Jonathan Leger – SEO And Internet Marketing Blog Internet Marketing Blog


Is ranking in the top 10 good enough?

It seems that most webmasters and internet marketers have the goal of getting their sites onto page one of Google. I admit that I, too, feel a sense of joy and satisfaction when my sites hit the top 10 for my keywords.

But is the top 10 good enough? Should you rest on your laurels once you've achieved page one ranking? Not according to the AOL search data that was compromised in 2006. Yes, that data is two years old, but I think it's important to revisit those results and remind ourselves of what it revealed.

That compromised data gave us the following break-down of the percentage of clicks received by each of the top 11 search results:

Rank Percent
1 22.6%
2 6.4%
3 4.5%
4 3.2%
5 2.6%
6 2.1%
7 1.8%
8 1.6%
9 1.5%
10 1.6%
11 0.35%

"Wait," you say, "those numbers barely add up to 50%!" That's true. According to the AOL data, that's because 46% of all queries resulted in no clicks -- meaning that the user didn't see what they were looking for and so tried something else or moved on.

There are a few points I want to make about this. First, this is data from AOL, and without being too unkind to AOL users, well, they're not the savviest of searchers. That makes a difference. I would theorize that Google searchers would be a bit more prone to "dig" for the result they need, especially since in my own experience the figures aren't quite so drastic as this data shows.

That said, though, this chart helps to demonstrate the vast difference between the #1 ranking for a set of keywords and all of the other rankings. Basically, the number one ranking gets the lion's share of the traffic, and the other 9 of the top 10 just get the tricklings.

Number 11, the first result on page 2, gets virtually no traffic at all. I included it in the results to demonstrate how little effect a page 2 ranking has on your traffic.

This is one of the reasons I advocate trying to rank for a series of long-tail keywords, and not putting all of your efforts into one set of very popular keywords. Getting to #1 for a single set of competitive keywords requires an exponential amount more effort than ranking #1 for dozens of long-tail keywords. And, as demonstrated by this data, those dozens of "lesser" rankings will be far more valuable to the bottom line of your traffic than a #9 or #10 ranking for a competitive keyword.

Let me illustrate.

Let's say that your niche has a set of competitive keywords that generates 10,000 searches a day. Sounds like a goldmine if you have a page one ranking right? Let's see.

If you managed to get on page one, but only rank #9, based on the AOL data you would only get 150 of those visitors to your site (4,500 or so per month). However, if you manage to rank #1 for 10 keywords that each only receive 1,000 searches a day, you would get 226 visitors (6,780 or so per month). That's 150% more traffic for the long-tail keywords. And I promise you, it's dramatically easier to achieve (and maintain) 10 less competitive rankings than it is for one super-competitive one. In fact, in many cases you can achieve multiple #1 rankings for long-tail keywords with the same quantity of links needed just to get you on page one for the super-competitive keywords!

Just ask the happy customer who recently posted at the users' forum regarding their first $369 day in affiliate profits. Or another forum poster who reached his first $100+ AdSense day thanks to 3WayLinks' ranking his sites for lesser-competition keywords.

So remember, when planning your keyword targets for your web site, don't forget to target a variety of long-tail keywords. Even if you are planning on going after a competitive set of keywords, still keep the long-tail on your agenda, and give them at least as much of your time and resources. Do so and you'll reap the rewards to be found in Google's "low hanging fruit."

Related Internet Marketing Q&A

Comments (73) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Yeah since the beginning of my adventure into SEO, I have always focused on the fact that long tail keywords is a crucial necessity to be successful.

    Each long tail phrase may not give a whole lot of traffic in of itself but the sum of many will make traffic really signifcant.

    You are right you cant go wrong with them !!

    thanks for the info.

  2. obviously being in top 10 is brilliant, you get more traffic more exposure and the best from all more chances to be a famous blogger. i have a blog and i am dying to be famous through it.

  3. Jon comment quote: “Another added advantage of long-tails is that the traffic converts much better, because you know exactly what they’re after.”

