According to Yoast, focusing on Long-Tail Keywords is a very great SEO tactic. Having a working long-tail keyword strategy can greatly help you out when there’s a lot of competition in your market. Or rather, whenever there’s a lot of competition for the main keywords you want to rank for.
That being said, most companies or blogs can benefit from this strategy as it helps you attract visitors with very specific search intent. In this article, I’ll explain what long-tail keywords are in detail. As well as how an understanding of your mission and product can help you set up a long-tail keyword strategy.
With time, SERPs such as Google have introduced various updates over the past few years in terms of web search queries and results. Some of them are designed to better understand the concepts within the query and website. This has resulted in a shift in the importance of keyword usage.
Keywords are words or phrases that help search engines identify the topics that your content covers. Algorithms have sophisticated systems for analyzing the keywords that users employ in their queries. As well as the terms that are used throughout a given piece of content. Eventually, this helps them match the user with the content that will best answer them.
Understanding What Long-Tail Keywords Usually Entail
Suppose you want to drive more traffic to your website. In that case, it’s essential to have an intentional SEO strategy that considers who your buyers are and how they utilize search. One of the key things to establish in that strategy is the keywords you’ll aim to rank for.
Ultimately, while bringing your audience to your website. As of today, there’s growing competition around core keywords that every SEO practitioner wants to target. And as such, there’s a need to develop more creative solutions to stay on top of your game. So, what’s the solution? Well, that’s where Long-tail keywords come in handy.
Related: What Is Keywords Search? A Step-By-Step Beginners Guide
Long-Tail Keywords are keywords or key phrases that are more specific – but usually longer – than more commonly used Short-Tail Keywords. Notably, they are known to get less search traffic. But, when they do, they’ll usually have a higher conversion value, as they are more specific. They allow you to gradually get more traffic to your site and be found by new and motivated audiences.
Basically, a long-tail keyword doesn’t need to have a specific length, and it doesn’t need to include your head keyword. That being said, long-tail keywords often contain around 3 – 5 words, and in many cases, they do include the head keyword too. Let’s look at a few examples below in order to digest more about what we are really consuming.
|Nike||Nike Air Max One
Vintage Nike shoes
Nike sustainability policy
|Digital Marketing||How digital marketing works
Digital marketing user journey
B2B digital marketing services
|Wedding Supplies||Wedding flower arrangements
Matching wedding and bridesmaid dresses
Wedding stationery supplies
Since these keywords are more specific than generic terms, they allow you to target niche demographics. These keywords are also less competitive than generic keywords because they are designed to better reflect how people make queries.
Long-Tail Keywords Vs Short-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords have been used by experts offering SEO services for a while now, and it still works. If used correctly, it can be a compelling way to take advantage of high-intent search traffic. When it comes to search keywords, there are a wide variety of keyword types. These fall into two common categories: short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords.
Short-tail Keywords are prevalent searches that are general and yield a wide range of search results. They’re often just 1-2 words. A good example of a short-tail keyword is web design. This means that the web content writer would want to rank for these two terms in search engine results.
Long-tail Keywords are keyword phrases that are three or more words long and very specific as they focus on a niche. They are not searched as often but provide more targeted results. These are more specific search phrases that “have a long tail of “unpopular” searches.” In this case, “unpopular” refers to the fact that fewer people search for long-tail keywords.
A good example of a long-tail keyword is a web design agency in Kenya. With long-tail keywords, you are able to attract more high-quality traffic to your website which is more likely to lead to conversions. In other words, long-tail keywords are more specific and less common than other keywords. They focus more on a niche.
The term long-tail keyword comes from the book The Long Tail by Chris Anderson (see aside). In this book, Chris Anderson shows that there’s a market for virtually any product. And although this market is really, really small in some cases, the vastness of the internet makes your niche product or blog post profitable nonetheless.
Why You Should Focus On Long-Tail Keywords The Most
People using the terms of your mission and finding your website will be relatively small in volume, but these people do have the highest chances to buy your product or to become regular visitors. So making your website rank for a specific term can be quite profitable. But, make sure that this specific term closely resembles the product you’re selling to avoid disappointment.
It’s much easier to rank for long-tail keywords than for more common keywords because fewer websites compete for high rankings in the result pages of Google. The longer (and more specific) your search terms are, the easier it is to rank for the term. Because of the vastness of the internet, it is easier to find your audience for your particular niche.
