4 Businesses That Dominate the Search Engines with Long Tail Traffic

By Spencer Haws |

Despite the so called “apocalypse” of Panda and Penguin, I still keep hearing of people dominating the search engines with long tail traffic.  But how is this possible in a world where Google penalized so many sites?  And somehow the traffic to many of my sites, including this blog continues to grow!  What’s going on here??  Are you telling me that normal people can still get free traffic from search engines?

Of course that’s what I’m saying.

Although I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had to adjust my own strategies in the post-Panda/Penguin world (higher quality and less automated linking), the truth is the matter that when done right, you can most definitely still get as much (and perhaps more) Google traffic as before.

Rather than just take my word for it, I want to share 4 specific business types AND specific examples of owners that are crushing it with search engine traffic right now, and how they do it.

Local Businesses

Every local business should have a website, and should be producing content to generate leads and more sales.  I personally don’t own a local business, so I can’t speak with authority on it.  But, I recently interviewed 2 business owners that use free search engine traffic to grow their business.

First is Marcus Sheridan, that took his local pool company from the brink of financial ruin to millions of dollars in sales – PRIMARILY THROUGH BLOGGING!  I think its an absolutely amazing story, and I highly recommend that you listen to the podcast interview I did with Marcus right here.

He now recommends that all local business owners start a blog and grow their business by: Producing lots of content based on what customers are asking you everyday.

He gave an awesome speech at an inbound marketing conference recently where he specifically teaches local companies how to increase sales through content production.  If you have the time, I highly recommend that you what this:


He’s now a major blogger in his own right and consults businesses of all kind on how to increase sales through content marketing.  Marcus is a strong advocate of keyword research and finding long tail keywords.  In fact, he found Long Tail Pro early in 2012, and now has this to say about it:

“Long Tail Pro is the best keyword research and blogging idea tool I’ve ever seen. This software has gotten me really, really excited and it’s a perfect tool for businesses serious about content marketing.” – Marcus Sheridan,

The second business owner I interview recently was my cousin Jon Haws.  He owns a landscaping company in Allen, TX.  He literally had no business at all (he was in nursing school), but decided to throw up a niche site targeting a landscaping phrase for Allen, TX.  He used the principles I teach on my blog here to find the best phrase to target with low competition.

Jon was able to rank the site quickly and started getting phones calls from customers to hire him before he even purchased any lawn equipment.  Its a very interesting story that you can listen to in our podcast interview right here.

Bloggers and Affiliates

If you have a blog, you should already understand this.  The single biggest way to grow your blog is to produce lots of content targeting specific keywords.  I wrote about how to target keywords and use them properly right here.

However, Fraser Cain, has been successfully implementing this for over 10 years.  With his site,, he makes well over $100,000 a year from Google Adsense.

How does he do it?  Well, its certainly not through link building.  Fraser very explicitly says that he DOES NOT link build.

His secret is keyword research, quality content, and post frequency.  If you listen to the podcast I did with Fraser a little while ago, he states:

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“I’m a keyword pack rat!” — Fraser Cain

In other words, there is not some secret link building formula or black magic.  Fraser has been successful through finding and targeting proper keywords, writing high quality content, and writing LOTS of it.

All bloggers and affiliates can do the exact same thing.  Trust me, I know it can take a while to build relationships and “hit it big”.  But the reality is that search engine traffic should probably still account for 50% or more of your total traffic (even if you hit it big).

So, if you focus on proper planning and true competition analysis, you can find great keywords that can start bringing in real traffic.

Niche eCommerce Stores

I have yet to open my own niche eCommerce store.  (Although I was approached by someone this week to be a partner in their eCommerce business).  For this reason, I defer to someone else with experience in this area.

I was actually just contacted by one of my blog readers, Nathan Hartnett.  He explained to me that he owns about 9 different Niche eCommerce stores.  When he first started his business he knew very little about picking a good niche.

However, through trial and error, he finally figured out that he could get SEO traffic to his stores if he was targeting the right keywords!  (Sound familiar?).   He literally took almost exactly what I was doing with Niche Adsense sites, and has built out a successful niche eCommerce business which still flourishes today.

In fact, he’s written a book called Retail Rebellion: How to Start Your Own Online Retail Empire.  Guess what one of the topics is he writes about?  Yep, keyword research and niche selection.

Niche Sites

The final business type that can dominate search engines with long tail traffic is Niche Sites.  As you all know, this is what allowed me to quit my own job.

Niche sites are all about finding low competition keywords and then building a site surrounding that keyword or set of keywords.  Despite some of the recent Google updates, there are still plenty of niche sites ranking.

Again, I have been able to do well with these from proper keyword research and competition analysis.

In fact, I’m seeing some real progress with a couple of newer sites I recently created. (And many of my old sites still earn well with Google Adsense).

Pat Flynn is still ranked number one for his Niche Site and brings in a nice search volume of traffic, primarily through long tail keywords.