    That’s very true. The people you’re targeting are targeting the keywords you are using.

    Yet, one thing I’ve noticed as an affiliate marketer is that people who are ready to buy will take the time to go deeper into the search results pages in order to find the quality of information they’re looking for.

    So, despite not being ranked on page one or two of the SERPs, even if you are ranked on page five or eight or eleven you still have a chance at gaining their business because they are searching for information that they may not be finding in the early results pages. They know that many times what they are looking for (an honest product review or whatever) can be found deeper into the results pages, and they are willing to wade through them to find it.

    So, while being ranked in the top ten on the first search results page may be the optimum goal to attain to, being ranked at all (of course, the higher the better) in the search results pages often pays dividends. Most people don’t realize this, and when they can’t get ranked in the top ten results on page one get discouraged.

    This is where article marketing can come in handy, helping you to get a link ranked higher than the pages on your website.


  4. Mm this way my blog rank in #10 but not traffic.

  5. wow :)
    tryed to find some !good! information about that topic in german…
    but had to go for english posts to find the good stuff..
    thx dude :)

  6. Johnathan,
    Great artice, I enjoy your post and learn a lot from it,. Keep up the good work.

  7. Ok fine… Listen John, this is one of those times that you speak and hear some phrase that I don’t understand, you didn’t elaborate on, and assumed that we all know what it is by rote.

    I have that Beta on your Auto Marker, and I haven’t done anything with it for the same reason. I don’t understand what I am supposed to do. I paid for it, and even the forum people snub me because I asked for an explanation. I am going to lose all the benefit of the Beta because I don’t understand it.

    (If you could write me I would much appreciate it regarding this.)

    So… What in the heck is a “long-trail” keyword? Is that a keyword phrase? If so, then why not say that?

    Sorry if I am a pest, but I want to understand this stuff. The last article I read was so layman-like that I really complimented it, this once just blew that theory for me.

  8. Dear Johathan,

    Thank you for this niche article. Right up my alley!!! My husband has told me about your well… excellent insights … for quite some time now, so I ventured to your site. And found this. Perfect.

    I have a niche site with blog. Please have a look. I’ve just added a fine art blog carnival and it’s hard to get good submissions for it. It seems a lot of effort, and I guess one of the best parts of it is that it spurs me on to write more and more content…

    Any commentary on 1. how advantageous it is to host a carnival and 2. any tips on how to make it a hugely popular one?

    Much obliged

  9. I didn’t realize how big of a dropoff there was after the first result! Also, I didn’t even think about how half of people wouldn’t even click something. I don’t care though, my SEO tactics have worked thus far by concentrating on a few high-volume keyphrases, so I’ll stick to it (although this information is nice to know).

  10. Great post and awesome advice. I currently have PAGE ONE rankings for several variations of my keywords. It wasn’t until I started spending time on fixing my sales page content that I developed significant income from my site.


  11. Thank for the good stuff. I will do some modifications on my web page,

  12. Great job at explaining the efffectiveness of the longtail Jonathan. I also appresciate the stats.

  13. Seems that most of my ranking are worthless considering that if I get high, I mostly get stuck around 10th place.

    Just have to work harder and smarter:-)

    Thanks for this post!

  14. This is interesting data. I remember seeing similiar research and #1 & #2 were closer in clicks with a dramatic drop for #3 down. So either way top 10 is not good enough.
    I do have a specialty site that is #2 behind Amazon, and I feel we do well. The customers we speak to do not want to buy this particular product from Amazon so it does not seem to hurt too badly they are ahead of us.

  15. Jonathan,

    I have a question about 3WL

    You can set up 50 sites… 50 URL’s? like, page2.html

    Or sites… root domains…

    Also, do we put a different url per keyword?

    Just a little confused on the process.


