom states that somebody searching for “womens shoes” – although higher  in search volume- may be in the research phase, collecting information and comparing prices whereas somebody searching “blue size 6 high heels” for example has a pretty good idea of what they want to buy and therefore has a higher chance of converting. I thought it would be interesting to test these theories looking at the data from the last month for one of our ecommerce clients.

Long tail search query data

As can be seen, the head terms (when excluding brand keywords) really do only account for a relatively small proportion of traffic. These same keywords account for 22% percent of sales, based on the last click attribution provided via ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics. Digging a little deeper in the data, some other information arose which confirmed the power of long tail traffic.

Long tail search query data pie chart

 

When looking at these successfully converting search queries, it can be seen that 32% of all search queries had no reference to the company brand (bear in mind that visitors may visit a site 5 or more times before buying, hence the preponderance for brand terms as the last click to find a website before someone actually buys). This 32% potentially represents the first-time customers that did not previously know your company and could come back again and again to buy from you- exactly the type of traffic that we want to grow. What was equally interesting is that of this search traffic that converted into sales, 41% of all the non-brand search queries contained 4 or more keywords (information obtained using the custom segmentation functionality in Google Analytics).

We have ascertained that nearly half of non-brand search traffic queries that successfully converted into sales contained  4 or more keywords. So how to take advantage of this? Using Google AdWords is a great way to target this type of traffic for immediate impact.

At Blueclaw we have developed our own Google AdWords software using the AdWords API to build ads automatically to target this long tail traffic e.g. “buy brand name + product name+ product option” type keywords.  For an ecommerce retailer with thousands or even tens of thousands of products that are going in and out of stock every day, as well as changing prices, it would be a virtually impossible task to keep on top of this by making changes to AdWords campaigns by hand.

Our application takes an ecommerce retailers product feed (via XML for example) and converts this automatically into AdWords ads, that update daily with any price or availability changes. This means that we can create ads for thousands of products and target this extra-valuable long tail traffic. Here is an example of the effectiveness of this method from one client campaign- a cost per conversion reduction of over 50%. Interested to learn more? Please get in touch.

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