And the Adsense Flippers, who got hit with the EMD update, recently put up some new sites for sale that are doing great!

Conclusion and Webinar Invite

I hope I’ve made clear that it doesn’t matter what type of business you have, you can and should be generating sales through search engines.  With proper planning and accurate competitor analysis, you can dominate the search engines no matter if you are a local business, blogger, eCommerce store owner, or niche site creator.

Webinar No Long Available

On the webinar, I will cover exact tactics I’ve used to uncover profitable keywords for niche sites and for my blog here.  In addition, I will be answering as many questions as possible…I look forward to seeing you there!

Overall, I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on the 4 examples of businesses that are dominating with long tail traffic, Long Tail Pro review here.  I look forward to the discussion.

Blogging & Niche Websites | 13 comments

By Spencer Haws

Spencer Haws is the founder of After getting a degree in Business Finance from BYU (2002) and an MBA from ASU (2007) he worked for 8 years in Business Banking and Finance at both Merril Lynch and Wells Fargo Bank.

While consulting with other small business owners as a business banker, Spencer finally had the desire to start his own business. He successfully built a portfolio of niche sites using SEO and online marketing that allowed him to quit his job in 2011. Since then he's been involved in dozens of online business ventures including: creating and exiting Long Tail Pro, running an Amazon FBA business for over 3 years and selling that business, founding, and co-founding You can learn more about Spencer here.

Want to learn step-by-step how I built my Niche Site Empire up to a full-time income?

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Great post Spencer! I’m currently building adsense authority sights and ranking pretty good! Are you still using click bomb defense?

Jon @ Authority Site Income

Using Long Tail Pro is great for generatIng a lot of post ideas that will be easy to rank for. Spending an hr a month per site using long tail pro can generate 15-20 keywords to go after.


Hi Have you compared your KW tool (or your new Platiunim version) with secocpit.


I have both, I only use secockpit. Secockpit is about 1000x faster then anything else.

I guess people use longtail because it’s a one time fee vs $97/month at secockpit. However, if you’re making money online secockpit is the best tool by 100 miles.

Spencer Haws

Yes, I’ve seen SEcockpit. Gabe, I promise its not 1000 times faster than LTP 🙂 . It may be a little faster, but not 1000 times 🙂 (Maybe I’ll do a timed test). I will make just 2 points: 1. SEcockpit operates in the cloud which can give it better speed, BUT because of this its keyword data is not as fresh or as complete sometimes. (So, you may not get the full 800 related results because SEcockpit only returns that’s in its database, and the search volume and cpc data is older).
2. SEcockpit does return some sort of overall competitiveness (which is good), but this is based on SEOmoz data primarily which is all available in Long Tail Pro (for a one time fee). The keyword competitiveness calculation in Long Tail Platinum is much more accurate to analyze keywords because it takes into account keyword relevancy – which SEcockpit does not. They base the analysis off of page authority, links, etc – but not relevancy of the keyword of the actual results in Google.

I’m sure its an awesome tool – but $97/mth is pricey…especially when you can get the same thing with Long Tail Pro (or other tools).


What I mean by fast is looking at a list of keywords and being able to tell which ones are going to be easier to rank for…the competition.

I thought longtail requires you to click on each keyword to view competition? To check 100 keywords would take 2 hours vs secockpit in a matter of seconds.

Sounds like they might be a good combination if longtail does a more accurate and thorough job at competition. Plus who wants to spend $97/month.


Great post Spencer. As a local business we have found countless keywords with a KC (on long tail pro) between the 12-18 range. Targeting these words rather than what would have been my initial inclination has launched out site to the top of google for many random searches.


Hey Spencer,

It’s interesting that you say about local businesses profiting, because my local business site (for my own business) has been the one that’s stood up the best to the recent algo changes.

It’s also the one to which I’ve done the LEAST link building.



I am new to niche website. Currently I only have 1 article done and posted on my niche website. I am just wondering if I can place adsense on the site or I have to wait a few more posts published. Thank you in advance!

Dori From NicheWolf

This is my personal Opinion : The fastest way to rank a site is by finding an easy to rank keyword. Building of Back-links is not the key.

The key is your ability to find keywords that have little to know competition . Building of back-links is just the icing on the cake.

Just my thought though



I see one page niche sites outrank much better sources and it bugs the living hell out of me! Especially after they nailed my EMd low qualities lol. It’s like they did some but not all. It’s a freaking head scratcher at times…

Enrique Craven

Great informative article for neophyte internet marketers. But for my opinion, one of the easiest ways to dominate your local niche is to research viable keywords related to your business and niche that can be easy to index and rank and mostly searched by many netizens. Anywhow, I’ve read a good article. simple ways to make an authority in your niche:

Enrique Craven

Great informative article for neophyte internet marketers. But for my opinion, one of the easiest ways to dominate your local niche is to research viable keywords related to your business and niche that can be easy to index and rank and mostly searched by many netizens. Anywhow, I’ve read a good article. simple ways to make an authority in your niche:

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