To help drive more traffic to your website, it’s important to have an intentional SEO strategy that considers who your buyers are and how they’re utilizing search.
One of the key things to establish in that strategy is the keywords that you’ll aim to rank for in search, ultimately bringing your audience to your website.
In this blog, I’ll be breaking down the advantages of long tail keywords and how to find them.
Long Tail Keywords vs. Short Tail Keywords
Before I get into the advantages of long tail keywords for your SEO strategy, let’s define the term.
When it comes to search keywords, there are a wide variety of keyword types. These fall into two common categories: short tail keywords and long tail keywords.
Short tail keywords: These are highly popular searches that are general and yield a wide range of search results. They’re often just 1-2 words.
Long tail keywords: These are more specific search phrases that “have a long tail of ‘unpopular’ searches.” In non-jargon speak, these are more specific searches (oftentimes 3 or more words) that are not searched as often but provide more targeted results.
Here’s an example:
The Advantages of Long Tail Keywords
When determining the types of keywords to optimize your content for, it’s important to factor in the pros and cons of each.
As I mentioned above, short tail keywords are broad searches. These generalized searches tend to have a higher search volume and, as we’re writing content, can be easier to incorporate on-page. At the same time, when there is a high level of competition for these keywords, it will be significantly harder to rank for them and, if you are bidding on them for an ads campaign, they tend to cost more.
That’s where long tail keywords come into play.
There are many advantages of long tail keywords that make them an important part of any SEO strategy.
Unlike short tail keywords, these often have much lower competition, making it easier to rank on or near the first page of search results. With the vast majority of clicks taking place on the first page of Google, it’s important to rank in the top 10 search results.
When using long tail keywords, companies often see higher conversion rates as the content is more targeted to the website visitor’s needs. This is something referred to as search intent.
Consider this example:
You’re trying to find a commercial painting company to refresh your office space. If you search “painting company,” then you’ll likely get hundreds of results. These will include a mix of commercial and residential painters, companies that make paint and non-local companies.
If you search “commercial painting company in Chicago, IL,” your results are significantly more likely to be a painter that specializes in your industry and work in your city.
It’s also imperative to consider how people are engaging with search.
According to Moz, 70% of online searches are long tail keywords. People are searching as if they’re talking with or asking a question to the search bar, leading to more long tail keyword searches. Factor in voice search with tools like Alexa and Google Home, and the conversational component becomes even more compelling.
If you’re using Google Ads, it’s also noteworthy that long tail keywords typically cost less to bid on.
It’s safe to say that at Simple Machines we’re big fans of long tail keywords, but there are disadvantages to consider.
As mentioned previously, there is less search volume. I know what you’re thinking… “Jordin, you just said 70% of searches are long tail keywords.” That’s true. But with the sheer amount of long tail keyword searches a person might conduct, there are fewer total searches of each specific phrase you might be optimizing for.
Because there are so many possible phrases to optimize for, it’s also necessary to factor in the additional research it takes to ensure your long tail keyword strategy is effective.
Long tail keywords – are they worth it?
Yes! If you want to build an effective organic search strategy, it’s important to optimize for long tail keywords. Don’t believe me? One of our clients saw a 1,194% unique page view increase after just 12 months of implementing a long tail keyword strategy on their blog.
Getting Started With Long Tail Keywords
One of the easiest ways for B2B companies to capitalize on long tail keywords is through blogging.
By writing blogs specific to long tail keywords, you can create a wide range of content that speaks to the various searches your buyer personas might conduct. This provides you the opportunity to craft hyper-relevant content that speaks directly to the long tail keyword being searched (remember earlier when I mentioned search intent?).
How to Find Long Tail Keywords
If you’re just getting started and don’t have a tool in place, there are some simple tricks to help you begin identifying your keywords.
For instance, you can use Google’s autocomplete feature to predict a long tail keyword search. Keep in mind, this predictive data is skewed by your location and previous searches, so it’s not a perfect solution.
If you’re ready to invest in your SEO strategy, there are many tools out there to help simplify the process. Some that our team has used over the years include:
Keep in mind, keyword planner is a paid search tool, so we don’t recommend using this on its own. When we use the Google Ads Keyword Planner in our long tail keyword research, we use it to research for the general search volume for specific geographic areas. Then we use SEMrush to layer in the organic competitiveness, click potential percentage and specific organic opportunity.
An Example of How to Find a Long Tail Keyword with SEMrush
To show you how we use the tool, let’s examine the creation of this blog. Initially, I intended to craft a blog about “long tail keywords.” As this is a general search, I wanted to home in on a more specific search phrase.
I went to SEMrush and plugged in “long tail keywords” to the Keyword Overview Tool. Unsurprisingly, I found a high-search volume, but a difficult opportunity to rank.
With the likelihood of ranking high for search on this keyword slim to none, I used the Keyword Magic Tool to find a more specific search to optimize for.
In doing this, I found keywords with a better keyword volume (on SEMrush this is the keyword density percentage that shows your opportunity to rank) that still meet our audience’s needs while offering more opportunity to rank. Ultimately, I opted for “advantages of long tail keywords.”
While there are fewer searches per month (2,900 for “long tail keywords” vs. 40 for “advantages of long tail keywords”), my opportunity to show up on Google for 40 people is significantly higher than my chances of any of those 2,900 people.
Additionally, I know my content will resonate with those 40 people wanting advantages of long tail keywords, as opposed to not knowing if this blog would be relevant for the more generic 2,900.
Applying This to Your Content Strategy
You can use the same tactics above to come up with ideas for your blog.
Consider the needs of your audience and what they might search for. Then, once you have the general theme, spend some time using a keyword research tool to dig deeper into phrases that are relevant to your audience and have a higher opportunity to rank.
Need help sorting through the long tail keywords and creating content that will rank for search? Learn more about our SEO services, here.