What are Longtail Keywords?

Understanding the importance of longtail keywords as a blogger looking for organic search traffic

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Keyword research is a critical aspect of any content marketing strategy that hopes to be successful. There are different types of keywords that work together to determine how well a piece of content ranks in search engine results. In this article, you will learn about long-tail keywords, their importance to content marketers, and how to use them.


What are long-tail keywords?

A long-tail keyword is a long-form key phrase that reacts to more targeted search results (and are more identical to actual search intent) than shorter (short-tail) keywords. The amount of words making up a long-tail keyword can vary considerably, depending on the product or service being searched for and all the terms that can be used to describe it.


Why long-tail keywords are important

Keyword research tends to focus a lot on generic, high-volume words and phrases known as short-tail and mid-tail keywords. But when someone uses Google to search for information or find a product or service they are interested in, they search directly for these general search terms only about 30% of the time. In fact, a user is more likely to type out a whole sentence or phrase (or say it – in the case of a voice search) to describe what they are looking for. That is why 70% of web searches involve long-tail keywords.

For example, if your company is marketing desktop computers, your main keywords will likely be “desktop computer” or “personal computer” or another variant. These are short-tail keywords and are necessary to be used in your product descriptions and other content. But all your competitors, including big companies like Amazon, will be using these keywords as well. As a result, it will be much harder for your website to rank highly in organic search using these keywords alone.

Not only that but only a few people will want to just search for “personal computer,” as opposed to typing in or saying something more specific into the search bar on Google. They will be much more likely to use keywords such as “Dell gaming desktop tower computer with Windows 10” or “Windows 10 Dell PC for gaming with LCD monitor” to find better matches to the types of machines they are looking for.

With that said, long-tail keywords are more useful for target audiences that are after niche products. In terms of traffic, long-tail keywords will not draw a high amount of traffic when compared to short-tail or medium length keywords. However, they are useful for attracting people who have a fairly good idea of what they are interested in, and are closer to becoming buyers. They are also less competitive, so it won’t cost you as much when running paid search campaigns. Furthermore, by comparison, long-tail keywords have higher conversion rates. Long-tail keywords, therefore, provide a better ROI than their shorter counterparts.


How to use long-tail keywords in your content

Apart from including long-tail keywords in paid marketing campaigns, it is highly recommended to use them in your overall content marketing strategy to significantly improve the impact of your SEO. According to online marketing guru, Neil Patel, long-tail keywords are “the holy grail of SEO” and can help you outrank your competition.

You can create a variety of content around long-tail keywords, including blog posts, product descriptions, reports, guides, and general web copy. And the more in-depth the content is, the greater the need for long-tail keywords to mirror the intent of people doing online searches for your products or services. Writing how-to articles, for instance, are often helpful to people who are interested in a product but looking for more information to help them make a decision. Including long-tail keywords in such a post will not only make it easier to find but can cause the reader to trust your content over others since the keywords are more in-sync with their query.

In terms of placement, you can introduce long-tail keywords in different parts of a piece of content. You can use them in the headline of a blog post, sprinkled throughout the body, in subheadings, and in SEO post descriptions and introductions. As with other keywords, you should follow best practices when using long-tail keywords. This includes using them in a natural way instead of trying to stuff the content with as many keywords as possible.

In addition, you should use different variations of the same keyword because different people will say the same thing in a different way. For example, someone may search for “Dell desktop computer with Windows 10 for gamers” while another user might search for “Cheap Dell Windows 10 alien-ware gaming PC.” If a piece of content contains both these keywords, there is a good chance that it will be shown to the two users in a Google search.


Finding suitable long-tail keywords

Using long-tail keywords successfully in your content strategy begins with carrying out research to find out what members of your target audience are likely to be looking for. There are a number of tools and activities that you can use to uncover suitable long-tail keywords relevant to your offerings. Here are three of the main ways:

  • Manual search engine research: You can find out much about user search intent by doing keyword research on Google. Simply type in your main keyword into the search bar and hit enter. Then scroll to the bottom of the page to view the search suggestions that appear, which often include suitable long-tail keywords. You can try this for as many keywords as you like to see which ones fit best into your content. You can also type in long-tail keywords you have found and then look at the search suggestions to discover similar alternatives. Another set of potential long-tail results to look for when doing Google keyword searches is the “People also ask” options that often show up near the top of the search engine results page. These boxes often display questions that people tend to ask and can reveal long-tail keywords relevant to your brand.

  • Using keyword research tools: There are numerous free and paid keyword research tools available online that you can use to find useful long-tail keywords. Some of the most notable ones include UberSuggest, Soovle, Keywordtool.io, Answer The Public, and Google Trends.

  • Checking out forums, online boards, and Q&A sites: People ask a lot of questions online to get help with problems they might be having. Many of these questions and the accompanying responses reflect the search terms they would use on Google and other search engines. It is, therefore, not hard to see why forums, online boards, and Q&A websites are excellent places to look for long-tail keywords related to your brand.


Conclusion

The right long-tail keywords, when used correctly, can make a big difference in how SEO-friendly a piece of content is. Taking the time to find the best ones will help you understand your target audience’s search intent while making it easier to achieve your goals.

Until next time!

Casey