  16. That is pretty discouraging news. I guess what really matters if if you take away the 46% who didn’t even click and the look at the numbers. Some people might have typed in the wrong thing, made a spelling mistake, or decided to add another word real fast. Plus, does it take into account the amount of people who bookmarked the site or just remembered the address and came back later? That would count as a sale but wouldn’t be checked as a search engine conversion since they did purchase a product when coming straight from the search engine, just in a later session.

  17. Hi Jon,

    Thanks for carrying out this research. You always take a very systematic and scientific approach to uncovering IM myths and I must say that you are doing all of us a great service :)

  18. Thanks Jonathan for such a great post, and your blog in general. I have gotten so much more from your postings, which are free for everyone to read, than I shell-out for crappy e-books and reports.

  19. Yes, long-tail keywords plus silo structure of a website have been proven to be the best way to help our site on top.

    Thanks for your great article.

  20. Hi Jon,

    Thanks for the information, trying to get onto the first page let alone in the no 1 spot is always going to be a controversial subject, as people all try to achieve this goal.

    While everbody is trying for the Google no 1 spot, is it not better to try and rank higher in the other SE, like MSN and Yahoo, this spot should be easier to maintain?

  21. Thanks for the good information. Long-tail keywords are indeed a boon to an internet business. Plus, you can take those long-tail keywords and run them in PPC’s with Google, Yahoo, or MSN. The only problem is that you don’t know which long-tail keywords out-perform the others in most cases.

    Well, that’s if your not using HitTail which is a free service unless you decide to pay for their deluxe package. Check out that program and much more here…
    ===> {snip: no personal urls please}
    Just go to the link listing “top resources”

    I can’t imagine that adding HitTail to 3WayLinks, for those that use that software would be a bad idea.


  22. Jon,

    I’ve been on your list for several years; although “Guru” has taken on some poor connotations, you are the only “Guru” I value and the reason is simple. You’re the only guy whose occasional emails I open knowing there will be some meaty content, backed by your own scientific research and analysis. No hypw, just solid logic sometimes with the metrics to prove it.

    The rest of the herd seem to take turns hyping for one another’s pricey products. When one goes on a stalking-hawking walk when his turn comes around releasing a “limited number” his latest stuff. the others stand back and applaude.

    Is it good stuff? Not on your life. Pricey? Yup. Well marketed with the now familiar sales letter following a set pattern and building to a crashendo and a ton of freebees tossed in.

    . I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve read though more than my share of these. I admire how skillfully they are written right up to the “Limited time offer” or “Everyone tells me I’m crazy for charging a ridiculously low amount…but I want to ‘give back.” What a hoot ! It is “cookie cutter” marketing. The stuff generally smells bad and works worse. i know because I’ve modeled it in various ways and now have a red face to show for it.

    More effort is put into trying, sometimes very convincingly reeling the reader in. The guy standing in front of a Rolls Royce, a huge house and the ubiquitous good looking girl. After reading so many I don’t have go beyond the first page to know it’s another duck.

    Opening your stuff is a breath of fresh air. There is actually USEFULL, well researched information that can be put to use…and often it is FREE! You worked on it, carved it up and gave it away! You can be certain your list of followers admire you for it.

    I can’t be certain but I have noticed the hyped announcements of a launch of a “spectacular product” release, do not typically coincide with one another among the “Big Boys.” The last time I checked, I wasn’t paranoid and I am not generally suspicious of people but this apparent avoidance of simultaneous “Super spectacular knock your socks off” launches that “You simply can not afford to miss” has the appearance of a round-Robin “time share.”

    I realize this sounds conspiratorial. Maybe it is a true coincidence :) when the B.B’s each share the limelight alone for a week or so but as the saying goes, “If it looks, walks and quacks like it duck…it is likely…a duck.

    Hang in there Jon, There are many of your followers, like me who have the middle name, “Diogenes” but no longer walk the streets pf Greece in search of an honest man. We’ve found him.

    Keep on telling it like it is because many of us depend on you for your honesty and leadership.

