Long Tail Keywords: Secrets of Increasing Your Search Traffic
Back in March of 2019, Marieke van de Rakt, founder of Yoast SEO Academy, said that using long-tail keywords was a great SEO strategy. Long-tail keywords indicate a more specific user request. Even if they bring less search traffic, they increase conversions many times by sending the most motivated target audience to the site.
Without a long introduction, let us consider a few illustrative examples.
Case #1: Approximately 57% of Amazon’s products are sold through verbose long tail requests. The largest online retailer in the world uses long search phrases to show users the most relevant results and take the first lines in the Google ranking. Amazon is clearly succeeding in this.
Case # 2: In just two months, the popular WPBeginner blog increased its organic search traffic by 20%. How? By using specific long-tail keywords. The site’s SEO specialists also made sure that about 70% of all search queries have long-tail keywords. This way, those who do not use these types of keywords miss most of the organic traffic.
But what are the long tail keywords?
Long-tail keywords are low-frequency concretized phrases that usually consist of three or four words. They got their name because they fall on the long tail of the graph depicting the distribution of the number of search queries.
As you can see from the curve, long-tails are not searched often, but they take a fairly large part of the search traffic – 39.33%. These keywords also have a great value due to high conversion.
Another argument in favor of long-tail comes from Ahrefs. They have almost 30% of with keywords with a monthly search volume of 10K, and they consist of three or more words.
Why Can’t You Ignore Long-Tail Keywords?
Briefly summarizing what was stated above, there are three main reasons why long-tail keywords are important in SEO.
Reason 1: Low Competition
Long-tailed keywords are much easier to rank due to relatively low competition. By using long-tails during promotion, you can take top places in search results much faster and with less effort.
Reason 2: High Conversion
People who enter specific queries know exactly what they want to know or find. Due to this, the conversion percentage increases significantly. For example, a person who writes in the search bar “buy a baby stroller for a boy” is most likely to make a purchase when he sees a suitable product on the site.
Reason 3: Increased Attendance
Google search is becoming more personalized. If two people enter the same word, they are likely to see different results depending on their place of residence, gender, age, or personal preference. More precise keyword phrases partially allow you to bypass such targeting to show your content to more users.
Additional Advantages of Long-Tail Keywords
In addition to the three main reasons why you should include long-tail into your promotion strategy, you should not forget about additional bonuses from the use of lengthy keywords.
1. High Frequency Coverage
“Long-tails” most often include popular short keys. Thus, it is possible to obtain a rating for both targeted and high-frequency queries. A higher rating will in turn lead to an increase in organic traffic.
2. Content personalization
When selecting a key phrase, the SEO specialist focuses on popular searches of the target audience. Many long-tail lists include data on gender, age and interests of users. Thus, optimization allows you to personalize the content of the site and develop a more effective content strategy.
Statistics are in favor of personalization. According to Salesforce, 84% of customers want the business to treat them like people, not like numbers. Moreover, users are twice as likely to pay attention to personalized offers than to regular ones.
3. Blog content strategy
This item follows from the previous one. If your site has a blog and you want to fill it with useful and interesting content, use long-tail queries as topics for your posts. This is very convenient. Instead of thinking of something to captivate your readers each time, start giving answers to their questions. The result won’t keep you waiting.
4. Ability to get ahead of competitors
The latest Google algorithms are designed for Natural Language Processing. The search engine tries to recognize natural human speech as accurately as possible and it shows the most relevant results. “Long-tails” play a significant role in this because they provide a more complete understanding of the meaning of the request. Choose long key phrases that are close to the usual speech of people, and Google will provide you with a higher place in the SERP for doing that. Voice assistants will also prefer reading the content from your site, rather than from a competitor’s resource that uses other methods. Read more in our article SEO Competitive Analysis.
Step-by-step Manual for Using the Long-Tail Keywords
Using long tail keywords can make your content viral (for more information on viral content, see our What Is Link Bait? article). However, picking the right keys is not as easy as it sounds. Consider these five main steps towards a multiple increase in targeted search traffic due to wordy searches.
Step 1: See the Goal
Content Strategy: Remember these two words. Long-tail keys alone will not work. They need a suitable context. In order to make the context suitable, it is important to understand the goals of the site. Do you use it to sell goods? Do you have an information resource? Do you provide useful services? What do you want to tell your readers or clients? How can you help them? Answer these questions and you will see a further direction of development.
The main task of the content strategy is to indicate the value of your resource for users. Of course, you can endlessly talk about your product or service, but think about it. Will it be interesting for your subscribers? Try looking for searches related to your business. They will answer the question and will then lead your potential customers to the site. Naturally, these keywords will need to be packed in an interesting text.
However, one strategy and some relevant topics for publications are not enough. Engage users with headlines, make the text easy to read, and ask the reader to leave the feedback. This is especially important for posts on social networks and blogs. Encourage people to share their opinions, create a community around your brand. Firstly, Google will appreciate it, and secondly, it will be easier for you to find topics for future publications. Readers will ask you questions that interest them.
