January 26, 2012
How To

Long-tail Search Marketing: SEO how-to content and videos earn 9% conversion rate

SUMMARY: People who find your website through a search engine can be highly qualified. This quality can stretch even further when they find you with specific, long-tail keywords.

See how one retailer earned a 9% conversion rate by targeting specific search terms. Find out how the team used highly targeted video and content to grab more real estate on search pages and convinced visitors to purchase.
by Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter

Some consumers are "do it yourself"-ers. When their dishwasher breaks, they find the broken part, look up the part number, and enter "SparkleWash SW541D" into a search engine to find a replacement.

These types of searches are often called "long-tail." They are used by a small number of people who are looking for something very specific. They can drive highly qualified traffic to a website, and Ali Irani, President, MI Technologies, used them to build his business.

Irani's team sells replacement television parts online. To target long-tail searches, his team created FixYourDLP.com, a site that teaches visitors how to replace specific parts in specific televisions. Once visitors learn how to make repairs, they can click to visit the team's e-commerce site to buy the parts they need.

"There are hundreds of different TVs and they are compatible with about 200 to 250 different part numbers. So we created a matrix between TV models and part numbers and got very specific with our content," Irani says. "If you [search for] 'Samsung' with a model number and 'bulb' or 'lamp,' chances are that you will get a direct hit on one of our pages, particularly a page that is dedicated to that Samsung TV."

Creating these pages earned great results for the team:
  • About 80% of all the site's traffic comes from organic search

  • Visitors spend longer than 5 minutes on the site, on average

  • 9% of visitors to FixYourDLP.com make a purchase

  • 7% of visitors to Discount-Merchant.com (the team's e-commerce site) make a purchase

We sat down with Irani to understand how conversion rates like these are possible, and how his team created webpages that attract and convert inbound traffic from long-tail search. Here are the top tactics he highlighted.

Tactic #1. Create helpful, focused webpages

The idea of repairing a television intimidates most people. The goal of FixYourDLP.com is to help consumers overcome this hesitation and build their confidence through how-to content, Irani says.

For example, one of the team's pages is devoted to replacing a lamp in a JVC television. It includes:
  • Video demonstration - A two-and-a-half minutes video demonstrates how to replace the part and is displayed just above the page's fold

  • Images and instructions - Immediately below the video, the page lists more technical information, such as a list of other models the part can be used in. This is followed by step-by-step instructions on how-to replace the part, complete with 14 images

  • "Buy Now" button - At the bottom of the page, visitors can click this button to purchase the product on the team's e-commerce site, Discount-Merchant.com

The team has dozens of these pages, each with images and instructions on how to replace a specific part in a specific television. More than 50 of the pages include a video.

Other types of content

FixYourDLP.com also features:
  • Forum - The team maintains an active forum dedicated to television and projector repair. Anyone can browse and search the forum, but visitors must register to post topics and respond.

  • Troubleshooting Wizard - This simple tool walks users through a series of questions to solve their TV problems. Answers are provided with links to more information and a link to buy a part from the team's e-commerce site if one is necessary.

  • Blog - The team publishes several blog posts each week with information on how to replace a specific part and when to do so. These posts are strictly how-to information. They more closely resemble pages from a technical service manual than a conversational blog post and do not encourage engagement from the audience.

Tactic #2. Focus on SEO and search traffic

The single largest driver of traffic to FixYourDLP.com is organic search, Irani says. The site has the top organic result for "dlp repair" in Google, and it ranks seventh for "dlp parts" (Discount-Merchant.com ranks second for that keyword).

Far more important than these broad terms are the narrow, long-tail search phrases such as "JVC DLP Lamp TS-CL110U." The team targets dozens of these phrases with how-to pages and tops the search results for many of them.

Here are some of the tactics the team used to grab the top results for these long-tail searches:
  • Targeted content - By providing videos, images and how-to content on an extremely specific topic, the team turns these pages into a valuable resource for searchers. The search engines respond by giving these pages priority over others that do not match their depth or focus.