    Best Regards,

    Julian aka tweetledum@

    P.S (You knew there had to be a P.S. it ads so much to marketing of stuff, right?) I must say something good about the other guys or I’ll get a case of the guilts. They all seem to pay a very good, convincing writer for that critical marketing letter. Heck, the letter should be the product. For this, they get an A+ ! Sometimes I just have to wonder thoughwhy so many just havn’t caught on yet. If their stuff was good, tested, proven and shown to work, wouldl they need that marketing letter as a hook, or the freebees tossed in if their stuff really worked?

  23. Your blog content is REALLY COOL!

    I’ve subscribed to your list long time ago (Since your Adsense Gold thing), and to be honest, I visited your blog since it’s debut and felt your writing style was somewhat boring.

    But just revisit this place and read the old content, and Wow!
    How could I miss it all!! May be just because you don’t have those fancy and hyped headline that make me missed your blog.
    (Or you don’t JV with those “gurus” when you launch your product.)

    More than that, with your honest review of products. (I can hardly find honest review today, because those review were all affiliated.) And you don’t bomb me with offers and affiliate links like other gurus do. (But not too much is OK. Just noticed that you hardly promote other people’s products.)

    That’s why I’m still on your list. I used to subscribe to about 20 IM gurus’ lists. but most of them are nothing and waste my time reading them. Today I subscribed to just 5 IM lists, including yours.

    Anyway, Thanks for the post. Looking forward to great contents!

  24. To be on the top 10, I guess it’s already good enough. And I think that’s already an achievement.

  25. Thanks Jon as always for the info. I’ve got two questions if thats ok:

    1. How the heck do you get your site listed on Google in the first place? Once I am listed, you’ve got my $47 for 3 way links!

    2. I have noticed for some keywords on Google results that some websites will have like 800 back links and yet another will have like 3 and yet both are in the top ten. Whats going on here?

    Thanks again!

  26. I do not think the AOL stats are even relevant to this post…Because if you are speaking of a top ten ranking in Google then only Google stats would be relevant…

    AOL and Google are two different worlds……so obviously two different stats…But I agree…long tail is the way to go by far….but I always go after the big keywords as well………

  27. Just when I was feeling all proud of my site’s #2 and 3 rankings. Ah well, time to get some more links I suppose.

  28. I have a mortgage site that has a competitive keyword that bounces between #2 and #10. When the ranking drops past #3 i see very little traffic from the search term. But as i rise up the traffic really increases. On the flip side my long tail phrases send me more traffic combined then that one keyword phrase that is alot harder to maintain rankings for. Long tails are hard to beat and easier to maintain over the long term.

  29. Well, this was rude!
    I disagree “AOL users are not the savviest of searchers.”
    They just got an email there and search meantime…

  30. Jon,

    I’ve wondered for some time the potential difference between number one and number ten rankings in Google. Thanks for showing me how much difference that can make.

    We’re always being read the mantra “long-tail keywords” but you’ve done a great job of illustrating how much more powerful it is to rank highly for ten LTKW than try to hold your number one slot for one super-competitive keyword phrase.

    Thanks again for your excellent insight.



  31. I share the experience you have regarding the placements. I am currently tracking approximately 1100 key word/phrases for our own sites and clients, and we see the same trend for all of them. The no. 1 spot gets the majority of the traffic.

    Also, long tail traffic can easily outperform single or double words if there is enough of them ranking.

    Nice blog you have going here. Added to Google Reader for later consumption :)

  32. Right now top 10 is more than enough for me, because I just start to make a blog..
    Still struggle about driving traffic to my blog..

  33. is it best to start with one main topic or do many. i hear you speak of both. i am not clear on just what to do creat ablog put adsence on it and drive triffic or many blogs or aritcal sites and put adsence on them and leave them alone or have just one and foucious every thing i have on just this one …

    do you have any thing like 1,2,3, a,b,c, on what should be done first then so on ???????????????????????????