Smart marketers know: the natural integration of long-tail keys into attractive content allows you to increase search and referral traffic so much that over time you do not need to actively spend energy and money on website promotion.
Step 2: Identify Your Target Audience
Who do you want to attract to the site? Describe this person. What are they like, how old are they, where do they live, what interests do they have? This is called creating a customer’s profile. This helps to visualize a specific reader and think about what content it will bring to your site. Based on this data, verbose keywords are selected.
It is at this stage that the personalization of the content that we spoke about earlier occurs. Remember that this is not simple. Personalization is a science that includes research and in-depth analysis.
Step 3: Find Long Tail Keywords
Once again, long-tailed keys are not necessarily a phrase of three or more words, and high-frequency queries do not always consist of one or two words. Therefore, one cannot judge the popularity of a key by its length, it can only be done by frequency.
So how to find long tail keywords? There are many different ways. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular and effective ways.
1. Ask Google
We selected a high-frequency query that covers a wider topic and then we entered it into the search bar. Google itself will issue relevant, more specific queries.
2. Check “People Also Ask” block
Usually, Google places answers to the most frequently asked questions here. Answers are taken from the most relevant pages, which are already high ranked. At the same time, you can view and study the sites of your competitors. Read more in our People Also Ask article.
3. Checking the “Related Searches” Section
At the end of each SERP page, more specific and less popular search options for topics are shown. Therefore, you can often get valuable information here.
4. Use Semrush
Instead of collecting keys manually from Google, you can quickly see all the possible variations in Semrush. We entered a more general key phrase and saw that it will be quite difficult to get to the top using it; keyword difficulty is 89%.
Let’s study the less frequent key options that are offered to us below. There is also a list of common questions that include the phrase we need.
If you click on the “View all keywords” button, a table with detailed statistics for less popular keys will open. Here you can see the frequency data, which queries are currently trending, which ones are easier to rank, which are more difficult to use, and other useful information.
For each of the proposed key options, you can get your list of related queries. If you specialize in espresso coffee machines, you can click on this key and get extended versions of long-tails on it.
In addition to Semrush, you can use other tools for long tail keywords search. They will also all act on a similar principle.
5. Analyze competitor activity
The very same Semrush allows you to see what keywords your competitors are ranking for. Just enter the name of the site in the search bar of the service and study the “Domain Overview” page. After, click “Organic Research”.
This is a great way to find low-frequency keys that you didn’t previously think about.
6. Ask your target audience
Of course, you can put yourself in the place of a future visitor to the site and outline the probable requests that will lead you to it. You can also try this in a simpler way. Ask the potential target audience questions. If you have customers, talk to them. If you’re just starting out, look for Facebook groups and topic forums related to your topic. You can study what questions users have already asked, or you can write a post/create a new topic to get relevant answers.
7. Use custom tools
For example, there is such a resource as AnswerThePublic – a free tool that helps to understand how people look for things that interest them. You can drive any words here and get a list of related questions and queries.
Answer The Public
Is very convenient to draw ideas for a content strategy here. Check out the other services in our Top SEO Tools for Businesses article.
Life hack: For a highly competitive industry, there are certain conditions for the search and selection of long-tail keywords. You will not need all the options for the keys found because many of them will not give the desired effect. Therefore, out of all the selected phrases, leave the keys with a frequency of 2-7K queries per month, Keyword Difficulty indicator less than 40% and with high CPC, which indicates a good conversion. It is these long-tails that will allow your site to get to the top with the least amount of time and money.
Step 4: Create Content with Keys Selected
Beginning marketers make one significant mistake: they pay great attention to the selection of suitable keywords, but do not make sure that the texts written on their basis are informative and useful for readers. Now, the Google trend is the E-A-T-concept, expertise, authority and trustworthiness. The search engine carefully checks sites that are related to YMYL topics – health, finance, laws, news, medicine, law, and product descriptions. It is likely that other resources will not hide from smart algorithms in the future. In any case, Google has always evaluated the benefits of pages for readers. Mediocre content just won’t be found early on.
Confirmation is a new study by Moz.com. The three most important ranking factors include content quality and internal page optimization.
However, there is one more nuance. In order for keywords with a long tail to favorably influence the ranking, it is important to place them correctly in the text.
Lifehack: When using long-tail keys, don’t think too much about their frequency on the page, but about targeting or natural occurrence.
There are unspoken rules on how to integrate verbose keys. Here they are.
1. Use Long Tails in H1 Headers
Whether the user follows the link to the site or not depends on the title in many respects. Therefore, it is so important that the H1 heading contains keywords. If they are long-tailed, the rating will become even higher. The logic here is simple; a person usually searches for content that can solve his question. Most often, he enters a specific long-tail query into the search bar and looks for the answer with the same words in the search results.
