Long Tail Keywords

What are Long Tail Keywords?

Long tail keywords are keywords that are on the long tail of the demand curve, meaning that they have a low monthly search volume (MSV). In the past, there has been some confusion about the definition of long-tail, and some SEO specialists have said that long tail keywords are keywords that are 3 words or more.

Some SEO experts have attributed these searches as top-of-the-funnel searches in the marketing funnel or the first step for a user to become introduced to your company’s brand. Most long-tail keyword searches are question-based or educational in nature; therefore, they tend to be used in voice search.

Asking Siri what a long tail keyword is.

What we have found is that long tail keywords can be used for two main purposes: specific purchasing-intent searches and educational searches.

For example, if you are a B2B company that sells software for supply chain management, it may be difficult to rank for the keyword Supply Chain Management. Although it is technically a keyword with three or more words, the search volume and keyword difficulty are very high (MSV: 27,100, KD: 80.68 via SEMrush). Therefore, we cannot technically call it a ‘long tail keyword’.

A keyword such as Supply Chain Planning Software has a lower search volume and keyword difficulty (MSV: 50, KD: 56.93 via SEMrush). This long tail keyword is more specific to the software that the company sells and is much easier to rank for.

Keyword research for the long tail keyword supply chain software.

Why are Long Tail Keywords Important?

Long tail keywords, if used correctly, can not only generate organic traffic but can generate better traffic as well. Because these searches are much more specific, the quality of the user, traffic, and a potential customer is a lot better. This means the power of the MQL (marketing qualified lead) is a lot higher.

Long tail keywords, however, have a much larger impact than just SEO. Because these searches are in lower volume, there is less competition and lower costs associated with these terms. From a paid search perspective, long tail keywords can be low cost-per-click opportunities for a company to generate better leads. This leads to a lower CPA (or cost per acquisition) and a much happier client!

Long tail keyword targeting in PPC can reduce your CPA

How to Find Long Tail Keywords

There are many ways to find long-tail keywords; however, we want to highlight a few high impact ways to find them.

Keyword Research Tools

The easiest way to find long tail keywords is by doing a little research. Keyword research tools such as SEMrush and Ahrefs are good paid tools that will provide with a list of long tail keywords and their subsequent monthly search volume and keyword difficulty. By finding low search volume and keyword difficulty words, you are much more like to acquire market share for those queries.

Long tail keyword research on SEMrush.

People Also Ask

When you google a short-tail, high volume keyword, there generally is a section called “People also ask” that pops up in the SERP. This section contains four questions, as well as their answers, that are related to the high volume short-tail keyword. These questions are usually a good start in finding effective long tail keywords.

Showing the people also ask section in Google that contains a set of related long tail keywords.

Answer the Public

Answer the Public is a tool used by SEO specialists, content marketers, and PR teams alike. It takes the auto-suggested results from Google and Bing and compiles them into a database of potential blog topics or subtopics to create content around. Although it does not pull the keyword research from it, Answer the Public is a great start when trying to decide what to center your blog topics around.

I like to use this tool in a variety of ways. One way is to insert a short-tail keyword in the tool and use the questions provided as a way to determine what to discuss in the blog. Another way is to Insert a short tail keyword in the tool and find what long tail keywords are being searched for on the major search engines. Then, you can use that information to write more blog pieces.

Either way, when you insert your keyword into the tool, a circular structure with many fingers that contain different questions surrounding that keyword.

Answer the public image that shows a graph filled with long tail keywords.

Google Related Searches

With all of the fancy tools out there, a lot of the information that you need to find valuable long tail keywords is directly in Google. When you scroll down to the bottom of the SERP, you will find a section called “Searches related to [search query]”. This is a great way to find long tail keyword variations that are relevant to short tail keywords.

Google related searches also shows a group of related long tail keyword searches.

Although there are many ways to find long tail keywords and there is less competition for those keywords, there are still a few things you must do in order to gain market share of those queries. Here are 4 tips to generate high volumes of traffic from long tail keywords.

Tip #1: Create Killer Content

If you do not create great content, you will not rank for any keyword, especially not long tail keywords. Because long tail keywords are very specific searches, you must ensure that you are answering the questions that the user looks to answer. Irrelevant content will be penalized by Google, and you won’t generate any traffic.

Tip #2: Look for Search Intent

An easy way to see what content is relevant is by looking at the search intent of the SERP for the long tail keyword. Google chooses the best and most relevant content to rank higher in the SERP, so why not write about what is currently ranking high?

There are four ways to categorize search intent: informational, navigational, commercial, and transactional. An easy way to determine what the search intent is for each long tail keyword is by seeing what pages rank highly, and match each page with a category of search intent.

If the majority of the ranking pages in the SERP match your content goals, then you will have a better chance of gaining market share for that long tail keyword.

For example, if you are trying to write a blog post using the long tail keyword disadvantages of cloud ERP, and you see that the top ranking pages are blog posts, then it will be a lot easier to rank for that keyword than if you are creating a transactional page around that same long tail keyword.

Tip #3: Insert Related and Head Keywords

Although ensuring that you are properly targeting your long tail keyword of choice is important, you can actually be penalized for overly targeting just that keyword.

Studies have shown that over-optimizing for either long tail or short tail keywords can increase your risk of being penalized by Google, and can lower overall web traffic.

Ever since Google Hummingbird, it has been proven that creating the best content will help you rank higher, and the way that you do that is by including related keywords and phrases. A good way to find these related keywords is directly on the Google SERP or with SEMrush’s SEO Content Template.

Semantically related keywords are important to include when targeting long tail keywords.

By including related and head keywords, you are increasing the readability of your content, but also giving yourself the ability to drive traffic through other related searches.

Tip #4: Analyze Your Competitors

There are two types of competitors that you need to worry about: business competitors and SERP competitors.

Business competitors are the companies that you rival based on your specific product or service. For example, Oracle and SAP are business competitors for cloud ERP solutions.

SERP competitors are those competitors that you are fighting for rankings and traffic on Google. For example, TechTarget and Software Advice are SERP competitors for the long tail keyword cloud based ERP vs traditional ERP.

Both business and SERP competitors should be an important focus because you may find different niches of content and long tail keywords in one that you may not find from the other. By extending your reach, you are covering all aspects of Google and maximizing your ability to rank for more long tail keywords (and keywords in general), and therefore driving more traffic to your site.

How Do I Ensure the Right Long Tail Keywords are Being Used?

When looking for high-value content strategy, you must understand the ins and outs of Google in order to make educated decisions on what long tail keywords to go after and what to avoid. This takes time, effort, and money. You deserve a content marketing agency that understands what it takes to drive traffic using long tail keywords.

You deserve the best. See what Directive can do for you by getting a free proposal today!

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