If you’re skeptical about long tail keywords, imagine being a customer with a question. You approach your computer, pull up Google, and start typing in the nature of your inquiry: “video conference.”
This pulls up thousands of hits ranging from what video conferencing is to local providers of a video conferencing software. Realizing that you need to narrow your search, you rethink your inquiry and type, “differences between video and web conferencing.”
The corresponding results to the latter inquiry deliver significantly more relevant answers. If you’re trying to figure out the difference between the two conferencing tools, it probably means you already have an idea about what you need. You’re probably down to making a final decision between the two.
That is the premise of long tail keywords: greater relevancy for a targeted question. Your customers are getting online answers to the full questions or inquiries that they have.
- “Do I have a cold or the flu?”
- “I need to lose weight now.”
- “Foods that boost your immune system.”
- “What is the right temperature to bake cookies?”
- “Where’s the nearest sushi bar?”
- “Cheap manicure near me.”
- “What is cloud computing?”
Even more importantly, every update to the Google algorithm is taking it in a direction towards a more human frame of mind. Google is starting to listen, think and respond like a human with a goal to deliver more relevant answers.
Ideally, you want YOUR content to be part of that pool of relevant answers.
What is Long Tail SEO?
The nitty-gritty definition of long tail SEO: it’s a keyword that is usually more than two words. It answers the inquiries of a specific niche, and you can take advantage of its low competition. Here’s the disclaimer: with long tail SEO, you have to anticipate a significantly lower volume of searches.
However, the people who DO search for your long tail keyword have higher intent. This means that they are further down the sales funnel and more inclined towards action than a passive searcher. Long tail keywords provide a rare opportunity for search engine optimization marketers to place their content (and product or service) front and center for the customer who happens to be looking for “just that!”
5 Reasons Long Tail Keywords Help Your SEO
1) Better Conversions
There’s a huge difference between the mindset of a person who searches for “cold remedies” versus the person who searches for “cold medicine home delivery.” Likewise, you can anticipate the mindset of a person who searches specifically for, “Affordable eye doctor near me.” This is “user intent.” The long tail keywords you use have to anticipate the intent of a specific niche of your customers. Potential customers who search with specific questions have a stronger intent than those who are doing a more general search.
Use this intent to your advantage. You want to be a top hit for the customers who are nearly ready to make a purchase decision. Here’s an example:
- A user who searches for “ceiling tiles” might just be looking for design ideas for a project. It’s hard to spot the intent in this general keyword.
- A user who searches for “cheap foam ceiling tiles” has a clearer intent. Most likely, they want to purchase the aforementioned ceiling tiles.
- A user who searches for “coffee” might be doing a research project in school. There’s nothing that suggests potential purchase behavior with this search term.
- A user who searches for “bagged coffee gift” has a clearly stated intent. You can re-work your product description and product pages to ensure this product line matches the long tail keyword.
2) Less Competition. Much Less.
While the rest of the industry is fighting to intercept the users who are searching for “dog food,” you’ll be the one business that’s targeting the users who search for, “healthy dog food for older dogs” or “high protein puppy food.” Even though the volume of searches will be much lower, your search engine optimization plan will enjoy much less competition. In general, the longer the keyword, the less the competition.
However, you still need to exercise common sense. You don’t want to optimize your blog posts and landing pages for terms that are so long they supersede functionality. However, if your research and gut tells you that, “healthy 100% protein dog food for greyhounds” might be a good lead, pursue it with caution. You can’t anticipate every niche’s search inquiry, but you can try to exercise your product or service’s unique selling benefit in the form long tail SEO.
3) Easy, Meaningful, and Specific Content
From a usage standpoint, implementing long tail keywords into your SEO strategy is easy. It’s literally just another part of a PPC plan, and it’s just like any other piece of content creation. Its ease of use is tempered by how meaningful you make the keyword for your users. Are you answering a specific question? Delivering a specific item? Conveying your ability to deliver a specific service? Long tail is simple enough to start, but the content and context surrounding it still needs to be meaningful to a specific group.
4) Better Rankings
Search engine optimization is an eternal game of waxing and waning ranks. If you optimize your landing page or blog post with long tail keywords with meaningful content, those pages will rank higher. In fact, due to the fact that you will have much less competition to begin with, your rankings for well made pages should be high. Multi-word phrases and questions tend to rank very well, increasing your visibility and ushering your customers towards conversion.
5) Create More Pages with More Content
As a general rule, the more pages that get indexed with Google, the higher your domain authority will be. If you’re just getting started with long tail keywords, you’ll have to make more landing pages and more content for it. The volume of content you’ll have to provide to support your long tail keywords only boosts your ranking and optimization for the rest of your content. Even though your long tail content will be targeting your niche markets, the content and links you create support your primary website content as well.
Together, they holistically help build your online presence while engaging with both the masses and specific audiences at the same time. You have the opportunity to reach customers at top and middle of your funnel, and a better chance to move the ones in the middle towards action.
How to Advance Your SEO Game with Long Tail
For organic traffic, you still need to naturally incorporate your keyword into your content. Before your copywriters die from a heart attack, introduce them to these best practices. Unlike with shorter keywords that should be woven organically through your document, long tail keywords are so specific their placement on the document makes or breaks its search engine optimization.
- Use the keyword in the title of your blog post or landing page.
- Use the keyword in the first 300 words of your content.
- Ensure that the keyword is in the meta description.
- Use the keyword relevantly in image “alt” tags.
- Name your links and URL after your keywords.
As mentioned, Google is thinking like a person. It’s an evolving machine that can identify natural versus unnatural keyword usage. Long tail keywords are harder to use naturally in multiple places, but they’re not impossible to implement. Your landing pages, blog posts, and web pages can still be optimized to reach the people who are searching for, “acne remedies for sensitive skin” or “healthy Chinese food delivery.”
The Google algorithm is being refined as the way people search for information changes. It’s your job as a business owner or search engine optimization expert to anticipate not just what people will search for, but the way they search.
Remember, your long tail keywords are attracting potential customers who are becoming aware of your product after they are already interested in filling a need. In the normal progression of the purchase cycle, many customers become aware of a product or service before they seek out more information about it. When the reverse is true, it means that they are more inclined to make a purchase decision.