Are you striking gold with your long-tail keyword strategy – or striking out?
Hunting for long-tail keywords with low search volume might seem like a waste of time and effort.
Why not focus your efforts on ranking for really popular keywords with high search volume?
Well, everyone else is trying to rank for those really popular keywords, too!
Here’s the truth:
If you don’t have a long-tail SEO strategy, you’re missing out.
It’s never been easier to research long-tail keyword opportunities, target low-competition keywords with high conversion rates, and use long-tail keywords to boost your content.
This guide will show you how to do exactly that.
What Are Long-Tail Keywords?
Long-tail keywords are highly targeted search phrases that specifically serve searcher intent. These keywords have low search volume, low competition, and typically have high conversion rates.
We call these keywords “long-tail” because if you were to plot your keywords by their search volumes, these would be on the “long tail” end of the search demand curve, which means few people are searching for these terms each month.
However, despite the lack of search volume, long-tail keywords are often easier to rank for and result in higher conversions than seed keywords. This is because long-tail keywords communicate a clear customer need that you can solve — they’re intent driven.
When you understand search intent, you can create content that specifically addresses queries and converts.
For example, a user searching for “days of play gold PS4 price” indicates a clear intent to purchase. Comparatively, a search for “PS4” is a lot less clear; the user might be looking for more information about the video game console, searching for recent news from Sony, or seeking out a list of games.
Note that the actual length of these keywords technically doesn’t matter. Long-tail keywords tend to be at least three words long due to their specificity, but highly specific low-volume searches that are only one or two words long are also considered long-tail keywords, such as many brand names.
Why Long-tail Keywords Are Important in SEO
Let’s do a social experiment: log into your Google Search Console account right now and scroll through the search terms. What do you see? I’m willing to bet that most of the terms you rank for are long-tail.
As a matter of fact, up to 70 percent of all search traffic stems from long-tail keywords — and many that you rank for will be specific to your business.
Now imagine what you could do if all those highly-targeted queries funneled new leads directly to your high-converting assets.
There are three main benefits to targeting these highly specific keywords:
1. Less Competition
Long-tail keywords are specific to your business and your niche, and as a result search volume is low.
The upside of this is that it doesn’t take nearly as much effort to rank well for your targeted long-tail keywords.
2. Higher Conversions
A little long-tail keyword sleuthing will help you discover search intent.
With search intent, you’ll be able to identify queries that indicate buyer’s intent (e.g. “buy Canada 150 collector’s coins”) and a need for additional information (e.g. “how to target long-tail keywords”).
You can use this knowledge to usher highly qualified leads into your sales funnel and to complement your content marketing efforts.
3. It Helps You Optimize for Semantic Search
Long-tail keywords are an integral part of optimizing for semantic search.
We live in an age where 55 percent of millennials use voice search daily and talking to bots is commonplace. When these users query these platforms, they use long-tail keyword phrases such as questions (e.g. “what are the best sushi restaurants nearby?”) and commands with clear intent (e.g. “compare the price of the dresses from Blush and Sherri Hill”).
Try to predict the intent behind naturally spoken questions, so that you can provide answers about your business and services, and better target these long-tail keyword phrases.
Remember, if you target high-converting long-tail keywords even when search density is low, these keywords can still be incredibly valuable for your business.
How to Find Long-Tail Keywords
Ranking for the right long-tail keywords might be better than gold.
Discovering new long-tail keywords is easy, and you can create a substantial list in minutes.
First, grab the long-tail keywords that you know you rank for: open your Search Console, click Search Traffic > Search Analytics and then select Clicks, Impressions, and Position (we’re not worrying about CTR for this step). Scroll to the bottom and click Download to receive the entire list.
Now download the same information for your PPC campaigns, Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube videos, Instagram, and any other metrics you can think of that might reveal new terms. Now plug all these terms into a spreadsheet, so that you have all of your potential long-tails in one place.
Next, try to discover new long-tail keywords in your niche that you could rank for. Here’s how to create a list of potential long-tails manually:
- Prepare a list of seed keywords. Use a keyword planning tool to generate a list of seed keywords, but try to stay away from Google AdWords. While this free tool is great for generating a list of commercial terms to target, it intentionally steers away from long-tail terms with lower search volume, making it not very useful for our purposes.
- Write down Google’s autocomplete suggestions. Type each seed keyword into Google and write down its autocomplete suggestions.
- Write down Google’s related search suggestions. Scroll to the bottom of each SERP and write down the related searches.
- Rinse and repeat for Bing Search Suggestions and any other search engines you want to optimize for.
- Add these potential long-tails to your spreadsheet. Group all your terms together and get ready to start pruning your list.
The thought of manually finding and entering all of these potential keywords sounds painful, right? But today’s software makes this entire research step easy! The best programs will even sort through multiple search engines for you, and they may discover long-tails you overlooked.
Once again, don’t use Google AdWords. There are many other programs that intuitively discover and sort through long-tail keywords on your behalf.
Now that you have a comprehensive list of all of your potential keywords, it’s time to begin pruning your list. Weed out any terms that don’t clearly communicate user intent. For example, in the “long-tail keywords related search results” listed above, the query “short tail keywords” isn’t specific enough.
When you’ve trimmed your list down to the strongest candidates (anywhere from half a dozen to a few hundred long-tails), you’ll be ready to start optimizing your pages and adding them to your content.
How to Build Content Around Long-Tail Keywords
Now that you have a list of long-tails that you can optimize for, what do you do with that information? The answer depends on how many long-tails you’re targeting and how closely their topics intersect.
Conventional wisdom dictates that you need to create a dedicated page per long-tail. If you can, great! But this isn’t always feasible.
When you have literally hundreds of long-tails to target, you need content other than dedicated landing pages that you can optimize for your long-tails.
Break down your list of potential long-tail keywords into an easy to understand list organized by searcher intent.
For example, if you wanted to target keywords about “noise cancelling headphones,” your list might look like this:
|noise cancelling headphones walmart|
noise cancelling headphones amazon
|find places to buy noise cancelling headphones|
|buy noise cancelling headphones on sale|
where to buy cheap noise cancelling headphones
|find cheap noise cancelling headphones|
|noise cancelling headphones for sleep|
best noise cancelling headphones for kids
|purpose of noise cancelling headphones|
What you’re doing is organizing your keywords by topic, which will allow you to find natural places for them to live. If this content already exists on your site, you might be able to naturally insert these long-tails into your copy. If not, you now have ideas for what your next pieces of content should focus on.
Of course, whenever you publish new content don’t forget about internal links. These are some of the best places for you to naturally include some of the long-tails you so thoroughly researched.
Now that you know how to discover long-tail keywords and use them to your advantage. But remember: your long-tail targeting is only as strong as your content.
If you aren’t recognized as an authority in your niche, it’s time to start creating high-value assets, blogging about your industry, and rewriting your web copy to communicate your unique value proposition (UVP) to your customers.
While you’re creating your content and optimizing your pages to include your new long-tails, don’t forget to measure your rankings and traffic. As you do so, you may discover even more keyword phrases you can target, and that will help you continue to build your reputation and improve your on-page SEO.
In-post screenshots are by the author. Taken June 2017.