  34. Jonathan, I’ve mostly been familiar with you from your original $7 Secrets script, but I’ve stumbled onto multiple articles and products from you recently, and across the board I’ve been really impressed.
    And yeah, that’s a testimonial.
    - Tim Gross

  35. Jonathan, thanks for this post!

    I really wondered about the worth of page 1 rankings that are lower than #1 or #2.

    I have several keywords on the first page but haven’t been getting that much traffic. This explains it a bit:-)

    Great post, again!

  36. Jon,

    following your advice is without a doubt working for me!

    In the internet marketing game, I have not been sure which route to follow over the last 18 months, trying time and time to make things work, wasted cash, then I found Jon! Your maps to profit are now turning out top trumps!

    So much thanks!


  37. Hey Jonathan,

    It is always an eye-opening experience coming to your blog after reading your intro email.

    I call this a reminder – something telling me I’ve missed a lot for not signing for 3Way Links as yet. Now, I have a question before signing up — I intend using but it is not possible to create a separate page with so how do I then add links?

    Please if you have an idea(s) I will be glad to hear from you or any one.

  38. Excellent Jon. I share the same views with you. Ranking for multiple long tail keywords is definitely easier thank ranking for a super competitive keyword. For all we know, the efforts put in to rank for the super competitive keyword may not even pay off at all.

    Nice tips. Thanks.

  39. Hi Jonathan,

    Much has been written about SEO and getting onto google’s page one. Personally, I feel the whole issue has been blown out of proportion.

    I totally agree with Kathleen Ryan. It takes so much time and effort to get on to this coveted page and there’s no guarantee one can stay there or for how long. Is it really worth it? I honestly don’t think so.

    In my work I do a lot of searches and there’s many a time I find what I need on page 9 or way further. Why? Mainly because I read the ‘descriptions’ of the site to see if they offer what I’m looking for.

    The common belief is that people are too lazy, or strapped for time or want everything instantly and therefore will not be motivated to click the ‘next’ option when searching. Now I’m basically a lazy fellow but if I’m looking for something I’m more interested in finding what I want than in clicking on an irrelevant link just because it’s on page one.

    Of course, a listing on page 234 is clapped-out and worthless, but I’ll be quite satisfied being in the first 10 pages or so. And I’d really pay more attention to my site description than to the keywords.

  40. Hey Jonathan

    Thanks for the heads up… I have resisted writing the long tail stuff. I think maybe that was an error.

    Am I guessing right that long tails in articles could also be beneficial?


  41. I find that the best keywords are often the 2 to 4 worders, and the occasional 5 worder, with 3 worders often being optimal. Depending upon the niche, there are 2 to 4 word phrases that have moderate demand but low supply that you can easily win for. You will also naturally win for the 5, 6, and beyond longer tail searches simply by including relevant information in your content. If you’re a local vet in Philadelphia, it would be rare that you would need to optimize for “veterinary cat care in Philadelphia” since you’d end up winning for that phrase (and many others like it) anyway by building out your content. Your time is much better spent focusing on higher demand keywords.

    You can, however, use longer tail keywords to boost your rank for the more general, high demand, keywords in your niche. If, say, you wanted to rank for “cat health,” what you would do is create a page optimized for that term. Then create a number of pages around words like “cat health care” “cat health care tips” “cat health problems” and so on, and link to those from the cat health page using the keywords you want each page to rank for as anchor text. Then, interlink those pages where appropriate using the right keywords. Finally, make sure that every one of those pages links back to the cat health page using “cat health” in the anchor text. You will end up ranking for all terms from the longest tail on up to the high demand 2 worder. This, IMO, is the best of all worlds and the best use of your time.

    Kathleen -

    Since you can’t control how the general population searches, you have to mold your business model accordingly. I am often able to find very specific answers on the Web that others I know cannot. That is because I use the right keywords. A quick glance on the first page tells me if my first search used the best keywords. If not, I add and subtract words until the first page shows less junk. Then, I select from the best of the first 2 pages. Rarely would I go beyond that. Most people, however, are really bad at searching.


