When it comes to digital marketing, traffic is the new gold. Businesses are doing all they can to get organic and relevant traffic to their website. This is why most, if not all, SEO strategies rely on the right use of keywords to get maximum results. These keywords come in different forms – low-volume, low-competition, short keywords, and long-tail keywords.
In this article, we will be discussing all you need to know about long-tail words, what they are, why, where and how to find them, and how to apply them to get the desired results. So, without wasting time, let’s get to it!
Long Tail Keywords – Get Familiar
You will find tons of definitions describing long-tail keywords online. However, for this discussion, we will be adopting SEMRUSH’s description: “keywords that do not get searched as much as other, more popular terms; usually, because they are very specific.”
According to this definition, we can categorize keywords that are hardly considered by searchers, due to their unusual or specific nature. Unlike short-tail keywords with one or two words, the long-tail keywords comprise three words (at minimum). Long-tail keywords are usually formed by adding a couple of extra words to a seed keyword.
So, what is the role of these extra words that make up the long-tail keywords? The answer is simple – they are there to streamline the search query by making it more straightforward and less ambiguous. This means that a search query with a long-tail keyword is more likely to produce more streamlined results. As a searcher, you can find your answer as soon as possible.
Long-tail keywords are at the center of such serious attention because of their potency, as you will find in the next section.
Long-tail keywords are crucial to a successful SEO strategy – Here is why!
Perhaps, you wonder why digital marketers and SEO experts are literally obsessed with long-tail keywords? The reason is not farfetched – they are very popular, especially among the searchers. According to Ahrefs, about 92% of all keywords used in search queries are long-tail keywords, with 70% of the most organic traffic coming from this source.
But that is not all – there are a couple more reasons long-tail keywords are commanding such massive relevance. Some of these are listed below:
1. They deliver excellent results faster and with limited efforts.
Head keywords or single-word keywords are hard nuts to crack when it comes to ranking; it takes several years of dedicated work and efforts to get results. Conversely, a website, especially new webpages, can rank more quickly when it targets long-tail keywords over the general keywords.
For instance, a searcher that wants to get a replacement charger for their MacBook pro will prefer to search for a phrase like “the best charger for MacBook Pro 2019 (or other models)” or “MacBook Pro 2019 charger near me.”
This streamlined search, compared to head keyword searches like “laptop charger replacement,” will bring more accurate and specific results.
This means that a search that uses a long-tail keyword is more specific and seeks results that are invested with attention rather than generic outputs.
2. They attract organic traffic from the right audience.
When a business targets the top long-tail phrases in their niche or industry, they have the best chances of attracting the class of customers that are ready to take action. Targeting a long-tail keyword will drive your potential buyers to purchase a product, join your email list, or take a trip down to your physical store. If executed correctly, this can bring a significant improvement to your content marketing ROI.
3. Working with long-tail keywords is cost-effective.
Businesses with a limited marketing budget can ensure the highest conversion possible by targeting long-tail keywords. For instance, using long-tail keywords for Google Ad plans will provide the best return possible. Why? Unlike competitive keywords known for their expensive cost per click, long-tail keywords are more targeted and more affordable, considering their lower search volume.
These are the reasons behind the relevance of long-tail keywords. Moving forward, let us talk about where and how to find them.
Features of an excellent long-tail keyword
Three features make an excellent long-tail keyword – the search volume or popularity, the relevance, and the keyword difficulty.
The Search Volume of any keyword refers to the number of monthly searches involving such keywords. You can find the value when you use long-tail keyword tools. A long-tail keyword with a Search Volume (SV) of 250+ should be used independently, while less than 50 SV should be grouped together.
The relevance of a keyword means the strength of the connection between what you offer and the potential long-tail keyword. For instance, you have no business targeting a long-tail keyword that hardly connects you with the interest of a potential customer or searcher.
There are a couple of metrics in SEO, and keyword difficulty is one of them. It explains the level of work required to rank a particular keyword. The ranking scale is usually 0-100, with 100 being the most-difficult tail of the range.
Now, how do you get top long-tail keywords for your business or website?
Finding a good long-tail keyword – Research Methods
If you are expecting a universal or versatile research system for finding long-tail keywords, you may be slightly disappointed. Currently, there is no known system of long-tail keyword research that guarantees organic traffic and conversion. Instead, you should be prepared to do a couple of trials before you find what works.
