The Essentials of Long-Tail Keywords
So much of search engine optimization comes down to one thing: keywords. You need to create content with the words and phrases your target audience is using. And generally speaking, keywords come in two varieties: head keywords and long-tail keywords.
Head keywords are the broad words and phrases that have a large amount of search traffic, for example, “buy shoes,” “pizza” or “dog toys.” Because they offer a lot of impressions, these keywords are usually highly competitive.
Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are more specific queries from searchers who are looking for something specific. They usually (though not always) consist of more words than the more generic head keywords. Some examples of these would be things like “vegan-friendly cafes near me,” “birthday gifts for boys under $30” and even “what are the best long-tail keywords for SEO?”
How to Use Long-Tail Keywords to Your Advantage
At its core, Google’s search ranking algorithm has one goal: to provide the best possible results to answer search intent. And long-tail keywords live in the sweet spot where search ranking, traffic and a user’s needs all intersect.
Because long-tail queries are used to find precise information, they have a lower search volume, but that usually also means less competition. And that, of course, means opportunity for you.
More than that, they can help you market more effectively. By analyzing the long-tail phrases people are using to land on your pages, you can develop a better understanding of what they’re searching for, which in turn, lets you create better content and strategies to more accurately suit the needs of users.
And last, but far from least, searchers using long-tail keywords are usually further along in the sales funnel than those who are using more generic keywords. That means more interest and a better chance at conversion.
So, if you’re keeping score, the benefits of using long-tail keywords are:
- Lower competition (which means lower costs and an easier time ranking)
- Increased traffic
- More targeted search intent for more qualified visitors
- Improved conversions
In other words, they should be a cornerstone of your SEO strategy.
How Do You Find Long-Tail Keywords?
You don’t have to have the breadth of SEO knowledge of a Rand Fishkin or Neil Patel to see the value of employing long-tail keywords. The challenge, of course, is finding the right ones for your niche.
There are a lot of strategies and tools you can use to discover which are relevant for your site. Some of the recommended approaches are:
- Using Google Autocomplete & Suggestions
You know how Google will try to guess what you’re looking for as you’re typing in the search bar? That’s predictive technology at work. And while it’s a great time saver for searches, it’s also valuable for long-tail SEO.
Start typing your head keyword into the search box and see what Google suggests. Then take a look at the “People Also Ask” section (if it exists for this query) and the related searches listed at the bottom of the page.
These will give you practical insight into what your targets are looking for.
- Add Natural Language Modifiers like “How” and “What”
Thanks to technologies like Siri and Alexa, more and more people are using voice search technology. In 2020, there were 4.2 digital voice assistants in use globally, a number expected to double by 2024. And of the voice searches being performed, approximately 75% come from one of the top three desktop-ranked sites.
One of the best ways to capture your share of this traffic is by using long-tail keywords that use natural language. Instead of simply creating content about “long-tail keywords,” include phrases like “How do you find long-tail keywords?” (See what we did there?)
This will help you discover the issues your targets are having, the information they’re seeking and ensure your content provides the right answers.
- Use a Keyword Tool
There are countless tools available to help you with keyword research, including many free ones. To make sure you’re covering all your bases, it’s generally a good idea to use more than one.
Google Keyword Planner – Google is the world’s foremost search engine, which means most of your SEO should be aimed at it. Its free keyword tool is a perfect starting place for any SEO professional. Use it. Learn it. Love it.
SEMRush, Ahrefs or Moz keyword tools – Many companies in the SEO sphere provide free tools for identifying keyword opportunities. Used by thousands of SEO professionals, they can be a great asset for finding keywords you may have otherwise overlooked.
Social Media tools – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are all subject to millions of searches every day. As such, their keyword tools can be extremely useful for SEO.
- Check the Competition
Take a look at what your competitors are doing on their sites, then run a gap analysis to identify topics you’re either not ranking highly for or that you haven’t covered at all.
Look for words or phrases that appear on their top-performing pages and create your own content to steal clicks away from them.
- Use Your Analytics
The great thing about SEO is that there’s data for almost everything. Take a closer look at yours to uncover which phrases are leading visitors to your pages. If you’re running PPC campaigns or have an internal search function on your site, these can also be a valuable source of insight.
How To Use Long-Tail Keywords
Now that you’ve found some great long-tail keywords that offer good upside, how do you use them? The same way you would use regular keywords.
Put them in headlines, meta descriptions and bulleted lists to inform both human searchers and web crawlers about your page’s content. One secret copywriting trick you can use to increase clicks is to add specificity.
For example, rather than “Side Hustles at Home,” try something like “5 Proven Side Hustles You Can Do From Home.” There’s a reason click-baity headlines exist – because they work. Don’t be afraid to use them to your advantage.
Streamline Everything SEO
If you’re new to the world of SEO, this article should have given you enough information to get started using long-tail keywords. On the other hand, if you’re a veteran search engine optimizer, this was probably just a refresher.
Here’s what’s great: no matter which one of these camps you fall into (or if you’re somewhere in between), Evisio is the perfect tool for you. By automatically scanning your website to identify SEO weaknesses and opportunities, it can save you a lot of time and effort. From reporting to step-by-step recommendations, it has everything you need to streamline your SEO workflows and start ranking higher.
See it for yourself. Contact us for a free trial today.