  42. It was interesting reading all the responses to your blog post, but it got me thinking from a different direction, How do I search? I don’t stop on the 1st page of a search – in fact I rarely find what I want on the 1st page. If I don’t find what I want on page 1, or 2, or 3 or 4 etc I just keep going, even past page 15. Because of this I always find what I am searching for. I would like to hear Jonathan, how you search, and anybody else who wants to reply. Maybe if searchers were educated on how to search properly we wouldn’t have to bust our guts, and our bank accounts, trying to get our sites on to that 1st Page.

  43. Jonathan
    WOW you sure hit the nail on the head today. I never heard of the AOL problem before but my experience tells me the same thing. Page 2 is pretty much zero. Back in the old days my main web site was no where to be found. Then I decided to try link trading and that works pretty well. I ended up on Yahoo and MSN number one for my main key word. Some time later I landed on page one of google but not number one right away. All 3 search engines changed the way they do things and I fell quite a bit. Especially Google. They keep changing the rules. MSN fell out of favor and no one uses it any more. Yahoo is pretty steady but Google is a tough nut to crack. That is where I decided 3-way links would help. That brought me back up to page one but not number one for my biggest key word. You were talking about people making money on Adsense and Affiliate. Thats cool but my main objective is making my cell phone ring. I can’t get into specifics but the higher on page one the more my cell phone rings.

    To be number one on Google for my main key word is my goal so the battle continues. I have traded for over 350 links over the years. That translates to 1 to 2 hours of work for each one. I think it was worth the time. There are a lot of negatives there though. Like people erasing your link for some reason. Crooks doing all sorts of tricks like hiding links from search engines so it looks like they have a bunch of one way links. Or not using your URL in a link but changing it to a data point of some sort. Re-directs and all sorts of scummy tricks.

    My latest thing is to install a script to collect links automatically. Link trading is time consuming. So I figure a script would save time. Someone would enter their link info. They would have to install their half in advance. That would give me time to inspect their link for crooked problems and how relative their link is and how much page rank. Then install it on my page automatically if everything pans out. This is turning out to be a tough problem just to install. We didn’t write it but are just installing it.

    So the battle goes on. I want to have time to do the other things like AdSense and affiliate things and get a list going. Which I have started all three. Thats more fun than anything else.

    By the way somehow I actually rank pretty high for my own name. Thats weird.

    Bob McGuire

  44. Great reminder of the importance of varied keyword targeting.

    Thanks Jon!

  45. These are really surprising results even though it is AOL. I know Google’s “I’m feeling lucky” button will take you to the #1 listed site for your search phrase, which is another incentive to keep gettting backlinks for a long tail keyword until you are definitely at the top.

    The problem of course is that for any decent keyword the #1 position is usually a major authority site like wikipedia. For a lot of keywords it is easier to get a brand new site to rank in first page, than it is to take a site from the bottom of the first page to #1. Like someone said it gets harder and harder to improve your rank the higher up you go.

  46. You are right Jon. I just started up the above site on Monday night of this week. I was indexed in google in 5.5 hours. I have had 150 uniques so far, and I have been found for over 50 long tail keyword phrases. Some of these are #1 rankings, most are on page one currently, and some are ranking on page #1 with over 3 million web pages. I only have around 8 articles on the site so far and hope to have 50 by the end of the month. I haven’t hit a $1/day yet in adsense (wow right), but it has just been a few days. I think I am on the right track, and things are working out good.
    But you are right, focus on the long tail phrases and use some good LSI words in your articles too, so you can rank for many phrases for one article, rather than ranking for 1 phrase for 1 article.
    Thanks for all you do, I enjoy and look forward to getting your email about a new blog post, cause I know it will be a good one.
    thanks again,

  47. Hi Jonathon,
    You point of ranking for long-tail keywords is right on. However, I don’t believe the AOL statistics to be very realistic. I’m not sure if you’ve seen the stompernet videos where they analyze people’s eyes and where they scan the results pages on Google. But they’re results show the best spots to be on the page are #s 1, 2 and 10. Go figure! That may be neither here nor there concerning your point, but updated statistics would probably bear out your point all the more!
    Thanks for a great post.
    -Mark Krusch

  48. Jonathan,

    As always, a thought-provoking post.

