Spreading the Field

Aaron Wall recently wrote a post on Search Engine Land titled How To Get New Web Sites To Rank Quickly. It’s a good post with good advice in it, and worth a read. Of course, I did not start this post just to tell you that …

I really like the ideas of going after long tail terms, and less competitive terms. It certainly makes sense when you are thinking about how to enter a competitive market space. However, let’s expand on the concept a bit.

Let’s assume a couple of things:

  1. You want to play to win the big bucks
  2. You are willing to be patient

Assuming both of those things are true, then you can take Aaron’s advice, but not give up on the big terms either. I refer to the concept as “spreading the field”. Yes you implement a long tail strategy, and you implement some less competitive terms as well. But, you should also go after the big terms.

Think of it as a continuum, ranging from head terms (very difficult to compete for) to long tail terms (easy to compete for). You want to have a strategy that addresses all parts of the continuum. You should implement:

  1. Content that will address lots of long tail terms
  2. Content for not so long tail terms
  3. Pages to get medium tail terms
  4. ….
  5. Pages and content for hard to win on “head” terms

Use the long tail terms to fund your site in the short term. Then the not so long tail terms to fund the next stage, and so forth. The idea is to play to win the big boys game, but make some money in the short term to keep cash coming in so you can keep investing in and growing your site. It’s the best of both worlds.


  1. says

    It’s often referred to as low hanging fruit 😉 It’s a solid strategy and it’s amazing the traffic long tail optimisation can bring in. Remember, there’s more search volume in the tail than the head.


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