LOL… this is yet another post that was first a comment on another blog, but got so long that I decided to write a post instead.
Mary wrote an interesting post on why she believes that the long tail does not work well for real estate bloggers. I found it to be an interesting read… but like so many of the “how to” real estate marketing blogs out there, I found it to be too one sided and unbalanced. It reminds me of the argument that has become classic in the real estate blogosphere: should you write for the search engines or write for readers? The answer is BOTH!!
By the way, Mary: you know I love ya, and I’m not trying to start an argument here, just wanted to share my opinion on the subject.
I strongly believe in the concept of the long tail. It is a sound principal, and it works for many different industries including real estate. By the way, if you don’t know what the long tail is, try this link. Does this mean that everyone should be going after the long tail keywords? Not necessarily… let me explain:
The Problem With Targeting Long Tail Keywords
An example of a long tail keyword for a real estate blog would be something like this: “Seven Meadows community pool hours Katy Texas”. As you can see, it’s very long and specific, and it is probably only searched for a handful of times per month (if at all). I’ve seen many people that will write posts like this thinking somehow that they will really get some great targeted traffic from it. That may be… but there are a few simple problems with that idea. First of all, there are very few people searching for this phrase on the search engines. Even if you get top positioning, you may only get 1-2 visitors per month. Secondly, is this search phrase related to real estate? The answer is no, which means that chances are extremely slim that any traffic coming to the site will convert. I’ve seen many well intentioned RE bloggers try to target phrases like this, and I’m sorry to break it to them, but they will probably never convert into a customer. There is nothing wrong with posting helpful community information, but with the relatively low number of search queries for that phrase you will likely never see anything out of it.
The Problem With Targeting Short Tail Keywords
Targeting the short tail keywords is what Mary is suggesting as the best way to target customers with your real estate blog. As I see it, there are a couple problems with that view. An example of a short tail keyword would be something like: “Katy Texas real estate“. The first problem is that everyone and their mother in the Katy market is trying to target this same keyword phrase. The competition is fierce, and you need to have an authoritative well written, and well optimized site to rank well. It’s not necessarily a problem if you know how to get a site to rank well and have the time to spend on it, but many people have a difficult time achieving this.
The 2nd problem is that the phrase: “Katy Texas Real Estate” is extremely generic. Just because it receives many search queries per month does not necessarily mean that everyone searching for that phrase is looking to buy/sell real estate. Many studies have shown that the short tail phrases do not provide the best ROI (Return On Investment). This is because of the fact that many of them are too broad and do not convert well.
Thirdly, as a blogger, it’s simply not practical to keep targeting the same 5-10 keyword phrases over and over and over… Can you imagine if you used one of your top 5-10 keyword phrases in the title of every single blog post? You’d be arrested by the spam police! LOL (that may not happen, but it will really turn your readers off, and it won’t help your ranking)
So, as you can see, there is a problem with both views. Which is why I present the third view…
The Money Tail
Ok, I know it’s a corny name, but it was better than “medium tail”. Here’s why you should be targeting the “Money Tail”:
These would be keywords like: “katy texas condos for sale” or “real estate listings in Katy Texas”. The benefit of targeting keywords like these is that they are searched fairly often, but are specific enough to not have a high level of competition.
The side benefit of targeting the Money Tail is that the keywords usually have a very high ROI. They are specific phrases targeting real real estate consumers, and they convert extremely well. “real estate listings in Katy Texas”, will always convert better than “katy real estate”. The Money Tail Keywords aren’t too generic like our short tale example, and they aren’t too obscure like our long tale example.
So, in my opinion… a balance must be struck. Target those money tail keywords, and you will see a higher ROI, better rankings, and a higher conversion rate.