Did you know that there are approximately 3.5 billion searches generated on Google every day? And of those searches, it is estimated that between 16% to 20% of those daily searches are completely unique–meaning that they’ve never been searched for before. Thats nearly 700 million daily unique search queries. Just try to wrap your head around that for a moment.

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re looking to craft a keyword strategy to drive more traffic to your business, blog, or other kind of website. But stats like the ones above can be pretty discouraging. I mean, with 700 MILLION different and unique search queries being generated every day, how is it even possible to create a keyword SEO strategy that breaks through the noise and helps searchers find you? Enter: a longtail keyword strategy.

A “longtail” is the area of the keyword demand curve that comprises all of these unique (or otherwise not popular) search phrases, statements, or queries. Longtail queries comprise the majority of search queries being generated, which means you need to start thinking outside of the box when it comes to your longtail keyword SEO strategy. Essentially, it’s time to embrace the ambiguity of the longtail. Because, lets face it, just relying on single iterations of keywords or short, popular queries likely won’t cut it.

An effective longtail keyword strategy starts with brainstorming keyword themes, not just words.

One key way to embrace the ambiguity that comes with longtail search queries is to think in terms of the themes surrounding your keywords–these themes are likely the space that the longtail search queries will occupy. As one blogger wrote on the subject, think in terms of your keywords as dandelions, rather than bricks. You see, bricks are finite. Bricks have distinct boundaries. Bricks are solid and unchangeable. If keywords are bricks, you’re missing millions of searchers that are using longtail search queries–because the odds of them hitting your exact keywords may be quite low.

Conversely, dandelions are exactly the opposite of bricks. Dandelions have a core center. But the rest of the dandelion is like a halo–fluffy, flexible, no clear boundaries, and hundreds of little fibers filling out the space around the center. And a dandelion is exactly how you should think about keywords, too: you have a core center (the keyword itself), and then you have hundreds of flexible themes and concepts that surround the actual word. And these themes and concepts change and grow with time.

By thinking of keywords as themes, you can craft a better keywords and phrases strategy that ultimately will drive more effective results. This is because keywords are everywhere, and when you step outside of a “keywords as bricks” mindset, you’ll actually be thinking within the ambiguous “halo” of the keywords where your potential customers are more likely living.

To execute this kind of thematic keywords strategy, look at your site traffic and analyze how people are finding your site and what content they’re landing on when they arrive. Essentially, you need start focusing on the heart of what your consumers want and are looking for. And then tailor your content and offerings accordingly. For example, if the most popular avenue for searchers to find a law firm’s website is through their personal injury service offering, the site should start building out more content with personal injury themes: like “the average settlement from car collision personal injury”; and “the cost of hiring a personal injury attorney”; or “the most common types of personal injury cases”; etc.

Once you’ve tailored your content more towards the themes that your searchers are interested in, you can then also develop more accurate and thematic keywords from there. And that’s how you can use a longtail SEO strategy to better find keywords and meet your customers and clients where they’re at. Now get to work!

–Rebecca Rasmussen