3 tips to make your keyword phrase effective:
- Conduct a long-tail keywords research and choose the phrase that most fully describes the content on your page.
- Explore the most clickable headings of similar topics. The convenient Buzzsumo.com service will help you with this.
- Create a viral header by integrating a long tail key there.
Important: Words from a key phrase can be interchanged or separated by a comma and a colon. Natural occurrence is the main thing.
2. Use Long-Tail Keyword in Introduction
You wrote a good title, the user went to the page, and the first thing he sees there is an introduction. This small passage of text is very important for two reasons. Firstly, it allows a person to understand that further text meets his expectations, and secondly, the reader does not leave the page immediately. This means that the time spent on the site increases and the bounce rate decreases.
Naturally, the introduction should be filled with long-tail keywords. But there is no need to repeat the key from the header word by word. Change it, dilute it with other words, or put it in a wider context. The optimal introduction length is at least 100 words, although you can of course experiment and derive your golden formula for success.
Catch the attention of readers in the introduction with an interesting fact or story from personal experience. However, make sure that you correctly evaluate the user’s intention. Why did he follow the link? What question does he want to find the answer to? At the beginning, it is important to show that the article will be informative and on-topic. But make sure that the content does not look too much like advertising or manipulation. The rule of naturalness has not been canceled.
3. Use LSI Strategy for Subtitles and Text
Many users, before reading the text, run their eyes through the subtitles. This way they save time by moving immediately to the part that interests them. Therefore, the headings H2 and H3 should show what ideas are revealed in the corresponding passage of the text and inform Google what the text is about.
You cannot use the same long-tail key for headings of all levels. But you can use the LSI strategy, latent semantic indexing. It allows you to expand the core of queries with synonymous and relevant keys. The first are words that are close to the query by meaning. The second ones are indirectly related to the topic.
LSI-texts are considered as an alternative to the classic SEO-copywriting, which was mainly designed for search engines. However, after Google introduced the Panda algorithm and began to remove sites with low-quality content from the issuance, the rules of the game changed. Learn more about the rules of the game in Google Algorithms That Affect SEO article.
LSI keys will help you make sub-headings diverse and efficient in terms of SEO. They will also help to eliminate spamming of the text with the same keys.
4. Use long tail for a strong conclusion
Speakers often use one simple trick to enhance the effect of a speech. At the end, they repeat the question that they asked the audience at the beginning of the speech. After that, they give a concise and simple answer, as if summing up everything that was said. This answer is what will be remembered the most.
Nothing is stopping you from using the same trick. You can do this by using long-tailed keywords. Write a conclusion by naturally embedding a long-tail phrase into it. Both the users and the search engine will appreciate it.
Step 5: Consider Long Tails During the External Optimization
When Google encounters an anchor on a page, it understands that a person will go to a site that corresponds to a text link upon transition. If the anchor is a long tail key, the search engine will associate the resource with this request and increase it in rank. Of course, this is provided that the text link is inserted naturally, the content is useful to readers, and the donor site itself has a high rating.
Below is a good long tail keyword example that was used as an external link.
Let’s Sum It Up
To increase search traffic using long-tail keys, it is important to consider several nuances:
- You should have a clear idea of your business and product, as well as an accurate description of your target audience. This way you can maximize the benefits of long-tailed queries.
- Long-term success is associated with caring for users and solving their problems. Use this knowledge when developing a content strategy.
- Do not try to insert long-tails into the text. Write a text that is based on wordy queries. Better yet, let the long tail be part of the question you are answering.
Modern search engine optimization has long gone beyond the standard writing of SEO texts. Now you have to deeply study your target audience, understand what challenges that they face, and create high-quality content that can answer its most complex and non-trivial questions. Fill the site as if you are conducting a dialogue with readers and the reward will be a large active community interested in your brand.
Bonus: How Long Tails Help Increase Paid Traffic
Most often, long-tailed keys are used to increase organic traffic. However, long-tail is also valuable for paid advertising, PPC. They are valuable in general for the same reasons that they are used in SEO-strategies:
- Less competition, meaning less time and money
- Lower cost-per-click, as the request is not competitive
- High conversion, which means the ad will be more profitable
It’s important to note that for SEO and PPC, you often need to pick up a different long-tail keyword. In general, it mostly depends on your field of activity. If you are promoting an e-commerce platform, then you can easily use keys with a description of the model, size, material of manufacture and other characteristics of the goods in advertisements. For example, instead of writing “men’s sweater”, write “woolen men’s sweater with a pattern.” You can also specify a location or special descriptors for whom your service or product is intended.
When you select the best long-tailed keywords for the target audience, it may help to create two advertising campaigns:
- Direct targeting by long-tail keywords
- Broad match keywords
The second campaign, among other things, will help to collect relevant requests for adding new long-tailed keys.
The use of long-tails in Google Adwords will help reduce advertising costs and increase conversion due to a more accurate targeting to potential customers.