Focusing on a group of long-tail keywords can result in a great deal of traffic altogether. During the customer journey, long-tail keywords become more important as their journey evolves. Typically, users begin with a simple search and as the search engines guide them to solving their pain point, their searches become more detailed.
Related: What Is Keyword Density? How to Use the Keywords Right
This is where long-tail keywords will become important to separate your brand from your competition. Another benefit of focusing on long-tail keywords is that, although these keywords are used less in search, the visitor that finds your website using them is more likely to buy your service or product.
When determining the types of keywords to optimize your content, it’s essential to factor in the pros and cons of each. As we mentioned above, short-tail keywords are broad searches. These generalized searches tend to have a higher search volume. It can be easier to incorporate on-page as we’re writing content.
At the same time, when there is a high level of competition for these keywords, it will be significantly harder to rank them. If you are bidding on them for a paid ad campaign, they tend to cost more. In such a case, that’s where long-tail keywords come into play. If you’re using Google Ads, it’s also noteworthy that it usually costs less to bid on long-tail keywords.
There are many other benefits of long-tail keywords that make them an essential part of any SEO strategy. Let’s consider some of them below.
1. They Have Lower Competition
Long-tail keywords are much easier to rank than short-tail keywords because of the relatively low competition. According to Search Engine Land, 70% of all web searches come from long-tail keywords. Suppose you’re not focusing on them in your strategy. In that case, you miss out on massive opportunities to drive quality traffic to your website.
2. They Have Better Conversion Rates
People who use long-tail keywords in search know more about what they want. Therefore, companies often see better conversion rates when using long-tail keywords. More so, as the content is more targeted to the website visitor’s needs. After all, the needs of your visitors are the search intent.
3. They Increase Your Content Visibility
Whenever someone searches for a long-tail keyword, Google personalizes the search results depending on their location, age, sex, interests, etc. That means two users entering the same search term may see different results. Long-tail keywords can help optimize your website for different categories of searchers because they’re more specific.
4. They Can Help Low-Authority Pages Rank Quickly
Google ranks web pages according to a few factors, including authority, quality, and relevance. A few giant industry players already dominate the rankings for high-competition keywords. Simply, because these pages tend to have higher authority in the form of backlinks. Targeting long-tail keywords that are more specific can create highly relevant content that answers these search terms better than other pages.
5. They Help You Rank For Short-Tail Keywords
More often than not, long-tail keywords already include the short keywords for which you want to rank. This combination makes it easier to reach both of your goals, boosting your ranking for those main keywords as well as your specific, targeted ones. Higher site rankings equal more organic traffic, so this is good news.
6. They Easily Optimize Your Blog Strategy
One of the easiest ways for your website to start ranking is to create fresh content. And the easiest way to do that is to keep a regular blog focused on the needs and expectations of your target audience. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about how to start, you don’t have to worry, as your long-tail keywords can guide you. They can give you insights into what your audience is searching for. And it creates valuable content to address some of their pain points while utilizing said terms.
7. Allows You to Personalize Your Content
Let’s talk more about long-tail keywords guiding the content you produce. Long-tail keywords comprise four or five words (sometimes even longer). Usually, they contain descriptive words like gender, nationality, or geographical location. You can use this to your advantage by creating different content that can support the various categories and services your company offers. It allows you to be more targeted with your content strategy and reap the benefits of contextual marketing.
8. You Can Get Them from Google Analytics
Keyword research for long-tail terms isn’t as complicated as you might think. Some of them may come straight from your web analytics service like Google Analytics. Combined with Google Search Console, you’ll be able to see the performance of your chosen long-tail keywords, such as search volume and conversion rates. This data allows you to choose the best ones for your SEO strategy.
9. They Provide Metrics for Future Trends
Long-tail keywords are more conversational, and that’s a crucial ingredient in your SEO strategy. They’re at the heart of Google’s latest search engine algorithm, as it aims to study Natural Language Processing (NLP) and the intent behind the search. Voice assistants, who read off answers from featured snippets, prioritize results that include long-tail keywords in them. Bottom line, adopting long-tail keywords is necessary for your blog or website’s future.
