Capturing the Long Tail of SEO By Filling a Void [Case Study]

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Capturing the Long Tail of SEO By Filling a Void [Case Study]

I didn’t plan on writing this post for my column this month, but something happened that I had to write about.  If you’ve read previous posts of mine, then you know I’m a big believer in the power of the long tail of SEO, which is an incredibly important concept in Search Marketing.

You can check out my long tail study to learn more about the how important the tail can be for organic search.  Well, over the past few weeks, I’ve witnessed another great example of the long tail in action.  The example I’m going to explain shows how you can capture the long tail by filling a void.  Specifically, how building valuable content that helps other people can naturally target the long tail and drive a lot of traffic.  It also shows how good Karma can pay off.  I’m going to cover what happened and then what this means to you as a Search Marketer.

Adventures With Syncing A Samsung Captivate

I recently left the world of Blackberry and moved to a Samsung Captivate, a high-end Android phone running on AT&T’s network.  It’s an incredible phone, with some excellent features, but I just couldn’t accomplish one very important task – connecting my phone to my computer to sync contacts, calendar, transfer files, etc.

Needless to say, this is one of the most fundamental things you want to do with a brand new smartphone. I ended up spending over three hours researching the problem, without success.  There simply wasn’t a documented solution for the specific problem I was experiencing.   I was extremely frustrated and was unfortunately ready to bring the phone back.

I spoke with AT&T support, and they conferenced in Samsung technical support, but there was still no solution.  Then, since I was experiencing a visual problem on my phone (flashing screen, usb problems, etc.)  I ended up searching for videos that could potentially solve the problem.  In a weird twist, I ended up finding a video on Daily Motion (in French) that showed the exact problem I was having.  To make a long story short, there was a single comment on that daily motion video page that ended up solving my problem.  Talk about the power of Google, right?  🙂

Welcome to the Void

After initially solving the problem on my Captivate, I couldn’t believe how I ended up finding the answer.  I also couldn’t believe that there wasn’t a solid online resource that explained how to overcome the problem.  It was obvious that there was a void that needed to be filled. Remember, I spent over three hours digging around the web trying to find a solution.  In addition, AT&T and Samsung telephone support didn’t end up recommending the solution.  It was the French video on daily motion.  Note, I had a different experience with Samsung’s Twitter support and I’ll touch on that later in this post (it was definitely impressive).

Captivate void

Good Intentions and Filling The Void

So, I decided to write a blog post to help other frustrated users overcome sync problems with the Samsung Captivate.  I wanted to make sure it was valuable and thorough, and I also provided screenshots to help other users along.  I had a feeling that many other Captivate users were experiencing the same problem.  And since over a one million Galaxy phones have been sold in the United States already, something told me my intuition was right.  I have provided a link to my post below in case you want to check it out:

My Post About Fixing Sync Problems With The Samsung Captivate:

How to Connect A Samsung Captivate to Your PC Using Samsung Kies | The Missing Manual For Overcoming Sync Problems

Being Thorough Covers the Tail

That night, I wrote the tutorial and made sure it was thorough, easy to follow, and provided screenshots to help people along.  I wanted to make sure other Captivate users had a fighting chance of syncing their phones.  Note, whenever I explain the long tail to new SEO clients, I’m often asked how to effectively target the tail.  Well, I believe that a thorough and detailed post covering a specific topic will naturally target the long tail.  As you cover that topic in detail, you will inevitably include a range of targeted keywords, variations of keywords, etc.  If you don’t, then your post might not be as thorough as you think.  🙂

The Resulting Wave of Captivate Users

So I posted the tutorial, hoping that other users would find it helpful.  Then I moved on.  I had an incredibly busy week so I wasn’t really paying much attention to the post.  Little did I know that a wave of frustrated Captivate users was hitting my blog.  Sure, I knew that other people could be having the same problem, but I had no idea how widespread the syncing problem was.  Suddenly, emails started coming in thanking me for the post.  Some people needed more information, while others were asking additional questions.  At the same time, some comments started being posted on my blog.  People were also reaching out to me on Twitter to either explain how the post helped them or to get clarification on how to fix the problem. I could tell the post was helping other Captivate users.  In the graph below, you can see how visits spiked only two hours after the post launched.

Traffic spike

Long Tail, Meet the Void.  Void, Meet the Long Tail

After seeing the activity I mentioned above, I decided to take a look at the keywords leading to the post.  As I was logging into my reporting, I was expecting to see several targeted keywords that led to the post (maybe a few dozen).  Little did I know that the Captivate problem was much bigger than I had thought.  I drilled into my keywords reporting and saw that the long tail of SEO was in full effect.

As of yesterday, 896 different keywords have led to that single post.  More keywords are leading to the post every single day and the traffic on my blog has spiked.  It was truly amazing to see the variations of keywords that led to the tutorial.  There are some keywords that are 5, 6, 7+ words in length.  Try and find those in your favorite keyword research program.  🙂  It’s a great example of how a thorough and valuable post that fills a void can target the long tail (naturally.)  Below, you’ll see a graph showing the increase in the number of keywords leading to the post since the day it launched.    There were 21 keywords leading to the post on the first day and 896 in total, as of yesterday.

Description: samsung-captivate-keywords.jpg

What This Means For You

If your goal is to attract targeted users to your site via organic search, then keep the following points in mind.  And by the way, although this is a great example of the long tail, it’s not isolated.  There are many examples I’ve seen that are similar.  OK, maybe not with 896 keywords leading to each post, but you get the idea.

  • Always be on the lookout for “the void”.  If you can solve a problem that few people have addressed thoroughly, then write a valuable post that explains how to solve that problem.  If you build high quality content that helps others, then you can also reap great rewards (and capture the long tail).
  • Be thorough.  The more details you can provide that add value to your content, the better chance you have of effectively targeting the long tail.  Again, this will happen naturally if you write a thorough post.  Don’t skimp on content if you decide to fill a void.
  • Be fast.  If you find a void, fill it fast.  Don’t wait.  I immediately wrote the post (that night) and published it the next morning.  This will give you a greater shot at being noticed as the original resource that solved the problem.

What This Means for Samsung

I love my Captivate, but it’s pretty clear that Samsung has a big problem on its hands.  As I explained earlier, there have been over one million Galaxy phones sold in the United States already and I can tell you firsthand, a lot of people are having sync problems.

I ended up working with Samsung Galaxy Support on Twitter (and they have been incredibly responsive and helpful).  I just hope they can add more accounts to deal with the wave of users I mentioned earlier.  I know they are working on a better solution with a new build of their desktop software (Samsung Kies), but they better move fast.

Well, that’s my latest long tail example.  So the next time you are thinking about creating a resource, think about how this story unfolded.  Don’t simply target one keyword or a handful of keywords, capture the long tail and go after 896.  Now it’s time to go sync my Captivate.

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