  • Follow SEO guidelines - The team followed SEO guidelines to target these pages to specific part numbers. For example, each page includes a part number and model name in its title. The images and videos include the related part numbers and other information in their metadata. Additional content such as compatible model numbers and step-by-step replacement instructions provide more information to visitors and search engines.

  • Always grow - Letting a site go stale can degrade its search rankings, so the team regularly publishes content to the site and maintains its forum.

Tactic #3. Include a link to purchase

Irani's team ultimately wants to sell television parts. For this, it typically points FixYourDLP.com's visitors to the team’s e-commerce site, Discount-Merchant.com.

This strategy has worked well. As we noted, 9% of visitors to FixYourDLP.com ultimately purchase. The quality of the site's traffic helps drive the outstanding conversion rate, Irani says. For example, a person searching for "JVC DLP Lamp TS-CL110U" is likely looking for a replacement part.

"You have to remember the psychology of these people. It's a unique marketplace," Irani says. "These are primarily consumers that had their TV go out … Football is on Sunday, or the wife is watching a soap opera, or the kids need to watch Nemo, and the whole house goes crazy. So you've got to overnight this thing, like, yesterday."

Tactic #4. Invest in content, not in ads

Some of the team's competitors invest heavily in PPC ads, which is something Irani avoids, he says. His team spends less than $500 a month on search ads.

Instead, his team invests in product research and content, which tends to pay off over a longer term than advertising, he says.

"We track some of our competitors … Sometimes they just disappear and they are off the face of the Internet. They are just gone because they have not invested at all in their websites and their content."

After upfront costs are covered, the team's content is always available to potential customers and search engines.

"When you compare some of the organic results to [paid search ads], to me, it's a no-brainer. You turn off [the ads] and the next day, you are gone from the Internet. You disappear."

Quality vs. quantity

A central goal of creating this content is to help customers solve their problems, not to wow visitors with fancy graphics, Irani says. The content has to be useful and accurate, but it does not have to win awards for presentation.

Rather than creating a handful of fantastic videos on how to repair televisions, the team created dozens of good videos, each on focusing on a specific part in a specific model.

"It's not as difficult as many people think it is," he says. "You can just start writing and you start shooting. The videos are not exactly high-end, but they're effective."

Tactic #5. If you can't beat them, join them

The team also works to multiply its number of search results on a given page, thereby increasing the chance a searcher will ultimately purchase from the company. The team does this in two ways:

Partner with competitors

If the team finds itself competing for search results with an online retailer, it will try to sell its products from the retailer's website. For example, the team started selling products on Amazon after it noticed search results from the mega retailer were pushing down links to FixYourDLP.com.

The team followed a similar strategy on Nextag and Price Grabber, and also worked with smaller sites to sell its parts as affiliates. The team competitively prices their products on these sites to attract buyers.

"Essentially, if anyone clicks on an organic link, we want a piece of the pie," Irani says.

Host videos on YouTube

The team uploads videos to YouTube and adds them to FixYourDLP.com through YouTube's player (check the 'useful links' section below). Hosting them on YouTube gives the team additional pieces of content that can show up in search results. Had the team hosted the videos on FixYourDLP.com, they would be less likely to appear alongside other search results for the site.

The team follows SEO guidelines for the videos, making sure to include the part number and model name in their titles. The team also adds a good description for each video, fills out all the necessary metadata, and links to Discount-Merchant.com from the video's YouTube page.

Useful links related to this article

  1. JVC part page

  2. Forum

  3. Blog post

  4. Troubleshooting wizard

  5. Video YouTube page

YouTube JavaScript Player API Reference

Marketing Research Chart: SEO tactics used by organizations with and without SEO processes

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The Ultimate Click: How to get what you pay for with pay-per-click advertising

Vertical Measures - Helped the team craft its content and SEO strategy



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