How To Prioritize The Long Tail With Twitter

Lately, Twitter has been on my mind. Not only because I am speaking about it at SMX Toronto, but also because I have been trying to come up with new strategic ways to use it for clients in order to enhance their SEO efforts. For me, and I suspect for others as well, one of the biggest challenges with Twitter has always been “all the noise”.

Sure, Twitter is great for connecting with people, brands monitoring their competition and sharing information in spurts, but what about systematically layering information from Twitter with other data sets to better understand your audience and create useful information for them? Is that even possible?

What I hope to present and explain below is the beginning of an effective methodology, which I suspect is not a completely unique approach, but is certainly a powerful approach for how to use Twitter to help us prioritize the long tail of search and ensure that we are sharing timely and fresh content.

A Quick Recap Of The Long Tail In Search

The concept of the long tail analysis is a statistical concept that explains how within a population, the largest distribution will be found at the tail end.

This concept was made popular in search marketing by Chris Anderson of Wired  in an article he wrote titled “The Long Tail“. What Anderson comes to prove is how crucial it is for businesses, specifically online businesses, to put a large focus on their inventory at the tail end.

The Illustrated Search Demand Curve

Amazing drawing skills thanks to the Drawsome phone app :)

This is something which has been written about in length in the SEO community, specifically relating to keyword themes and how marketers can capture large percentages of queries by optimizing for it.

The simple practical application of this is looking through your analytics to discover themes and trends on what information is directing people to your site, and creating new, fresh and relevant content for those searchers, which we know search engines love too.

Long Tail Example

Twitter Beating Site Analytics To The Punch

Site analytics are a great way to discover themes around what people have been searching on, creating the opportunity for you to develop new content. But social media is great for discovering topics your audience is searching for now, as well as giving you more insight into who they are, creating leads for link building initiatives.

If this is true, then this methodology is exactly the way to prioritize which long tail queries to begin optimizing and targeting.

How Do We Do This?


Step 1

For starters, begin by looking through your site analytics and uncover themes that you see evolving in the recesses of all this data.

For the purposes of this example, I uncovered that my site showed up a number of times for queries around email and Facebook.

Facebook Less Email

Understanding what long tail queries are driving people to your site is the first step. This information alone is helpful for marketers.

While these queries are driving small amounts of users to my site, I understand that its because of a previous article I wrote. I may want to revisit this and write a follow up topic on this anyway. But for the purposes of these discussions, let’s keep an eye on these long tail queries that are already driving small amounts of traffic.

Step 2


Next, head over to a free tool like Topsy or Social Mention, and do a quick search to see if there is a lot of activity around those queries. You might not see any right away, and should run these searches every couple weeks to see if they start to pick up steam (don’t forget this is the long tail we are going after).

If you would prefer, you could use this handy spreadsheet in Google Docs (h/t to Mashable for posting these free Google doc Spreadsheets), where you can actually set the keywords up in the spreadsheet and start tracking them ongoing to see what starts to buzz.

Step 3


This is the best part. Once you see something start to trend, the work is basically done for you. You have not only successfully uncovered the next topic you should write and the keywords you will want to target, you also have discovered a list of Twitter users who are already discussing the topic that you can reach out to.

Now, Go Tweet The Long Tail

This method is not meant to “replace” the work you are already doing, its meant to support and prioritize it to help you maximize results for the time you put in.

The opportunities are limitless and the methodology can be expanded and used many different ways. I hope you use it and customize it for your needs and the needs of your clients. Feel free to leave comments. I would love to hear more about how you are using it and collaborating to make it work even better.

Looking forward to discussing this more at SMX Toronto.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Search & Social


About The Author: is the Director of SEO for Kahena, a Digital Marketing agency focused on sustainable SEO, vertical search optimization, and online advertising. At KDM, he leads strategy for all accounts and is experienced in SEO ranging from local, digital marketing, to national and global search marketing. Aaron also specializes in social media strategy development and its convergence with SEO, content creation, image and video optimization. Follow him on Twitter @AaronFriedman.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


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  • Kolači

    Pretty, pretty, pretty good advice! :)

  • x_tina111

    Really great post! My colleague recently wrote a blog which explains how long tail keywords can save your campaigns: 

  • Robin Buxton

    Brilliant! Great step by step plan.

  • Aaron Friedman

    Thanks Robin! Use it well.

  • Erin Pheil

    Picked this link out of my Twitter feed (surprise!). Appreciate you sharing a creative—yet so very simple once you hear it—use of Twitter with us.  Looking forward to playing around with this tactic.

  • Hilary St Jonn

    Wow, now I really wish I was hearing you speak at SMX Toronto! Very interesting article, thanks!

  • Tudor Davies

    Good advice. What I like about long tail traffic is that it ensures that you get really specific traffic and that is more likely to convert.

  • reddel

    Aaron, great well written article on how to put the long tail to use for any business. Especially like the free spreadsheets Google docs. Thanks appreciate the advice! 

  • Aaron Friedman

    Hi Erin, 
    Would love to hear more detailed feedback on how it worked out for you. Enjoy.

  • Aaron Friedman

    Haha. Hopefully I will post the deck on slideshare some time soon :)


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