The Hadouken Approach to Long Tail Content Marketing

Like most kids growing up in the 80s and 90s, I loved Nintendo. One of the most popular games we used to play was Street Fighter. Street Fighter was a fighting game between two players who punched, kicked, and did special moves to defeat their opponents in combat.

I had a consistent strategy that drove my friends and cousins crazy.

Two characters in the game had a special move called the Hadouken. This move created a blue fireball that shot out of the hands of the character.

Hadouken Content Marketing

My strategy: Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, until it hit the other player.

People hated it. It was boring…but it worked.

The Hadouken Approach to Creating Content

When I finally began to grasp the power of SEO, I recognized the value in finding what works and repeating it again, and again, and again until I ranked highly for certain keywords.

Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken…ouch!

Once you find a keyword that brings in a lot of traffic through keyword research and web analytics, think of additional phrases with similar stems that will bring traffic as well.

My main website is in the religious education niche and attracts homeschooling families as well. I found that there were a few base keyword stems that could be used again and again with other combinations of words.

Example Keyword Stems:

  •  ________ activities
  • ________ lesson plan
  • ________ prayer
  • ________ resources
  • ________ ideas
  • ________ strategies

I did some keyword research and found the most popular combinations of keyword phrases with these words as the stem. Now I’m working from a list of these combinations to develop unique and valuable content that my audience will enjoy and that additional people will find through search queries.

Long Tail Content Marketing

Essentially I am talking about long tail content marketing. Long tail content marketing includes taking a keyword or phrase in the “fat head” of search volume and focusing on the “chunky middle” or the “long tail” keyword phrases that branch off of it.

The classic long tail keyword graph from SEOmoz:

SEOmoz Long Tail Keywords Chart

The vast majority of searches are in the long tail. In fact, Google estimates that around 20% of all search phrases done in a given 90 day period have never been searched before! This means that there are keyword stems that have various combinations but relate to the same topic.

The long tail should always be the focus of niche marketing especially when you are just starting out. You want to narrow your focus on the exact people who will be looking for your content, community, products, and services.

Find a popular keyword stem (resources, recipes, ideas, strategies, tactics, tools, deals, software, programs, etc.) and add additional words that related directly to your niche and unique approach. Use this strategy consistently to achieve results.

Long Tail Content Marketing Case Studies

Like the people below, I don’t really think of Street Fighter when I create content. But I have found a lot of success taking a stem keyword and expanding upon it to attract traffic and increase conversions from the long tail.

Probably the best example of this strategy is in the cooking niche. The word “recipe” has a nearly infinite number of variations that could be used in the hadouken approach by focusing on recipe types with a high number of searches (pasta recipes, chicken recipes, etc.)

Long Tail Content Marketing Example

Simply Recipes (simplyrecipes.com)

Elise Bauer over at Simply Recipes is crushing it. Capitalizing on the popular search phrase “simple recipes” (22,200 exact searches per month), Elise has done a great job of dominating the search rankings for many types of recipes.

You’ll notice the long list of recipe types in the left sidebar. Elise posts excellent recipes regularly and categorizes them by various recipe types. She has opened up these category pages to be crawled and index thus increasing their chances to rank highly in search.

She does a good job with the “Recipe Index” section, which links to the various recipes.

The simplicity of the blog is excellent and she has clearly gotten creative with the AdSense monetization of the site.

Gluten Free Cooking School

Mary Frances of Gluten Free Cooking School offers another example of long tail content marketing (the hadouken approach). A growing number of people are being diagnosed with a gluten allergy, thus opening up a great need for gluten free foods and recipes.

The keyword phrase “gluten free recipes” alone pulls in 60,500 exact global searches per month alone.

Her keyword stem may seem obvious (gluten free), but she uses many categories as variations:

  • gluten free flour mix
  • gluten free pizza crust
  • gluten free diet
  • gluten free menus
  • gluten free recipes

With nearly 30,000 subscribers at the time of this writing, Mary Frances is doing quite well for herself. She has set up a nice affiliate program for her eBook and they have developed some eCourses for their audience as well.

Long Tail Content Marketing Bonus Tip

Turn your category pages into resource pages focused on content and conversion.

Most people rely on their blog categories or topics to sort by these keyword stems. I like to use the keywords as categories when first starting out, then once content is built up enough, create a resource page with the various posts and pages manually linked and designed as link-worthy content. This allows you to control the content that is showcased on these pages rather than a list of the most recent posts under that category or tag. You’ll find your search engine traffic increase and your conversion rate jump.

Copyblogger does it.

Pay Flynn at Smart Passive Income does it.

Derek Halpern can’t stop telling people about it.

I did it and saw a jump in both traffic and conversions. One particular resource page is getting a 7.84% conversion rate to my eNewsletter compared to a 1.48% site average.

Passive Income and the Hedgehog Concept

One of my favorite business books of all time is Good to Great by Jim Collins. One of the most common themes in the great businesses Collins studied is summarized in what he termed the “Hedgehog Concept.”

The Hedgehog Concept

The Hedgehog Concept is the intersection between three essential questions that you must answer with your blog or business:
1. What can you be best in the world at?
2. What are you passionate about?
3. What drives your economic engine?

If you are able to clearly articulate an answer to these three questions and take action to follow them with all that you do, you will see long-term results.

The first two are written about often in passive income spheres.

What am I passionate about?

