What are Long-Tail Keywords?

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If you don’t know what a long-tail keyword is or if they’ve never been a high priority, you may want to consider this fact: long-tail keywords make up about 70 percent of searches online.

However, before you try to implement them into your marketing strategy, it’s helpful to have a precise understanding of what they are, when to target them, and how to target them.

The Definition of a Long-Tail Keyword

A long-tail keyword is a long keyword phrase that is more descriptive and specific than other keywords. It is usually at least three words long (and often times longer than three words — sometimes even full-length sentences).

Example: 1952 gibson les paul guitar

If you look for this keyword in Google’s Keyword Planner, you’ll see this long-tail keyword has a low search volume but also low competition.

By their very nature — because they are detailed search phrases written by individuals looking for something specific — they are used to reach niche audiences who have a clear, specific goal in mind with their search effort.

The Benefits

  • You will encounter less competition with long-tail keywords.
  • Their specific nature brings in traffic that’s more qualified. This means higher conversion rates.
  • It’s easier to rise in rankings for search engines because of the highly specific nature of the keyword and fewer competitors. And just because they are so specific with less competition doesn’t mean they’re not popular within a niche; which means you can still get solid, consistent traffic and conversions.

When to Target a Long-Tail Keyword

The following tips will give you a sense of when to target this kind of keyword:

  • When you have a small budget: If you don’t have a big budget (or a budget at all), you can use a long-tail keyword strategy to get quicker, more effective organic results that won’t cost you a penny. On the other hand, if you do have a budget, long-tail keywords tends to be less expensive with their cost per click for paid advertisements, so they will save you money even in paid campaigns.
  • When you’re struggling in search engine rankings: If you set up your SEO title and description (your metadata) properly, visitors looking for long-tail keywords will see your result and know right away if your content is relevant. This means you’ll be getting traffic that stays on your page and reads the content instead of immediately clicking back to the search engine results. Search engines notice when visitors stay longer and will reward you with better search rankings. Because long-tail keywords are so specific and relevant to a searcher’s goal, they tend to boost your rankings because you’re getting better quality traffic.
  • When you have specialized knowledge of a product or issue: According to Google Data in recent years, the usage of first-person words such as “I,” “my,” and “me” have increased more than 60 percent. Search engine users are making their searches more personalized and treating search engines like personal advisers similar to how users search for answers to specific questions on Quora. If your business has expert knowledge about specific problems related to the product or service you offer, it’s time to target long-tail keywords that are asking detailed, expert answers to problems.

How to Find and Target Long-Tail Keywords

The following tips will give you a sense of how to target this kind of keyword:

  • Use the ‘Searches Related To’ Function: When you enter a keyword search (try to use a phrase with a couple or more words) and scroll down to the bottom of the page, you will see the phrase “Searches Related To” when using Google. These other “related to” searches often bring long-tail keywords to your attention that people are searching for but aren’t finding much content. They are usually low competition keywords that need more quality results (which you can happily provide by targeting the keyword).

Note: Other engines such as DuckDuckGo.com have a similar function. When you search on Duck Duck Go, scroll down until the results end. Where it says “no more results, try…” you will see other related searches. Bing is almost identical to Google’s approach. After you enter a search and scroll to bottom you will see “Related searches for…”.

  • Take Advantage of Autocomplete Functions in Search Engines: Google made this feature popular, but now every major search engine has it. Say, for example, you type in the basic keyword “gibson guitars,” the search engine will automatically display a drop-down menu with a list of other keywords (many of them long-tail keywords) that use the basic keyword you just entered. These are long-tail keywords that are already getting traffic, and it’s a great way to discover new long-tail keywords.
  • Use Google Keyword Planner: Keyword Planner is a fantastic tool for finding long-tail keywords and figuring out which ones are low competition. After you set up an account, go to the Tools section called “find new keywords.” Enter a basic keyword relevant to your desired topic or product, then look for long-tailed keywords in the results that are generated. You can also filter the results to show all of the low competition keywords at top.
  • Target the Long-Tail Keywords: Make a list of good long-tail keywords with low competition and launch a campaign targeting all of them at once through a variety of methods: blogs, paid ads, video and social media content, or landing pages built and optimized for each long-tail keyword.

A Search For Hidden Gems

Finding and using long-tail keywords is similar to searching for and mining hidden gems. It can take some work and time, but when you find a good one it’s worth the trouble and wait.

If you’re looking for a partner in your search for hidden gems, Bash Foo knows how to take Search Engine Optimization and keyword targeting to the next level for businesses. Contact us for more helpful tips on long-tail keywords and keyword planning.

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