“Informational long tail posts” might not be the hottest topic in SEO, but we’ve learned to love them.
Between you, me, and the wall, a lot of our clients operate in boring industries. I’m talking about the kind of industries that don’t typically get a lot of media attention, aren’t particularly glamorous, and don’t naturally get a lot of blog subscribers. And that’s perfectly okay. The fact is, there are lots of ways to rock at content marketing in boring industries, but one of our favorites is the super long tail informational post.
In a nutshell, the idea is to create content so specific to a particular need for information that there’s nothing quite like it on the internet. Whether it’s a topic that no one else has covered or a resource that no one else has presented right, capitalizing on these gaps in information can have some big upsides.
1. Long Tail Informational Posts Provide Real Value
TSC Restoration knows that when storms hit San Diego the whole country scrambles to find sandbags. While there are several locations throughout the county that provide free sandbags, the official directory isn’t all that user friendly. Without a map, it can be confusing to find the closest location to you, and some locations like Carlsbad aren’t included because they have very different pickup policies.
We saw it as an opportunity to create a more useful resources, which is why we built TSC’s free sandbag map. Besides the map, TSC’s version also includes a few locations that the official directory didn’t, puts all the contact information on a single page, and provides links to other relevant information, such as how to prepare for a flood and how to deal with a flooded home.
During San Diego’s first big storm of the season, this resource eclipsed the home page’s traffic by more than 10 to 1, helping thousands of homeowners and business owners prepare and hopefully avoid disaster. While TSC’s business model depends on houses flooding, the people behind it really do want to help people stay safe and keep homes intact. We believe this kind of resource helps prove it.
As useful as a resource like this is, you don’t always have to go to those lengths to create value. Even a relatively simple post, like or “can air conditioning make you feel sleepy?” can be extremely useful to the right people. If you can’t think of a unique subject, try writing about a subject that demands extremely local content, like “what’s the best time to water the lawn in New York?”
2. Long Tail Informational Posts Demonstrate Expertise
It’s easy for anyone to say “I’m the best furnace repairman in the world”, but it’s a lot harder to back it up.
By publishing information and DIY guides on incredibly specific topics that don’t get a lot of coverage, like “why does my furnace smell like diesel?”, we’ve been able to help Irish Heating and Air demonstrate their legitimacy and show off their expertise in the field. Instead of focusing on social shares or devoted blog subscribers, we publish in-depth resources that cover how furnaces impact indoor humidity in winter, which include information on atmospheric vs. sealed combustion furnaces, relative vs. absolutely humidity, and other causes of low indoor humidity in winter.
While it might not sound that interesting to you right now, if you’re trying to figure out why your living room feels so arid in January, it’s suddenly going to sound very interesting. That’s going to help brand awareness and sew some good will along the way (see reason #1).
At the same time, anyone casually cruising the site is going to get the feeling that the people at Irish Heating and Air know what they’re talking about. And by “anyone”, I most certainly mean Google as well. In a world where long form, high quality content is now a necessity, this kind of content can make a big difference.
3. Long Tail Informational Posts Can Rank Well With Less Effort
Once you have just a few decent links to your site, you can rank for all sorts of informational long tail keywords, even while competitive commercial keywords are still out of your reach.
While TSC Restoration isn’t a hoverboard repair company, no one else had written a decent hoverboard water damage repair guide and the opportunity was too good to pass up. Take the originality of the topic, add some technically solid on-site SEO, and we had a post that was ranking in 1st place for tons of keywords in under a week:
Sure it’s not a keyword that provides immediate commercial value for them, but there are plenty of other benefits that are often overlooked. The site’s average click through rates, time on site, and other measures of user satisfaction all skyrocketed – and while experts debate how much these factors contribute to your overall SEO, no one is arguing that they can hurt. Meanwhile, this post opened up the door for more high quality guest posts, like this post on water damaged drones, and created new opportunities for links with partial keyword matches (anchor text for “water damaged hoverboards” still includes “water damage”, after all.)
4. Long Tail Informational Posts Earn Links Naturally
The cool thing about ranking well for any keywords with an informational intent is that you’ll gain links naturally. RepairClinic‘s intensely specific guides on chainsaw repair and the accuracy of your oven’s temperature keep earning links for the site without any proactive outreach because they’re inherently useful in ways that a sales-focused page can’t be. Even curiosity posts – posts that are interesting for their own sake but don’t solve any particular problem, like a brief history of the taxi cab – are more naturally link worthy than self-serving content.
Google has said from the early days that they want to support sites that produce quality content, which is why our sites produce quality content. So next time you sit down to blog, try to find a topic you know about that hasn’t been covered to death on a thousand other blogs, and tell the world about it. Chances are, you’ll be happy you did.