70% of all search queries performed on Google are using long-tail keywords.
A huge SEO opportunity exists to target these terms and boost your organic search performance.
However, many search marketers still fail to tap into this potential.
We have created this in-depth guide to teach you everything you should know about long-tail keywords and supercharge your SEO strategy.
Let us start learning.
Long-tail keywords are usually “search phrases” with three or more words. They have comparatively much lower volume and competition than the corresponding head terms.
For example, if you sell "shoes" online, your head term would be "online shoes." But the long-tail keywords associated with it could be anything from "men's waterproof running shoes" to "women's black shoes size 10".
The main reason why long-tail keywords are called "long tail" is that they are concentrated in the long "tail" extending to the right of the graph between search volume (y-axis) and the number of keywords (x-axis).
As per the above illustration, in aggregate, this tail contains hundreds of millions of unique searches conducted only a few times per day or even a few times per year but cumulatively account for most of the global information demand.
Note: Conceptually, there is no minimum or maximum length of a long-tail keyword. Search volume is a more accurate way to categorize a search query as long-tail.
Search marketers often overlook long-tail keywords because they don't generate as much traffic as their shorter counterparts can do. But there are some compelling reasons why these keywords should be part of every website's SEO strategy.
The competition for long-tail keywords is usually much lower than for head terms. This means that your website has a better chance of ranking in the Google search engine results pages (SERPs) for these keywords.
For example, the term "online shoes" has a keyword difficulty of 100 as per Semrush. On the other hand, the term "cheap shoes for women online" has a difficulty score of 68, making it much easier to rank.
Long-tail keywords are also more specific, signifying they're more likely to convert.
When someone uses a long-tail keyword to search for something, they usually have a better idea of what they want than someone who searches for a head term.
If your website ranks for a long-tail keyword, the visitor is more likely to be interested in what you offer and, therefore, more likely to purchase or take other desired action.
An example of this would be if someone searched for "supplements for joint pain relief." This is a specific search query indicating that the person searching is looking to buy a supplement to relieve their joint pain.
If your website sells supplements and ranks for this keyword, there's a good chance that you'll make a sale. On the other hand, someone who just searches for "joint pain" may not be ready to buy anything and is just looking for information on joint pain.
You can build a robust SEO content pipeline with long-tail keywords alone.
As highlighted in the search demand curve above, over 70% of all searchers are long-tail. So you will have a much easier time picking good long-tail keywords during your keyword research process than head terms.
Building a list of long-tail keywords requires a systematic process. Below we deep-dive into some of the best techniques you can use to find long-tail keywords for your website's SEO.
One of the easiest ways to find long-tail keywords for your niche is to use Google's "People also ask" or PAA box feature.
This will show you a list of questions that people are typing into Google related to your topic.
You can use these questions as long-tail keywords to target in your landing pages or blog posts.
For example, when we type "online shoes" in the search box, the PAA box shows question suggestions like "which brand shoe is best," "which site is best for shoes," and so on.
A helpful hack to multiply the number of suggestions is to open and close a suggested question. As a result, more questions appear below the clicked option.
The "People also search for," or PASF box is another assistive feature Google offers in SERPs.
Here is how it can help generate long-tail keyword ideas.
If you bounce back to the search results page after browsing a result, additional search suggestions will appear below the last URL you clicked.
These keywords are usually long-tail in nature and suggested to fulfill the user's search intent by nudging them to perform a more specific search.
For example, if you search for "best shoes," the search results may give you a broad range of options. You choose to go back to browse another result to get specific results.
Google's algorithm notices this user behavior and suggests new search terms like "best shoes for men under 1000" so that you can follow it to get what you want.
The final Google SERP-based method for finding long-tail keywords is to scrape the autocomplete suggestions that show up when you start typing a query into the search bar.
These suggestions are valuable for finding long-tail keywords based on actual search queries. This means that people are searching for these terms, which makes them more likely to convert.
The top suggestions in the dropdown also appear at the SERP's bottom under a "Related searches" section.