Here are the proven research methods when it comes to long-tail keywords;
1. Google’s Autofill, Google’s People Also Ask, and Google’s Related Searches Features
These three Google features are simple but efficient. The first entails typing a search term into the Google search box and wait a few seconds for some long-tail keywords to appear under. This list comprises keywords that are the common niche topics people search for. These can be your foundation for more extensive keyword research. Alternatively, you can adopt them as your long-tail keywords. An alternative to this method is the keywordtool.io free tool, which helps to generate and autocomplete keywords for free.
Let’s talk about the Google Related Search feature. Go ahead and search for the search term on Google. Wait for the first page of the results to load. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the Google’s related searches. This list comprises long-tail keywords that are extra variations of a broader search term.
The last feature here is Google’s People Also Ask. This part of the search engine results page can be found after the second or third result on the first page. It is a list of questions related to the base term or search term you have entered. Interestingly, clicking one of these questions expands the box, leaving you with even more questions relating to your keyword.
2. Public Forums like Answer the Public and Quora
It is clear, by now, that long-tail keywords are mostly the question queries containing a broader base term. Therefore, it is logical to find such keywords in the questions related to the keywords or topics, asked by your targeted audience in top public forums on the internet.
Quora, Yahoo, and Answer the Public are two of the most popular questions and answer online forums. All you have to do is head to these platforms and type in your search term or base term in the search box. The results usually comprise tons of question variations, each with a unique variety of the long-tail keywords you are targeting. Alternatively, you can look through the list of topics and still arrive at popular questions relating to the search term.
Another benefit of this research method is the content ideas it offers. From the questions asked by users, you can pick out excellent content ideas and turn them into blog posts for your website.
3. Long-tail Keyword Research Tools
Technology is currently at its best – we now have several long-tail tools that can help with in-depth keyword research. Although these software work in slightly different ways, the intent is the same – suitable long-term keywords for a particular business or website. To use such long-tail keyword tools, you will need to know the base term that describes your site.
Your website’s base term is the term that best describes the service or product you are offering. For example, a business that provides SEO strategies for local companies will adopt a base term like “local SEO” or include the type of business they are serving, for instance, “small business SEO.” In some cases, you may combine two different base terms into a longer base term variation, for example, “local SEO for small businesses.”
Some of these keyword research tools include:
- Google Ads Keyword Planner
- SEMRush Keyword Magic Tool
- Alexa’s Keyword Difficulty Tool
- LSI Graph Keyword Generator
- Ahrefs Phrase Match
Whichever research method you decide to go with, it is vital to factor-in the user intent. This helps to determine if the long-tail keywords you have chosen are strongly connected to your buyer or target audience. Do not be in a hurry to target a long-tail keyword, even when they appear easy to rank for. The ideal long-tail keyword is one that offers content from which searchers can find their desired information.
Now that you know what long-tail keywords are, their importance, and where/how to find them, let’s take a look at their application.
Applying the ‘good’ long-tail keywords you have found
The journey to maximizing long-tail keywords for your website or business does not end with finding them. In fact, that is just half of the journey. The other half is mostly how you use these essential resources at your disposal to drive your SEO. To get you through this other half, we have highlighted some tips. Find them below:
1. Do not force the keywords.
As tempting as it may appear to use your keywords unnaturally, avoid it! Yes, you may find it challenging to use these long-tail keywords easily in a sentence. But if you are willing to put in the work and be creative, it is not impossible. Good knowledge of punctuation also helps sometimes.
2. Combine your long-tail keywords with their variants
While this is not compulsory, it brings excellent results if done correctly. Logically, creating a new blog post for each of these long-tail keywords does not sound right. It is a terrible mistake that will hurt your chances of ranking. Conversely, combining them into one blog post makes you a more reliable authority in the eyes of Google, in terms of the base term. Therefore, you have higher chances of making the cut when it releases the results of searches involving these keywords.
3. Use your long-tail keywords in specific places.
It is best to include these combinations in the title, headers, and sub-headers of the page. If possible, include them in the first paragraph, especially in the first sentence. It works wonders!
NB: Sometimes, your long-tail keywords will not fit in some of these places, especially the header. In this case, prioritize the natural flow and grammatical correctness of your content over an enforced use of keywords.
If you stick to these dos and don’ts while applying your long-tail keywords, you can rest assured of getting the desired results in no time.