SEO

Why Should Long Tail Keywords Be Targeted First?

Plan – Prioritize – Progress

Keywords are the foundation on which the whole structure of SEO is based on. The user searches in the keywords and the search engines execute their search algorithms on the basis of these keywords. Hence, the selection of keywords and keyword research is what the SEO journey starts with.

The main objective of ranking high on organic search and thereby getting targeted traffic can be achieved much faster by targeting the Long Tail Keywords. Long Tail Keywords are phrases with more than three or four words specifying the product or service that you offer. Any well planned SEO campaign first focuses attention on long tail keywords which are more specific rather than generic keywords or head terms.

(Note from the Editor: Also, go though this discussion on whether Long Tail is SEO by Alan Bleiweiss)

For Example:

If the website in question is about Edible oil then see the no. of results Google displays for various key phrases as follows:

Search Query – [Edible oil]:

long tail 01 Why Should Long Tail Keywords Be Targeted First?

Search Query – [Edible oil refining]:

long tail 02 Why Should Long Tail Keywords Be Targeted First?

Search Query – [Edible oil refining company]:

long tail 03 Why Should Long Tail Keywords Be Targeted First?

As you can see that the number of results being displayed get reduced if you have a longer phrase – which (usually) means the competitiveness decreases and the potential of ranking increases if you are targeting for a longer keyword.

If you focus only on generic keywords or head terms, the rankings will take more time and in the meanwhile you lose out on the targeted traffic, which the site may have got as a result of ranking for long tail keywords. On the other hand if the long tail keywords are targeted in due course, the site starts ranking for the head terms and the site shows an increase in targeted traffic over a period of time indicating progress.

Research on search behavior has proved that the searchers are becoming more specific in their queries and keying in long tail keywords more as this saves their time. Google Instant has also given an impetus to the long tail searches as the long tail keyword suggestions offered by Google as the searcher types the query is easy to select and search for.

Hence, setting the priority for long tail over head terms is surely more sensible as this will show an increasing and a progressive trend in the traffic in your analytic reports and help you to get visibility on search much earlier.

If the client wants to target the local market then the long tail keywords having a local intent reduce the competition much further and increases the chances of the website to rank high in the SERPs as soon the site gets indexed.

long tail 04 Why Should Long Tail Keywords Be Targeted First?

But, the main challenge in selecting the long tail phrases is to work out the right combination of words which will bring the targeted traffic right from the early stage of the SEO campaign keeping in mind the content of the site.

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Bharati Ahuja

+Bharati Ahuja is founder WebPro Technologies India, SEO Trainer and Speaker, Web Entrepreneur, Blog Writer, Internet Marketing Consultant. Follow her on twitter @webprotech
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9 thoughts on “Why Should Long Tail Keywords Be Targeted First?

  1. The trick with keyword research is to find that sweet spot between broad and niche keywords. Too broad and there is too much competition, but if you go after keywords that are too long tail, you run the risk of no one actually searching for them. There has to be a good balance between the two to best optimize a site.

    1. True. To achieve the right balance and to plan the right keyword list is the real challenge. But if we only focus on the head terms at the very initial stage of the SEO campaign (especially for a website which has no footprints on the web) then the targeted traffic that can be achieved from the planned and prioritized long tail keywords will be lost at the initial stages.

      As the rankings of head terms will take time and in the mean time the website can get this traffic and many times the traffic from the long tail keywords has high conversion ratios. But yes planning and prioritizing is the only way as the progress in case of any genuine SEO results takes time.

  2. Long tail keywords should be implemented in most site as part of on page optimising, but they should be optimised well, and choose the right keywords related to the page in the tail, this will boost your rankings

  3. Nice post Bharati.

    This works which for sites that have hardly have any web presence… its true that long tail kws have good conversions – but proper research has to done on these kws of their Search Volume in the country they are being targeted.

    I have seen many sites where they optimize the sites for long tail kws and completely forget about it. The rankings have to be regularly monitored and as and when the inner/landing pages start ranking well (after receiving some link juice or authority), that is when more specific keywords should be targeted on these pages.

    1. True. As any SEO campaign will take time to start giving you results for the head terms.

      Hence having a plan for every stage is important –

      The initial stage where the site does not have any web presence – The long tail get you the targeted traffic.

      The intermediate stage is to be set for creating the quality web presence and focus on getting natural and quality inbound links. As you said when the inner pages start getting ranked for certain head terms , start focusing on getting more inbound links via social media, blogging, etc. so that the site starts getting ranked for more head terms.

      The plan and the focus needs to be updated every 2-3 months.

      That is why an SEO contract is atleast a one year contract. Atleast we prefer that. We do not believe in any per month SEO plan as that does not serve any purpose.

  4. Actually bharti its totally depends upon our client. As we know seo, we understand the importance of long tail keywords but they don’t understand this.