10. They Work Better for Voice Search
It’s also imperative to consider how people are engaging with search. According to Moz, 70% of online searches are long-tail keywords. People are searching as if they’re talking with or asking a question to the search bar, leading to more long-tail keyword searches. Factor in voice search with tools like Alexa, Siri, and Google Home, and the conversational component becomes even more compelling.
Searchers using voice search are the kind of people searching with long-tail keywords. They want a specific service, and they are precisely the kind of person you need and want to reach. Why? Obviously, when they find good content that answers their questions, high-intent users are more likely to convert. Targeting long-tail keywords is a crucial strategy for increasing your conversion rate.
Some Notable Downsides While Using Long-Tail Keywords
It’s safe to say that at jmexclusives, we’re big fans of long-tail keywords, but there is one disadvantage to consider. And, as I mentioned, it’s good to understand that long-tail keywords have low search volume. Fortunately, the low search volume of long-tail keywords is the only significant drawback of these search terms.
Of course, I am sure that you’re thinking beyond this, like what the hell! “You just said 70% of searches are long-tail keywords.” Yes, that’s very true. But, with the amount of long-tail keyword searches a person might conduct, there are fewer total searches of each specific phrase you might be targeting.
Keep Reading: How Keyword Stuffing Affects Site SEO | 5 Solutions to Use
Perse, there are many possible phrases to optimize for. However, it takes additional research to ensure your long-tail keyword strategy is effective. Meaning, if no one is searching for a particular term, there’s no point in targeting it because no one will find it. So, you need to make sure someone is searching for your content.
Likewise, you have to ensure you target keywords with a minimum monthly search volume. But, your mileage may vary depending on the nature of your company. I generally recommend at least 20-50 searches per month as a minimum. Ultimately, the benefits long term key phrases outweigh its disadvantage such as I elaborated above.
How To Find The Right Long-Focus Terms For A Website SEO Plan
First of all, if you want to sell something, you should simply have a good product. And you should be well aware of what your product or website can offer your audience. What makes your product or blog special?
If you know and understand this, it will be much easier to make your audience like and buy your stuff. Therefore, take some time to think about the uniqueness of your product or blog and write that down. So, why is your mission important? Perhaps you sell furniture.
Keep Reading: How to write a mission statement for your website
You offer unique pieces, made with recycled materials that have a low impact on the environment. Offering quality furniture that helps people reduce their own impact on the environment could be the uniqueness of your service.
This is your mission, your niche, this is what you have to offer your audience. Do make sure you write down your mission in words that are used and understood by your audience. That said, below are a few things that you should know and consider for your website SEO audit strategy.
1. Consider the competitiveness of the market
In some markets, it’s really hard to rank. Some markets are just highly competitive, with large companies dominating the search results. These companies have a very large budget to spend on marketing in general and SEO specifically. Ranking in these markets is hard.
You will be unable to compete on a small budget in a market like the furniture industry using search terms such as [quality furniture]. However, if you have your mission clear, you should be able to define what makes your product or website stand out from this market. You should be able to find your niche.
And then, you should use YOUR mission in order to start ranking! Taking my example of furniture made with recycled materials would mean that you should focus on the less competitive term [furniture recycled material]. Again, use words that your target audience uses (and avoid difficult terms).
2. Use your mission to define long-tail keywords
Your mission, in which you make crystal clear what the awesomeness of your product, site or blog is, should be central in choosing the long-tail keywords you want to rank for. The terms you used to describe your mission can be nicely used to focus on your SEO strategy.
These words should be central in the long-tail keywords you aim for your website to rank for. With your mission written down, you’ve already completed the first step of your keyword research. The next step is creating a list of keywords. Try to get into the heads of your audience.
Ask yourself; what will these people be looking for. What search terms will they use when it comes to your product or site? Thinking of your main topic and head keywords will probably be quite easy. But, finding your long-tail keywords may be a bit more challenging. An SEO plugin can greatly help you with that!
3. Use an SEO plugin in your content strategy
For instance, Yoast SEO offers you suggestions for keyphrases related to your focus keyword. This tool is designed to help you use related keyphrases to strengthen your text. But, it can also be used to help you find those long-tail keywords.
When you’re writing a post or page focused on one of the keywords you’ve already thought of, simply click the ‘Get related keyphrases’ button under your focus keyphrase field. You’ll get a list of suggested related key phrases. More so, that your audience uses, which can also be suitable for long-tail keywords. And now, let’s look at this illustration:
The example above shows key phrases related to the focus keyword [furniture recycled materials]. And as you can see, the tool suggests related and more specific key phrases.