    Our problem is that we get the majoriy of our traffic from people searching on what is basically a “research” keywords, not a “buying” one, but we have clearly seen our traffic (and sales) increase as our sites have climbed the first page of Google results (and even outrank the product manufacturer in some cases).

  49. “2 year old AOL crap”? Have people really changed so much in two years that their clicking patterns on SERPs would be that different? Hardly.

    Give me 10 easy-to-maintain long-tails that bring the same traffic as one primary any day of the week. Another added advantage of long-tails is that the traffic converts much better, because you know exactly what they’re after.

  50. Jon,
    Your headline says “Is ranking is the Top 10 Good enough” Well, maybe not on 2year old AOL crap. But, using your example of 1 Top 10 compared to 10 #1′s for various keywords, long-tail or otherwise. Give me a #1 on Google any day to 10 usually random, accidental long-tails. Harder sure.
    Don’t get me wrong I’m a very firm believer in long tail Domains AND keywords. Combined keywords within longtails can be very effective albeit ,secondary only to high traffic prime keywords.


  51. Jonathan,

    The thing I like most about your posts is that you make me think. Sometimes I even need to rethink my position on a subject after your posts.

    In this post in your response to Tony C you talk about going to really long tale keywords. IE “car rentals in Port Author Tx”.

    Have you done any research, I know it depends on the topic a lot, as to how long to go. In other words how small a click rate would still be worth while.


  52. My site doesn’t rank at all, or at least not very high. Yet, my site is successful and I don’t have to worry about rankings. The product is Coral calcium and the company advertises for me. The company brings on new down-line so I don’t have to recruit.

  53. A holistic approach has to be taken to successfully promote a website. Like the Brick and Mortar business you have to pave a lot of streets to your front door.

  54. G’day Jon,
    The beauty of it all is that you end up being page one for many other keyword phrases as well. For instance, I currently rank #2 on Google out of 33 million results for my long tail phrase. But I also have page one status for over 45 variations of that phrase.

    Some of these variations get more searches per day than my main phrase and some do not. The beauty is that the cumilative result is a huge stream of traffic.

    Cheers mate,

    Craig McPherson

  55. Great info, Jon. One thing I’ve learned is that its almost mandatory (especially for new guys) to target the long-tails. When I first started out I went for a ridiculous, competitive keyword that was impossibly out of my reach. After months of only 2-3 visits, I was ready to throw in the towel. The odds are definitely not in your favor if you chase the “big boys” in the keyword struggle for top Google rankings! Now I focus ONLY on the low-hanging fruit and have made a lot more money than I had originally thought was possible. I owe this in part to you and 3WL—- the quickstart guide to selecting the appropriate keywords for 3wl opened my eyes to the potential of long-tails. My advice to anyone reading this- Start tackling the long-tails now. The march to take on the “big boys” for competitive keywords is a long and arduous task that- as you pointed out- may not even be worth the time spent! Good post.

  56. Jon,
    I’m just starting with 3waylinks. I read a lot about long tail keywords and I’m looking forward to put that knowledge into action. Where I can find the 3waylinks forum? Thanks for your help. Karen.

  57. Hi Jon

    Nice crisp logic. Great to see.


  58. I find this kind of true, I have had a site that was ranked number one drop to number five and it was as if the site had dropped from the serp.
    I agree with your long tail keywords approach, if only I could control this guy called googlebot

  59. Jon, thanks for the quick answer. So it really is that simple then? I’m off to do a bit of keyword research, I think :)

  60. Hey Jonathan,
    Very good point.
    Which leads me to think that maybe it is better to try to build several really good sites on various niches than to try to compete with the “big guns” and only build one niche site.
    This really makes me stop and think about which strategy is best.
    Maybe dominate a niche market’s longtail and then move onto another niche?
    Which option do you think is most lucrative and possible for someone depending on organic search to make it online?

