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2a. Consider the "Long Tail".

Here's what I got when I typed "hot dog" in that Keyword Tracker Tool. Y is number of searches, X is different phrases related to "hot dog". In fact the graph is scrunched horizontally; it tails waaaay off to the right.

Most people search for one or two popular phrases, but the obscure phrases, the "long tail" of the graph, collectively outnumber the popular search terms. "Chasing the Long Tail" means targeting less-popular but still widely-searched keywords, products, or opportunities that competitors have missed.

In the old days, many SEO experts used long-tail keywords as their main or ONLY keyword, embedding it in their URL and/or page title to tell search engines, "Rank me for this phrase!" Nowadays, search engines have caught onto this trick and refuse to be so easily convinced. Therfore, long tail keywords don't have as much "pull" as they used to, and I don't recommend gambling your whole SEO strategy on one long tail phrase. However, it's still a good idea to gather a list of relevant "long tail" searches and keep them in mind when writing your page. If one of these phrases fits what you're trying to say, use it!

3. Check the Competition For Your Keywords

You need a keyword that people are searching for, but if there's a gazillion webpages optimized for it, those pages will appear before your lens in search engine results. Most people searching the web click on one of the first 5 to 10 links they see -- in other words, page one of search results.

So you have to scout your competition. SEO experts used advanced and expensive software to do this. Most of us Squidoo members don't have such resources. But Google can give us a basic idea of how many pages are optimized for a given search term. Google the following:

allinurl:your keyword or phrase

allintitle:your keyword or phrase

That tells you how many webpages have your keyword in their url or page title. That means they're optimized for that keyword.

If 1000+ sites are all optimized for your keyword(s), try another. A few hundred? Yeah, you can beat that! However, before you run off to write your "what's in a hot dog?" lens, there's one more thing you need to check.

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