Jonathan and Bob (Christian Personal Finance) started a blog called Blogging Your Passion, which focuses on this very topic.

James Clear over at Passive Panda has a nice article titled, “How to find your passion (the secret you need to hear)“…you gotta love that headline.

And, of course, the king of passive income, Pat Flynn, writes about the concept often: “3 Questions You Should Ask Yourself to Find that Passionate and Profitable Idea.”

What can I be best in the world at?

In the blogosphere it is tough to think of other websites as “competitors.” The key question in my mind is “what is your unique selling proposition?” Seth Godin called this the Purple Cow.

Corbett Barr’s articles on USP from thinktraffic.net are the best around right now. Read and apply his “Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Unique Selling Proposition” to your website or idea. If you cannot see a significant characteristic that sets you apart from all the other websites in your niche, then think twice before moving forward. You may not have a Hedgehog Concept.

Finding your passion and recognizing your skills and potential compared to the competition are essential when you are trying to find a niche for your website. But how does the economic engine apply to blogs (and more importantly passive income)?

What drives my economic engine?

(and how do I make sure this driver reflects passive income?)

Fill in the blank: The key measurement of my monetary success is: profit per __________.

For businesses, here are some examples of economic engine drivers:

  • profit per customer
  • profit per product/service
  • profit per employee

For bloggers, economic drivers include:

  • profit per unique visitor
  • profit per subscriber
  • profit per customer
  • profit per post (or podcast episode, video, email, etc.)
  • profit per product/service

Passive Income and the Hedgehog Concept

Passive income is raging in popularity among bloggers in every niche. Why? Blogging takes time and people are looking for the best way to put in the smallest amount of work with the biggest amount of results.

The idea is that you can create content, products, and systems online that will generate income while you sleep.

How does this figure in to the Hedgehog Concept?

In general, this is my experience of time/action:

  •  1-5 minutes: respond to a tweet, G+ comment, comment on Facebook
  • 10-15 minutes: answer an email
  • 1-2 hours: blog post
  • 1-2 hours: newsletter email
  • 1-2 hours: create and optimize a landing page
  • 30-40 hours: create a free opt-in product (ebook, ecourse)
  • 30-40 hours: create a paid product

Mileage may vary, but the concept is key: do the work that takes the least amount of time for the biggest result.

In other words: profit per hour.

It sounds like a job doesn’t it? If I get paid a salary at work, why would I spend my time focusing what I am getting paid per hour?

With passive income, we increase our profit per hour through the work that we do. We can control the amount of time we spend and we can do amazing work that results in higher income. It is very different from a job.

The key, though, is that you control the amount of money you make per hour of work based on your ability to do work that produces the greatest amount of profit.

Passive Income Case Study

I love Benny Hsu’s story. He was recently featured on Smart Passive Income for his enormous success with the Photo 365 iPhone App (which I love).

Benny has a blog in the personal development niche–a niche that many bloggers struggle to monetize. Inspired by Pat Flynn, Benny stopped doing all of the typical “make money online” strategies like niche sites and PPC campaigns and focused on something unique.

I love his realization: “When I didn’t see money coming in, or lots of traffic, I thought to myself, ‘See I knew I couldn’t do it. This was a waste of my time.’”

You can read Benny’s full reflection here: My $4,739 Weekend and 11 Lessons To Help You

I’m not sure if Benny measures his economic success as profit per hour, but if he compared the number of hours he spent trying to make money online the typical way, it would pale in comparison to the creation of his app.

Go find what you love, identify how you can be the best in the world, and develop passive income by producing the highest amount of profit per hour of work.

Google Analytics Hides Keyword Data of Logged-In Users (and Every Niche is Affected)

Like most data junkies, I’m as angry as anyone for Google’s recent decision to hide keyword data in Google Analytics for users who are logged-in to their Google accounts. Basically, all searches by logged-in users will be in https://www.google.com rather than http://www.google.com as a secure way to search the web. Instead of reporting the keywords that these users typed to find your website, you will see (not provided).

So someone searching for “analyze niche” last week would appear as so:

Google Blocks Keyword Data

While a Google user searching for “analyze niche” this week would appear as so in Google Analytics:

Google Analytics Blocks Keyword Data

At first I thought this would only have a significant impact on websites in the tech niche or blogging niches, but I’m already seeing an impact on sites that typically have low-tech visitors.

Here is a screenshot of the (not provided) visits in the first week of the change:

Google Analytics Not Provided Keyword Results

To be completely honest I didn’t expect to see any impact yet, but even in a non-techie niche I’m seeing an impact. Granted it is less than 1% of all keyword traffic for the week, but if the number continues to grow I will get concerned.

If you are like me, you are signed-in to Google virtually all day long. And with Google+ and Gmail growing in popularity, this could really be a significant change for everyone. This is going to have a significant impact on blogs in every niche.

Find Out More Information 

Avinash Kaushik is the web analytics guru at Google and has already posted a tip on how to measure the impact of this decision. He promises to continue to guide users in the future on this topic.

Rand Fishkin posted an emergency Whiteboard Friday session over the weekend that should help as well.

Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land has some thoughts as well.

What Now?

Start tracking your (not provided) keyword results and see how much the data is impacting your ability to analyze the data. If you are seeing a significant impact, then look at the data from Bing and Yahoo search results. The keyword break-down of those search engines could really help put the Google data into perspective. If you see some keywords missing in Google, you might want to see how you are performing in the other engines and check your SERP rank.