In particular, those that are actually being used by people searching online. Additionally, it also shows you the search volume and search trend in the country of your choice. Quite a nifty tool right? Have a look at how the related keyphrase feature works! So that you can stay ahead always on your web content SEO strategy.
4. Make use of one head theme!
Most blogs have one main topic – this is called the head term, or main keyword. For example, mom blogs are usually about family life and food blogs are about eating, restaurants, or recipes. Whilst, another great example is the blog at Yoast – it’s all about SEO. They even named it SEO blog as can be seen.
Meaning, all their blog posts are about SEO or SEO-related topics. The main topic or theme of your blog or site is the number one keyword (or keyphrase) you want people to find you for. In the case of jmexclusives, that keyword is obviously SEO Webmasters.
All in all, someone with a food blog about homemade Italian food will probably want to be found on the search term [homemade Italian food]. Making that search term the number one keyphrase of their blog.
5. Consider lots of tail topics!
However, you can’t optimize all blog posts for the same term [homemade Italian food]. Even if all the blog posts you write are about homemade Italian food. Instead, you should write a whole number of blog posts about all kinds of long-tail variants of your main keyword.
In the example of the food blog, you could write about all kinds of delicious things: homemade Italian pasta, homemade Italian salads, and homemade Italian pie. Your blog posts could even be more long tail. You could write various blog-related articles.
Consider key terms such as; homemade Italian spaghetti bolognese, homemade Italian lasagna, homemade Italian spaghetti carbonara, and so on. You will find all of these long-tail keywords when you do proper keyword research.
And if you come up with a lot of very long focus keywords, you can use the keyphrase length check as well. Especially, by an SEO plugin such as the Yoast SEO plugin in order to see whether they’re too long.
6. Link from the tail to the head!
If you optimize your blog post for different long-tail variants, you should link from these blog posts to your more ‘head’ category pages. And from these category pages to your most awesome pages: your cornerstone content.
Always remember, it’s good to link from the tail to your head! That way, you show Google what your site structure looks like and which of your pages is most important. Make sure your most amazing pages rank high on Google! Read more about how to do this from this post on internal linking for SEO.
While researching the key terms;
- Build your buyer personas and map them to customer journeys.
- Use this information to help you identify topics that your personas will want to see at each stage of their journey.
- Leverage your own query research via search engines by typing a simple search into the search bar and see what keywords autofill into long-tail keywords. These keywords are what users are searching for and you should optimize for them. You can see to the right that we typed “best SEO” into Google. Long-tail keywords auto-filled to show us what users are most often looking for when it comes to “best SEO.”
- Use keyword technology, like the BrightEdge Data Cube, to identify the relevant keywords that you can best rank for that also have high traffic rates.
- Monitor your success with your keywords, by looking closely at your traffic and engagement rates. This will tell you how many people you are attracting and how well your content is answering the need of their queries.
Long-tail keywords are valuable tools for those looking to optimize their content and attract more relevant visitors. The better you are able to better understand your users, the better you will be able to meet their needs and bring in new customers for your organization.
Before semantic search, keywords were the primary means of communicating to search engines the topics you were covering. Generally, the more often you used the keyword the more relevant your content appeared. Unfortunately, this led to practices, such as Keyword Stuffing that were designed to trick the SERPs. As a result, this ended up hurting the user experience.
Also, as a result, over the course of the past few years, Google has introduced various updates. Specifically, designed to better understand the concepts within the query and website. Thus, this has resulted in a shift in the importance of keyword usage. However, this does not mean that keywords are obsolete.
Related: What Is Keyword Density? How to Use the Keywords Right
They are still used by search engines to discern the topics that are being covered. But, they are even looked at as a part of a larger picture. Instead of pulling out keywords, the search engines look at how various topics are related. More so, in order to better understand the content that your material covers and how it relates to various queries.
They are thus able to return more relevant and applicable search results for users. Whilst, enhancing the user experience. That’s it! All you needed to know about Long-Tail Keywords. What are your opinion thoughts on this? Well, feel free to share in our comments section below. But, if you’ll need more support, you can as well Contact Us and let us know.