Whether you’re brand new to search engine optimisation or you’re on your way to becoming a pro, long-tail keywords are the best choice for driving targeted traffic to your website that brings you valuable leads and positively affects your brand.
While shorter keywords can also help you rank in search, long-tail keywords tend to be more specific, which helps drive a more relevant audience base.
We’ve put together a few important words about long-tail keywords, so you can become an expert in no time. We’ll explain the benefits of using them, plus share a step-by-step how-to guide to help you get started.
What are Long-Tail Keywords?
Long-tail keywords are search queries with a smaller search volume compared to shorter keywords. These types of keywords are more specific, so they help drive more valuable leads to your website.
Let’s say your company sells boots. You could opt for a shorter keyword and try to rank for “boots,” which has a search volume of 246,000 and a keyword difficulty of 90. The problem here is the competition. Because this keyword isn’t very specific, you’re stacking up against retail companies from all over the world. That’s why the keyword difficulty is so high ― which means this keyword is extremely difficult to rank for.
Instead, you could use a long-tail keyword to narrow down the competition and drive more targeted traffic to your site. For example, you might add the color and style and opt for something like “chocolate brown Chelsea boots.” The search volume here is 50, and the keyword difficulty is only 28. This means you have a much better chance of ranking for this keyword and appearing on the first page of a search engine. It also means you’ll get more valuable leads. People who are searching for “chocolate brown Chelsea boots” are pretty clear on what they’re looking for, and they’re most likely ready to buy.
Benefits of Using Long-Tail Keywords
We’ve already mentioned that long-tail keywords increase website traffic, but let’s dig a little bit deeper.
Most long-tail keywords are very specific, which means that users who are just exploring their options won’t typically search for them. They’ll opt for short-tail words that give them plenty of options and ideas.
Once users reach the final stages of the buying cycle, they’re more likely to use long-tail keywords to find the product they want and make a purchase.
Long-tail keywords should be tailored to fit the gender, age, location, and interests of your target audience. The more you embed certain phrases and terms into your marketing strategy, they become helpful hints that point to you. Your brand will eventually become more associated with those terms.
For example, someone who types “winter boots” in a search bar is probably just starting their search. They’re not sure exactly what kind of boots they want, what brand, how much they want to pay, etc. However, someone who types “women’s black waterproof winter boots” knows what they’re looking for, and they likely intend to make a purchase once they find it.
This is how long-tail keywords help narrow down your audience and increase conversion rates.
How to Use Long-Tail Keywords
Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to using long-tail keywords:
1. Identify your target audience
The first step is to identify your target audience.
A target audience is a group of people most likely to become your customers. The more details you have on your target audience, the better. Knowing their gender, age, location, interests, and other info will help you market your products or services more effectively.
To find out who your target audience is, conduct market research and use Google Analytics to find out who is purchasing or searching for products or services that are similar to yours. Next, create buyer personas to represent each group.
This step is important because different audiences search for and consume content differently.
2. Find the right long-tail keywords
Once you’ve determined your target audience, you need to find the right long-tail keywords for your pages. While we call them long-tail keywords, the length isn’t necessarily what’s most important. What matters is the search volume and keyword difficulty. Here’s what you can do:
See the ‘Related Searches’ or ‘People also ask’ sections.
When you search for something on the internet, Google will provide you with related searches. They came up with this to help users find what they’re looking for more easily, but you can also use them to find some good long-tail keywords.
The ‘Related Searches’ section typically offers more specific phrases and less popular search options. Use these terms for inspiration and check them in a keyword research tool to examine the search volume and difficulty.
Use keyword research tools.
Start with a short-tail keyword and add a qualifier. For instance, the keyword ‘coffee machine’ could become ‘best coffee machine US’. Then, all you need to do is type in the search engine of the tool, and voilà! You’ll not only get information on the keywords you’ve searched for but also similar keywords you may be able to use instead.
SEMrush, for instance, also provides questions that fit the meaning of your keyword, like ‘what is the best coffee machine in the US?’
Many of these tools are completely free with available upgrade options. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Google Keyword Planner
Another great tip is to use these tools to check out which keywords your competitors are using. If you’re using SEMrush, for instance, enter the name of the site in the search bar and go to the “Domain Overview” page and then click “Organic Research.” You’ll then be able to see which keywords your competitors use and take advantage of it.
You may choose to try to rank for some of the same keywords, or you might further customise the keywords in an attempt to outrank your competitor.
Look into your internal site search history.
If your website has an internal search, you can investigate your search history and find out what users are searching for while they browse your website. Not all queries will be useful, but you’ll be surprised at how many of those will be specific phrases you can use as keywords.
You may notice different users looking for the same information or an answer to their questions. If that’s the case, you can dedicate an entire page to answering frequently asked questions, or rework some of your content to answer common questions.
For example, if you run an eCommerce shop and a high number of people are searching for “women’s sequin tops,” you might consider creating a dedicated page or section where you compile all of the tops that apply to that category.
3. Generate new content
The next step? Implement your keywords! Google just loves new content that’s up to date and there’s nothing better than quality content to showcase your credibility and gain new customers.
Of course, long-tail keywords alone don’t guarantee a better conversion rate. The content you’re creating has to be informative and useful to your audience.
Keyword optimisation will depend on your industry and offering. For example, if you run an eCommerce shop, you’ll want to include long-tail keywords in your product descriptions. If you own a restaurant, you’ll want to include them throughout your pages to attract people in the local area.
For blogs and other long-from content, here are a few tips on using long-tail keywords:
The title is an important part of the content because that’s what the users first see on the SERP. If you choose a boring or misleading title, users will bounce immediately and avoid returning. Since long-tail keywords address specific pain points, use them in titles when possible.
Along with H1s, H2s and H3s are also relevant. They tell Google what your page is about. To avoid keyword stuffing, you can use a technique called latent semantic indexing (LSI). This way you can include words that are related to your long-tail keywords, without shoving them all over your page and being penalised for it.
The introduction is the first thing users see after the title. The intro is make or break for your content. A valuable intro will let readers know what the rest of the content is going to be about, provide them with interesting facts and address their pain points.
Include valuable long-tail keywords within your intro, and make sure your primary keyword can be found within the first 100 words of text.
Your conclusion should bring the piece of content full circle by making a nod to the intro and summarising the key points that were covered. Of course, in order to do this properly, you’ll need to include your long-tail keyword to wrap up.
Google and other search engines are focused on providing users with the best possible content they’re looking for. Long-tail keywords are a great way to do this by driving a more target audience group who is more likely to convert. While short-tail keywords are typically highly competitive, long-tail keywords can help push you to the top on the SERP – and that’s right where you want to be.