What Are Long-Tail Keywords and How to Use Them for Better SEO

13 mins read

Using long-tail keywords for SEO is a powerful and effective strategy. While it may be tempting to focus on bigger wins, paying attention to the smaller gains can lead to significant long-term results. In the ever-evolving world of search, keywords may seem old-fashioned, but long-tail queries have never been more important. With the rise of voice search and the increasing conversational nature of searches, creating content that caters to these queries can be highly beneficial. However, to maximize the potential of this strategy, it is crucial to approach it thoughtfully. In this article, we will explore tips for optimizing your SEO efforts using long-tail queries.

What Are Long-Tail Keywords?

Long-tail keywords are specific search queries with low search volumes. Despite being less frequently searched, they contribute significantly to overall search numbers when combined. These keywords are more precise than others, increasing the likelihood of conversion for users who use them. The term “long tail” refers to the end portion of the search demand curve. Each long-tail keyword has a relatively low search volume compared to head terms. However, when combined, they make up the majority of searches on Google.

Long-tail keywords were named based on their position on the “search demand” curve. If we organize all the search queries performed on Google in a month by their search volumes, we will see a pattern. At the “head” of the curve, there are a few keywords with extremely high search volumes, while the “tail” consists of billions of keywords with very low search volumes.

It’s important to note that a keyword doesn’t have to get fewer than 10 searches per month to be considered “long-tail.” There is no specific search volume threshold that defines a keyword as “long-tail.” It mainly depends on the comparison with the “head” keyword.

Interestingly, the length of a keyword does not determine if it is considered long-tail. One-word keywords can have fewer than 100 monthly searches, while keywords with five or more words can have hundreds of thousands of monthly searches.

How Do Long-Tail Keywords Work?

Let’s use an example to understand how long-tail keywords work. If your company sells classic furniture, it’s unlikely that your pages will appear near the top of an organic search for the keyword “furniture” due to high competition, especially if you’re a smaller company or a startup. However, if you specialize in contemporary art-deco furniture, using long-tail keywords like “art deco living room ideas” will help you find consumers specifically looking for that product.

Managing long-tail keywords involves establishing better communication between your business and the customers who are actively searching for what you offer.

Consider this: if you search for the broad keyword “sofa” on Google (referred to as a “head term”), the chances of finding exactly what you want to buy are low. But if you search for “elm wood veneer day-bed,” you have a clear idea of what you want.

Find Qualified Searchers with Long-Tail Keywords

Using long-tail keywords can help you attract the right audience and increase your return on investment. While you may receive less traffic compared to shorter keywords, your target audience will be more likely to purchase, giving you a higher ROI than your competitors.

Long-tail keywords are also beneficial for advertisers. They have less competition, resulting in lower costs per click when running paid search marketing campaigns. By targeting specific long-tail keywords in your AdWords campaigns, you can achieve higher ad rankings without paying a premium for every click.

To make the most of long-tail keywords, it’s essential to find a reliable source that offers a variety of relevant options. Many keyword suggestion tools overlook this valuable category, focusing only on popular keywords and neglecting the rest of the opportunities available.

How to maximize the SEO benefits of long-tail keywords

When it comes to improving your website’s search engine optimization, various strategies and techniques can be employed. One such tactic that has gained a lot of attention in recent years is the use of long-tail keywords. These longer, more specific phrases can help drive targeted traffic to your site and boost your search rankings. So, without further ado, let’s dive in and uncover the secrets to unlocking the full potential of long-tail keywords for your SEO strategy.

Begin with a small approach

Using long-tail keywords can be a powerful strategy, especially when entering a new market. If you’re starting a new website or covering a new topic, focusing on long-tail keyword phrases in your content can help you gain visibility with your target audience. 

Since long-tail keywords are more specific and less frequently searched for, the people searching for them usually have a clear intent. By creating high-quality content that caters to these queries, you can establish your reputation with the right audience. This approach is also an effective SEO strategy to kickstart your rankings and gain traction in topics relevant to your niche.

