Keywords have always been a vital component of search engine optimization, and SEO and keyword research remain one of the most effective strategies businesses can use to climb their way to the top of the search engine result pages.

However, with internet searches becoming more and more ubiquitous, we’re moving away from traditional SEO keywords towards a more natural, conversational language. Therefore, instead of typing out generic keywords like “men’s shoes,” people are searching more specific keyword phrases, such as “running shoes for men in Phoenix,” for instance. These types of search terms and phrases are known as long-tail keywords. In fact, nearly 40% of all search traffic on the internet today is driven by long-tail keywords.

Because they have lower search volume and are less competitive, targeting long-tail keywords is an excellent SEO strategy and an efficient way to drive organic traffic and improve conversions.

Why Long-Tail Keywords?

A long-tail keyword is a descriptive phrase, typically three or more words long. These are less popular keywords that account for a lower number of searches. But since they are more specific, placing them in your SEO strategy can garner a targeted audience that is more likely to convert.

For instance, let’s say you’re trying to rank for a common keyword like “home remodeling.” Now, big websites like HGTV or Houzz are targeting those exact keywords and it’s difficult to knock them off from the top spot. Instead, “home remodeling in Phoenix” is a longer and more specific keyword that will allow you to target a more niche audience and generate faster results.

More Reasons to Include Long-Tail Keywords in Your SEO Strategy  

Right on Target
With long-tail keywords, user intent is obvious. There is no ambiguity, and you can say with a high degree of certainty what your customer needs. It’s a more direct way of bringing customers into your sales funnel, which sets you up for more conversions.

Get Ahead of the Competition
There’s too much content on the Internet these days. Targeting long tail keywords gives you a better chance to build brand awareness and be more visible. For example, it may be nearly impossible to be on Google’s first page when someone searches for “car repair” but when one searches for “Ford car repair in Tempe”, you have higher chances of showing up.

Change to the Times
With this change, you’re also adapting to Google’s latest preferences. Google’s algorithms now encourage more contextual (read, “long-tail”) searches as well - this becomes obvious when you look at the increase in character length for Google’s Search Engine Results page (SERP) from between 50-60 to 70 now.

Adapt to Voice Search
What’s more, today is the age of voice search. More people are using voice search and devices such as Siri and Alexa for their Google searches. And when people voice-search, they call out long tail keywords.

Enjoy Lower Costs
With specific, contextual search terms, there’s lesser competition. Fewer people are using these keywords — so your cost-per-click is significantly reduced but there’s a better chance of conversion too. Everybody wins!

Create More Impactful Content
With long tail keywords, you have more flexibility with your SEO-based content. You can use more relevant phrases instead of short and choppy keywords. So along with search engine optimization, your customers get more engaging and quality content as well.  

How to Find Long Tail-Keywords

There are many resources online that will help you find the right long-tail keywords for your business website or online platform.

Your first resource is Google itself. Ever noticed how Google’s search suggestions drop down when you start typing a keyword? Google Suggest and Related keywords are free Google tools that can tell you what others are searching for. You can also look through the “People also searched for” options that appear at the bottom of the page.

There are many other free alternatives available online as well, such as WordStream’s free keyword tool which returns the most popular and similar keywords when you search for one.

In addition to these tools, make sure you regularly browse forums like Quora or Yahoo Answers and well-ranking competitor websites. Resources like AnswerThePublic can inspire you to come up with better content using meaningful long tail-keywords as well.

Social media is another way to find out what people are searching for. For example, the autocomplete feature in Twitter or YouTube can help you find long-tail keywords just like Google Suggest.

Finally, Google Trends can help you understand exactly “what the world is searching for” and adapt your strategy to it. At the end of the day, be innovative; put yourself in your customers’ shoes, and test out which strategies are giving your business the best results.

Remember, any successful strategy — SEO or otherwise — takes time and consistent efforts. So if with long-tail keywords, you’re expecting the returns to show right away, you’ll be disappointed. However, one thing is for sure — implementing long-tail keywords into your SEO strategy will boost your website’s place in Google search and improve your rankings. It will just take some time and patience to see the results.

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