What are long-tail keywords?
One surefire way of ensuring that your content acquires high Google rankings is through the use of long-tail keywords, which target specific words that identify your site in a particular niche. Sure, you might be a shoe store that generally sells all types of shoes, but even with a great SEO strategy, you still might have trouble becoming the de facto #1 search result for a high-search-volume query for something like “leather loafers” or “nike sneakers.”
Long-tail keywords help you solve that challenge. Maybe you can’t be #1 for “leather loafers” (which we would call a “head keyword”), but I bet you can be #1 for “leather loafers that glow in the dark.”
In that way, long-tail keywords are a win-win. They help companies find a more targeted audience for their specific business offerings, that’s probably further down the funnel, and they also help that audience find the company that offers their specific needs, instead of having to, say, weed through all the companies that sell leather loafers, trying to find one that glows in the dark.
Long-tail keywords examples
To give you a clear distinction between these common terms, here are some examples of what we mean when we talk about long-tail keywords:
- You may see a head term “Halloween costumes.” Its long-tail keyword counterpart could be “Friday the 13th Halloween costumes.”
- For the head term “bag sale,” a long-tail keyword counterpart could be, “Prada handbag sale for PayPal users.”
Why long-tail keywords are important
When you’re looking at a list of search terms with their associated search volume, it’s pretty hard to make the case to focus on terms with “0” or “10” for monthly search volume. And it may be easy to assume that a post targeting the keyword with a search volume of 5,000 is more worth your resources to create than a post targeting a keyword with a search volume of 0.
But let’s unpack that assumption a little.
Because, sure, if I’m at a company that sells shoes and I’m looking at a long-tail keyword research tool that shows “high heel shoes that are easy to walk in” has a search volume of 10, it’s going to be tempting to prioritize writing a long, beefy piece of content that targets the keyword “high heel shoes” that has a search volume of 5,000.
But does it actually make sense?
That piece of content about high heel shoes is going to be relatively easy to write. It’s going to be full of all the different types, brands, heel heights, toe shapes, and everything you can think to include about the complexities of high heel shoe purchasing.
But let’s think about the piece of content about “high heel shoes that are easy to walk in.” I would argue that it would not only be much easier to write, because it’s so much more targeted, but it will also be much easier to use the piece of content to attract conversions. Someone coming to a query about “high heel shoes” could be looking for any number of things, but we know so much more about someone searching for “high heel shoes that are easy to walk in,” and not only can we go into more depth with this target audience in mind, but we can also assume that they are closer to the bottom of the funnel, where they are searching for the exact thing they are looking to buy.
From a marketing perspective, of course, this is also much more ideal. With a more targeted audience, we can drive a better user experience. We can link to products that we know are appropriate for the reader, we can tell stories about how comfortable particular shoes are, and then link to them. We can track the conversions off this page and then make the case for writing more content based on other long-tail keywords!
How to find long-tail keywords
So let’s dig into long-tail keyword research so you can find long-tail keywords to use in your content creation. Formulating long-tail keywords doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are 3 easy ways to help you create your tailor-fit long-tail keywords:
1. Start with Google search
In addition to using Google to search for things, you can also use the number one search engine to help you find long-tail keywords! First, observe what Google does when you start typing on the search field: it attempts to continue your text entry. These Google Suggestions displayed below the field are actually long-tail keywords themselves.
These keywords are suggested by Google based on what people have been searching in the past, so you know that even if they pop up with a search volume of 0 in your keyword research tool, that they are viable keywords that some people will use to search in Google.
If you haven’t already noticed, something similar also occurs in Google at the bottom of the search results page, in a section called “People Also Ask.” Like the search field suggests, these related search terms are also great clues to what people usually search for.
2. Google Analytics, anyone?
Apart from monitoring how your website figures in terms of visitor count and clickability, Google’s own analytics tool also shows the most popular keywords that people use in search engines to lead to your pages. Browsing through the list of keywords displayed in Google Analytics not only gives you the opportunity to build up on your current pages, but also guides you to create pages for keywords that people search for. In other words, if online searchers are led to your site through a particular long-tail keyword even if you don’t have a page for it, now is the perfect time to write one.
3. Keyword research tools abound
Aside from Google, there are of course lots of keyword research tools available online, such as Wordstream Keyword Tool, Google Keyword Planner, Soovle, and Long Tail Pro. Looking for the right keywords with a long-tail keyword tool may take some time, but it can also be fun and interesting.
So, I hope you enjoy searching for your site keywords and being a long-tail keywords finder, and reap the benefits in terms of improved SEO. And if you’re looking for a guide through the process, you know where to get it!