With all due respect to Bruce Lee (someone whom I have dedicated a good amount of my life studying), there is another dragon that SEO experts and digi-heads everywhere should master.
Learning to create a long-tail keyword strategy could be the beginning of increasing your page and domain authority overnight. When you think of dragons (shout out to my Game of Thrones peeps), you see the fire, the piercing eyes, the scales, and those nasty, drool-ensconced fangs. However, the one weapon most neglect is that gangling tailflowing behind the dragon like a banner wisping in the wind.
Digital strategists make that mistake too. A keyword strategy's foundation is made of primary, core, and thematic building blocks, but often, the phrases people use to search a finite thing is overlooked. Don't do that or a tail will sweep your leg. Like the Karate Kid, only without Elizabeth Shue cheering for your demise.
And having that fart-and-fall-down moment in front of a client isn't a pretty sight. So let's look into the "way of the dragon" -- make a winning long-tail keyword strategy.
Definition -- Let's say your client runs a fantasy warehouse or comic shop, and thanks to a certain cable show's success, people are massively interested in dragons. You have a cornucopia of dragon fun stuff in your fine nerdish establishment but need to let the masses know (in English or Dothraki). You need a lead or "head term," which in this case, would be dragon. Now, where would people find your stuff? That's the premise of creating a long-tail keyword. For example, "dragon...videos on YouTube" or "dragon...crew neck t-shirts." Get creative. That's where your audience is located.
Structure -- You now know your head term. Congratulations, but so does everyone else and their mother. You need to structure how your terms will be effective by coddling them with a warm, cozy tail of love. The shorter your tail, the more general the search will be to users. The longer your tail, the more specific and more effective it will be for your pockets. You can't assume how people search, which is why it's smart to plan for both -- the way you want to be found and what it really takes for others to find you.
Sometimes, it's great to be niche online. Think about your customer base if you are this shop owner. Everyone is looking for "dragons." Not everyone is looking for "dragons RPG video games." Long-tail keywords are far less competitive; therefore, you have much more opportunity to stick out and create conversion.
Intent -- What's on your customer's mind? Is it browsing or really shopping? What helps keep your lights on for the next 'Dungeons & Dragons' symposium? You need conversion, which is often the forgotten metric of digital strategy. Impressions and engagement are great, but let's be honest -- those vanity metrics good for window shopping. You are looking for the registers to ring, so make those customers into conversions. Browsers are looking for "Dragon collectibles" but people with the debit card on standby search for "Black dragon figurine price." Did you know 70% of search traffic comes from long-tail keywords (thanks Moz)? Sounds like your intent should be there wrapped around your product.
Demand -- Managing long-tail keywords is about creating a line of communication free of distraction between your business and the customers who want what you provide every day. You may bring in less traffic but you will bring in better traffic -- people with a high interest to purchase, and a likely chance to walk away a customer instead of just a consumer of your online offerings. Understanding the search demand is a key component of any organic or paid keyword strategy. Understand not only what they want, but why they want it. Figure that out and your dragon will start breathing fire.
Competition -- In any industry, there are certain words that every stakeholder and consumer use. These are the really generic one-word answers that describe that you do and provide. Odds are if you are using them, every one of your competitors are using them as well. The difference is probably found in specifics. Your audience, save for a couple of accountants, pharmaceutical reps, and rocket scientists, are not using dense jargon. If you want to be searched, use words they use to define you. They also use phrases, sentences, and even questions -- these are all long tails that lead people directly to your front door.
Conversion -- This is your mission with any long-tail keyword, which is why quality content and specific keywords are crucial to what you are positioning. When the content on your page is more relevant to any user, this strikes a chord with the user and possibly strikes a 'For Sale' button in your cash register. Long-tail keywords are less competitive but they are more likely to resonate with your new customer looking to purchase.
Odds are you are not going to rank for any head term because you don't have a global brand or the global dollars to advertise it. Keywords are commodities. If you consider that, the more keywords you use... well, you get the picture. It's worth cash in your pocket once you make the conversion. Also, think about how to use these long tails in your content. If you have a Web page about "dragons," write around your terms to make inventive long tails.
What brings in the most revenue? How useful is your traffic? Why is your content working. Be fluid. You know? Like water. Someone brilliant, skilled, and oh so great said something like that once. Get smart and know the way of the dragon.