Stay relevant

To maximize the SEO benefits of long-tail keywords, it is important to stay relevant and build your online presence. Instead of creating content just for the sake of it, select topics that closely relate to your area of expertise or product offering. Stay within your core business goals. The key is to create highly relevant and valuable content that is helpful to your audience. This will prevent you from taking a “search-engine-first” approach, which goes against Google’s content guidelines. Here are some things to avoid:

  • Don’t enter niche topic areas without having real expertise, solely for the purpose of gaining search traffic.
  • Don’t produce a lot of content on different topics in hopes that some of it will perform well in search results.

It’s important to note that in most topic areas, there are numerous relevant long-tail queries to work on. To achieve success, choose the right ones and ensure they align with your audience and goals.

Define Your Goals

Before you start working on your content, define your goals. Consider what you want to achieve with your content. Are you aiming for an organic ranking position with an in-depth article? Do you want to capture a featured snippet or People Also Ask (PAA) box for a specific long-tail phrase? You may want to appear in voice search, which is valuable for your business. Your primary goal will determine the type of content you should create.

For targeting a featured snippet or PAA, your content should be objective, concise, and impactful. For an overall organic ranking article, delve deep into the topic and provide your unique perspective or expertise. And if you want to optimize for voice search, aim for the featured snippet if available for your long-tail query. By focusing on long-tail keywords, you are already taking a step towards optimizing for voice search.

Begin with a Research 

Conducting comprehensive research is crucial before starting any project. Utilize helpful keyword research tools such as Answer the Public, Also Asked, and Answer Socrates to discover long-tail keywords. Additionally, tools like Semrush and Ahrefs can provide valuable long-tail keyword data. Expand your research by exploring industry forums, Reddit, and Quora for further insights.

Thorough research is unmatched in providing a deeper understanding of your target audience’s search behavior, their interests, and common themes within a specific topic. Do not underestimate the importance of this step, even if it may initially seem overwhelming due to the abundance of ideas.

Utilize your research findings to identify long-tail keywords that are truly relevant to both you and your audience. Developing a strong strategy that supports your main objectives and complements your valuable short-tail keywords is far more effective than adopting a random approach.

Don’t worry much about search traffic

When it comes to targeting specific long-tail keywords, the question often arises: “What about search volume?”It’s a dilemma. As SEO professionals, it may seem counter-intuitive to spend time and effort creating content for search queries that have little to no search volume according to keyword research tools.

The key to a long-tail strategy is to not focus on search volume. Instead, ask yourself if the query is relevant to your business and if you can provide value to it.

By implementing a long-tail strategy, you can gain a deeper understanding of your audience’s knowledge gaps and optimize their search experience.

Use variations of long-tail keywords

The search volume for individual terms may be low due to the various ways longer keyword phrases can be input. People will phrase their search intent differently, but the topic remains the same. Additionally, these specific keywords are interconnected and cover various aspects of the topic. To generate more traffic, consider including a range of long-tail phrases in a comprehensive resource when writing a long-form article. Successful content ranks for multiple keywords, so prioritize the combination of terms to include in your content rather than focusing on specific keywords.

Consider a long-term effect

To achieve a significant impact, more than just one specific keyword will be required. If you want to adopt this approach, it’s necessary to consider the long-term effects. Allocate monthly time to develop your long-tail strategy, and create high-quality content based on your available resources. For smaller websites, this could mean producing one article, while larger teams may be able to tackle multiple pieces.

Maintain consistency, structure, and organization throughout the process. Make plans and adhere to them.

The generation of ideas, research, content creation, and optimization should be continuous processes. Remember, this is a long-term strategy, not a quick and easy solution. Consistently investing effort in these areas can yield significant results over time.

Bottom line

In conclusion, embracing a long-tail strategy can offer abundant opportunities and substantial rewards. By starting and exploring this approach, you may uncover valuable insights about your audience and expand your reach with your content. So, leap and embrace the possibilities that lie ahead. Who knows what exciting discoveries await you on this journey?

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