Long tail for PPC?

If you have read a lot about search marketing and specifically pay per click, you have probably heard about the phrase “long tail keywords”.

I was fortunate enough to learn about this early and I was able to exploit it very well in Overture — now Yahoo Search Marketing.

The idea is to try to focus on all of the possible variations of a keyword that people use when searching, specifically phrases with 3 or more words, and not try to compete for the single word or two word keyword, for example “buy nice car in florida” instead of “buy car” or “cars.”  Getting enough long tail keywords can potentially get you the same or close to the same level of traffic, but at a much lower cost, and with more conversions as people that type single word phrases are more in research mode.

When I started doing PPC in Google back in 2002, I immediately tried to use the same techniques I used so successfully in Overture.  Later I realized that it was not necessary.

Google, and now Yahoo Search Marketing, have different matching types for the PPC advertiser.  They have broad match, phrase match, and exact match.

If we use broad match on a single word keyword, for example, “car”, Google will match the ad to all phrases that include that word.  This means that I effectively access the long tail without having to compile huge lists of long tail keywords.  The only problem is that it is very difficult to maintain a click through rate over 0.5% in order to avoid having the ads disabled.

One way to avoid this is to use an exact match for the single word and broad match for the two or three words phrases.

It is very important that you use the analytics software to identify any keywords that you don’t want to get traffic from.  This is done using negative disqualifiers.

3 replies
  1. Heather Paquinas
    Heather Paquinas says:

    I found your blog in google blogsearch. Needless to say I subscribed right away after reading this. I always suspected what you said, especially after Mike Levin from hittail blogged about using hittail for ppc, but you really hit the nail on the head with this post.

  2. Hamlet Batista
    Hamlet Batista says:

    Thank you for your comment and for subscribing to my blog! I’ve been doing search marketing for several years and today I decided to start this blog to share all of my tips. I hope to meet a lot of nice people this way.
    Let me know what topics you would like for me to cover in future posts.

  3. Benjamin P
    Benjamin P says:

    This post is a little old but the importance of longtails is now more than ever. I find that its helpful for me to go through my webstats and keep a file of all of the phrases that have brought people to my site. My ctr and conversions have never been higher.


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