Several different keyword research tools are available, both free and paid. These tools will help you find long-tail keywords that you can use in your content marketing strategy.
Some popular keyword research tools include Google Keyword Planner, Semrush, and Ahrefs.
Google Keyword Planner is a free tool that allows you to find long-tail keywords related to your products or services. Simply enter a seed keyword into the tool, and it will generate a list of related keywords.
Another popular keyword research tool is Semrush. There are both free and paid plans available. You get detailed data on search volume, competition level, intent, and more.
Competitor keyword research is crucial because it allows you to find long-tail keyword ideas you may not have thought of on your own.
It also helps keep your SEO strategy updated and relevant to what people are searching for online.
You should start with a list of 2-3 search competitors and then use a keyword research tool to analyze their ranking keywords.
Pick the ranking keywords that align with your long-tail strategy and add them to your list.
Niche forums are online communities where people can discuss specific topics in detail. Each forum is typically dedicated to one topic or industry, and thousands of such niche forums exist.
These can be a great place to find long-tail keyword ideas because people in these communities tend to use specific language than the general population.
If you can find out what questions people are asking or answering on forums in your niche, then it's likely that those questions will be good long-tail keyword ideas for your blog or website.
For example, if your site is about dog training, you can go on Google and type in "dog training forum" and see what comes up.
Then, you'll want to find a few forums with a lot of activity and start browsing through them. As you browse through these niche forums, you'll find people asking questions about their dogs (or other pets) and how they can improve their training techniques.
The best part is that they often give specific details so that you can use those words as keywords in your article (or blog post).
If you know how to use these groups effectively, you can get a ton of long-tail keyword ideas.
For example, let's say you sell sneaker shoes for men. There are a bunch of sneaker subreddits on Reddit where people ask questions and post comments daily.
If you find one that has a lot of members and is active, you can use it to get keyword ideas by browsing through the posts/questions.
Your customer support questions and conversations can also be a gold mine for finding long-tail keywords.
To find customer questions, check with your customer service team or social media managers and ask for some of the commonly raised tickets or questions they've gotten from customers.
Once you have a list of actual user queries, you can pick the ones that are unaddressed and either create a support article or blog post on them.
For example, if you sell a "website hosting software," you may receive support questions like "how to increase site speed." This can be a terrific long-tail keyword to target with your content.
Similarly, if your product is listed on e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon, consider reviewing the "Q&A" section for common questions.
Finally, you can harness the power of AI text-generation technologies like GPT-3 to develop really good long-tail keywords in seconds.
One such tool makes it super simple to generate long-tail keywords is CopyAI's "Keyword Generator" tool.
Just give it a simple command with your seed topic, and it will churn out interesting keyword ideas for you in no time.
Once you have a healthy list of long-tail keywords, it is time to target them with your content.
There are two primary ways you can use long-tail keywords for SEO. Let us understand each of them in more detail.
Often a head term would be too competitive to target as the main keyword for a page. In that case, you can take advantage of the low competition and high intent of a long-tail keyword by using it as the primary keyword in your content.
Following the best practices of on-page SEO optimization, you should use the term in the meta title, URL slug, and H1 tag of the content at a minimum.
For example, a term like "how to do SEO" may be too hard to rank, especially if you have a new blog.
In that case, you can come up with a long-tail variation of the head term like "how to do SEO for an Amazon affiliate website." This should increase your chances of ranking and gaining relevant organic traffic.
You often want to target and rank for a high-volume, high-competition search term. In those cases, your long-tail keywords can act as secondary or related keywords.
This will help add depth to the content and help you rank on the head term over time.
For example, suppose you want to rank on the term "wicker furniture." In that case, you can also incorporate related long-tail keywords like "wicker furniture for balcony," wicker furniture for outdoor seating," and so on.
The search traffic potential from long-tail keywords is too big to ignore.
Their low competition and specific search intent make them perfect candidates for being used as primary keywords and drive search traffic quickly.
Start today if you are still not using them in your website's SEO strategy!
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