How The Long Tail and Hyper Local Content Will Punch a Hole Through the Competition

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Some of you have heard the terms Hyper Local and Long Tail before.  There’s actually a book (The Long Tail by Chris Anderson, editor of Wired Magazine) written about niche marketing back in 2006.  I decided to focus on this topic because I don’t think it’s something that is readily understood by many people and even less so in the real estate industry.  Also, I just read a great article by Peter Kolat about relevant blogging and it got me thinking.  Real estate is one of the most highly competitive industries in terms of content, search terms, and web presence.  The Long Tail in real estate is about fighting dirty.  It’s about kicking and scratching your way to the top.  It’s about making you the undeniable expert in your niche.  It’s about doing something the big boys can’t… getting local.  Wanna get started?

long tail in real estate

Blogs, Blogs Everywhere…

I don’t know why anyone would still be counting but suffice it to say… there are millions of blogs and billions of people reading them… daily.  Now, I’m kind of snooty and think that if you don’t ‘own’ your own blog (self-hosted) then you’re not quite as serious as the rest of us.  Even so, 28,000 people download the wordpress platform daily.  I doubt that includes fantastico automated installs either.

The point of my mumbling is that there is a load of content indexed by search engines daily.  Would you rather be a big fish in a little pond or a tuna in a school the size of Mt. Everest?  Hyper Local and Long Tail Blogging makes you the fat daddy in the little pond that is your real estate niche.  Let and the others fight over the mountain.  Even our own Bigger Pockets uses the Long Tail to attract visitors.  Hey Josh.  How many unique keywords has your site been found for since inception?  Readers are dying to know.  My guess in in the high hundreds of thousands, maybe more.

Getting on with it…

How do I blog for ‘The Long Tail?”  I thought you’d never ask…

* include image of the long tail graph*

See, and the other big boys rank for general keywords… real estate, homes for sale, and dozens of others.  We don’t want to play with them.  So let’s add a few words like this… hamptons new york luxury real estate or short sales in south beach under $200,000.

These longer keywords are great because they…

  • are much easier to rank for (less competition)
  • they are targeted to specific interests (buyers who contact you are much more serious)
  • they help brand you and your site as the go-to place for information on this subject

Okay, pick an niche; be it luxury homes in the Hamptons or short sales in South Beach.  This is just about all you’re going to talk about on your blog/site.  If you’re going to be serious about this do the following…

  1. Do some keyword research on your niche (what do people search for to find your niche)
  2. Write down 100 things to talk about.  If you can’t thing of a hundred you just went ‘ultra-local’ and have specialized too much.  Zoom out a bit and try again.
  3. These hundred things are a starting point for each of your posts.  Pick the 10 most important and write ‘pillar’ or ‘evergreen’ content about these things.  This is what you want the site to be ‘known’ for.
  4. Create variation.  Google will only show one post for a given keyword phrase(s).  If you write 10 articles that would show up in Google for the same keywords you just wasted time writing 9 of them.  It’s called keyword cannibalization and smart people don’t write about the exact same thing they’ve already written about.  A good example of this is market data.  Vary your market data posts so that they show for different combinations of keywords.
  5. Keep it coming.  The more posts you write, the more keywords you show up for.  My personal site has 130 posts on it and I have been found for about 14,000 different combinations of keywords so far.  That’s why I asked Josh (with over 1500 articles) how many the Bigger Pockets blog shows up for.

This article was just a cursory, somewhat rambling look at The Long Tail and how to use it.  If you’d like a deeper look at The Long Tail and Hyper Local Blogging just let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure and dive into the subject again soon.  Thanks for reading.


About Author

Ben’s an ‘out of the box’ Realtor and Internet Marketing guy. He’s recently started a brand spanking new Training, Coaching, and Marketing company for Realtors called The Exit Pro. He likes all things blogging and teaches Realtors to be more professional through training. He spends most of his time getting the word out about his cool new real estate company and writing guest posts for great sites like BiggerPockets.


  1. If I may add to this long tail keyword discussion, I think this has been the target for a while now with many IMers out there. The long tail KW has been, and always will be the laser targeted way of focusing on your niche. The other advantage this has is the way the internet in my opinion has evolved. Back in the day, people would type into their search engines very computer type jargon-ish keywords. The way I’ve seen this evolve over time with web 2.0 type content and social networks as more and more of society is becoming computer savvy is amazing.

    In a nut shell, I’ve seen this evolve over the past 10 years with the way people use their computers and search for information. Back in the day, you would type in something for example like “car for sale” or “blue car for sale” and so on. It got more and more longer with more description as you would narrow down your search for more exactly what you were looking for. This process would usually take 3-5 tries by the typical SE user who would search for a car for sale, then a blue one, and by the 3rd or 4th try he was typing into the search bar, the exact make model and year he was looking for to get the SERPs he was hoping for.

    Those keywords a typical user back then would still be very computer jargon-ish though and look a lot like “blue 1963 stingray corvette for sale” and now people will talk to their computers as if they’re human as they type in “Dude! Where can I find a 1963 stingray corvette for sale that’s cheap and not to far for me to drive?” and google will reply with “Dude! Right here!”

    I am being goofy of course, but you get the general idea. It’s not literally in that mannerism, but very close to what’s going on nowadays. You have some long tail KW’s that are almost more human in conversations with your buddy then you did 10 years ago when people typed KW’s into their SE like they were speaking to a robot operating on DOS. This presents a fantastic opportunity to cash in on very laser targeted KW’s that are drilled down into your niche and sell like crazy to your starving crowd, because you’re giving them exactly what they want, and exactly what they asked for!

  2. Ben, there are a lot of really great points here. As I write blogs, I think about those things too. I think about how can I make this blog post I’m about to write ‘findable’ for those searching without having to worry about the bigger boys that rank for the short(er) obvious keywords. I’m glad I read this post.

  3. I agree with the basic premise but even this strategy would not really last. Because demand and supply always do end up getting matched. Then the question is how much hay we can make while the sun is still shining. The problem with the Net is that it allows leverage. Some guy with some super script can start churning out thousands of niche blog posts a day. This is very much feasible and is already becoming a pain for search engines. If search engines get smarter, so would these scripts.

    There are two ways to solve such a problem. Bandwidth and Management. By bandwidth, I mean interaction bandwidth. When we go to a brick and mortar job, we are providing cent percent bandwidth to our employer. This is of course the deleveraged way of cracking the problem. The better solution is Management where we handle the transaction end to end.

    The latter solution is elegant but requires a major rewrite of the basic tenets of business. Till date business has been an activity characterized by short but intense interactions. In future, or whenever we do really want to fully integrate the Net into Business, we would need to have end to end interactions.

  4. Blogging, to generate content and backlinks is one great way to get noticed by the search engines. There are many other strategies to get your site on the front page of the search engines. One of my favorite tactics is to create a spiderweb of social network profiles linking back to a targeted site.

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