  61. Jon,
    How true, 3WL has helped me attain rankings on several long tails.

    One of the Best resource you’ve produced to date.

    Thanks for the help!

  62. TonyC:

    The concept is fairly simple. Find long-tail keywords (more niche, specifically targetted keywords–i.e. “car rentals in port arthur, tx” as opposed to “car rentals”), create content around those long-tail keywords, and get links into those pages that contain the long-tail keywords along with variations (“port arthur, tx car rentals”, “car rentals in port arthur”, “port arthur car rental” etc)

  63. I’m quite new to IM and have (and am making) made mistakes whilst learning the ropes. Obviously not knowing too much about things, I set up a few of my sites targetting the main keywords for their niche- well, I wasn’t to know :)
    My question is this: how does one go about targetting long tailed keywords on a site that has been set up to target the main keywords and is going no-where? I’m a bit confused so an explanation from somebody would be much appreciated.

  64. I can also confirm your findings about having a low top-10 result.

    I have a site that has a number 10 listing in and 5 in, and while they’re great to look at and boast about, they might as well not be their as my traffic mainly comes from long-tail searches to sub-pages that I haven’t put any effort into promoting.

    Guess it’s back to adding more long-tail targeted keyword pages then.


  65. Thank You. Jonathan

  66. I think you hit the nail on the head with this one, Jonathan.

    I’ve seen as much traffic from three pages returning #1 or #2 overall in search as I have from dozens of pages with top-10 rankings that aren’t in the top three.

    Top-10 results do tend to be somewhat overrated, as I think it is more of a winner-take-all game than a lot of folks would like to admit.

  67. As always, Jonathan you tell it like it is. I always like the fact that you show us with proof as well as test out theories and let us in on your findings. How many other internet marketers can say that?

    Keep it up man :)

  68. I have observed this “logarithmic effect” myself. I have a couple of sites in the legal market that rank #1 & 2 for a very good keyword phrase. I have two others that are newer and are at #9 and #11 respectively.

    I coded the email/form links so I could identify where the leads were coming from and about 90% come from the sites that are #1 and 2.

    I’m going to pay a little more attention to creating pages based on those long tails.

    Thanks for confirming in very clear prose what is going on in the market.

  69. As usual and eye opening post Jon!

    Close only counts in horseshoes …is also very true for SE/internet world.

    I believe that multiple SEO items are whats needed,most can be overcome by some good old hard work,I hate writing and I stink at ng it and its really work,but it can be done.I can learn validating html code,it again takes work,but it can be done…but when it comes to back links,it takes more than just lots of effort.It takes willing webmasters and that is hard to find.

  70. Jonathan;
    I totally agree. I’ve seen the increase as I’ve moved up to #1 and it’s almost logarithmic. As usual, you tell it like it is!

  71. I agree, 100% I have recently just started focusing on longer tail phrases, after I saw first hand.

    One of my sites that ranked number 3 for a search term with just 300 searches a month. (according to overture)
    Another of my sites that ranked number 1 for a search term with just 70 searches a month (according to overture)

    I make almost twice the money off the second site, month after month, with less than half the traffic (stats confirmed)

    Its more work ranking for more keywords, but they are a lot more profitable.

  72. Kevin:

    1) I appreciate your feedback, however, the Keyword Selection Guide on the help page (also shown when a person first gets an account) tells you step-by-step how to choose the right kinds of keywords for 3WL.

    2) You can change your keywords after the fact. A few weeks ago I implemented code that will slowly modify your keywords across the network. Check your domain details pages and you’ll see that option is on there now. So you can indeed get the most out of the links made available to you in your account.

  73. this is very true, but as a 3 way link user it was not clear or explained when i started loading in my sites. I used the wrong KW’s and not long tail. This means I don’t get nearly the results.

    And I cannot change those KW’s in my account so that I get better rankings.

    Share this info with your cutomers up front and they will benefit greatly.

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