As a website owner looking to improve your SEO, it’s easy to see one-word keywords (short-tail keywords) with large search volumes attached and automatically want to include these within your content.
There’s nothing wrong with that in principle. However, the key to SEO success lies in considering user search intent. This includes the true product, service or information that someone is looking for and why.
One such way to cater to search intent is through the use of long-tail keywords. These allow you to get specific about your products or services, with the aim of attracting the search engine traffic that’s most likely to convert, rather than just ‘everyone’.
Any organic SEO marketing campaign should always use a mix of SEO keyword types, considering the different words and phrases someone may use to find your business online.
So here is what long-tail keywords specifically can do for your search strategy.
What Are Long-Tail Keywords?
The easiest way to define long-tail keywords is they take an initial word (or two) and add additional words to narrow the search focus. When long-tail keywords are used, there is a specific search intent created.
Here’s an easy breakdown:
Short-tail keywords: 1-2 words
Medium-tail keywords: 2-3 words
Long-tail keywords: 3+ words
Why would you want to add more details to a basic word when using a search engine?
Well, as a search engine user yourself, you probably know that by being too vague with a search term, it might not produce very relevant results. But by adding a little more detail to what you type into Google, you’re more likely to find what you’re looking for.
That so-called ‘little more detail’ is in fact the name for long-tail keywords, which are when a search query contains at least three words.
In a nutshell, long tail keywords turn a vague word into a specific phrase. While the trade-off for narrowing the search focus is less search volume, ultimately, the main prize is higher conversions because users are more likely to land on the content they are looking for.
Examples Of Long Tail Keywords
Head term: London [volume: 1,200,000 /keyword difficulty: 98%]
Medium-tail: London hotels [volume: 450,000 /keyword difficulty: 65%]
Long-tail: Cheap London hotels Heathrow [volume: 35,000/keyword difficulty: 37%]
Imagine a tourist is researching a trip to London. At first, they might just want to read some generic information about the city itself, so the short-tail keyword ‘London’ would suffice.
But when it comes to finding hotels, including accommodation close to the airport, their original short-tail keyword use of ‘London’ would need more detail. You can see above that by adding in other descriptive words, the user can get more specific to find what they are looking for.
Often, long-tail keywords appear as questions. For instance, ‘How much are hotels in London?’. As a user, this is an example of using an informational search intent to find answers to research. All of this is made possible through long-tail keywords which allow extra detail to be added to the original word or phrase.
Likewise, if you’re an estate agent in search of SEO, you could just type in ‘SEO’ and hope to find relevant providers. But if you want a team with actual property experience as is the case with our Founder Andy Hill, then the long-tail keywords SEO for Estate Agents would bring you to our site.
Why Is Targeting Long-Tails Important?
They don’t call it an ‘SEO strategy’ for nothing! There’s a reason we SEO specialists like to filter out the noise with long-tail keywords, especially when we have your products, services and ultimately your customers in mind.
Rank Faster And Easier
Short-tail keywords have higher search volumes and therefore, more competition attached. But the irony is that more competition doesn’t mean ranking first will earn you a conversion! That’s because long-tail keywords offer more relevance, excluding vague searches in the process. By using long-tail keywords, you’ll be rewarded with lower search difficulty scores making the content easier to rank for compared with short-tail keywords.
Traffic Is More Targeted and Relevant
Not all website traffic is equal. The simple fact is that if users land on your website in search of one thing, but find something else they’ll leave.
Imagine someone is searching for ‘glasses’ online. In reality, they could be looking for something that helps them see better than something they drink out of. Long-tail keywords are how to make the distinction so that your content can be accurately crawled by search robots.
Another example is local SEO, whereby you add the location of the business onto the keyword to appeal to a relevant audience instead of the whole world. After all, if you offer plumbing services within a 20-mile radius of Birmingham, there’s little point in attracting website visitors from Melbourne, Australia.
The 80/20 Rule
Nope, we’re not on about the rule that allows you to eat chocolate 80% of the time if you eat veggies the other 20% of the time (that’s the correct way around, right?!).
The 80/20 rule in SEO is also known as The Pareto Principle. In short, the idea is to focus your website on the 20% of things that drive 80% of sales. By considering the most profitable aspects of your business, your SEO can be tailored accordingly to continue this success.
In contrast, putting all the focus on elements which don’t drive profit would miss huge opportunities in your overall strategy. So once again, the 80/20 rule has a focus on relevance for the greater good.
It can be a lot to ‘let go’ of short-tail keywords and focus more on long-tail keywords, especially when the latter has reduced search volumes.
But what you have to remember is that long-tail keywords streamline your SEO strategy, by helping to ensure that users landing on your website find exactly what they are looking for. The whole aim of directing relevant traffic to your website is to get more qualified leads and ultimately conversions for your business.
Finding Long Tail Keywords
Ideally, your website should be linked to SEO software such as Semrush or Ahrefs. As SEO specialists, finding long tail keywords is something we prioritise during content creation such as writing content for your website pages or blog.
Alongside the main page keyword, we’ll perform long-tail keyword research to identify ranking opportunities. The ideal pairing is a long-tail keyword that offers relevance for the client yet has a low keyword difficulty making it easier to rank for.
Psst: Curious about how valuable improving your SEO could be for your business? Try our free SEO Value Calculator.
Analyse Search Intent
Once we’ve identified examples of long tail keywords, we think carefully about the search intent surrounding the phrase. Also, some SEO software makes this easy by allowing you to filter between navigational, informational, transactional and commercial – the four types of SEO search intent.
By understanding what the user is trying to achieve from their search, we can ensure the long-tail keyword is accompanied by the right type of content.
Write Detailed Content
Long-tail keywords make us fully understand what the user is looking for within their search engine query. With this knowledge in mind, we can best cater to the wants, needs, interests or concerns of the user.
As a key part of on-page SEO, long-tail keywords can be added to the page metadata, headings, body content, image descriptions and similar places of interest. This is to provide clues to search engines about the acute relevance of your page for that particular search term.
Look For Low Search Volume
There are few guarantees in SEO. But something we can be sure of is that by using a long-tail keyword, the search volume drops substantially compared with a short-tail keyword.
By removing let’s say 90% of searchers, you can focus on that 10% who are actually your customers. So like we said above, lower but more relevant search traffic should be viewed as a positive since it will increase the chances of having only your target customers land on your pages.
Long-Tail Keywords FAQs
Curious about long-tail keywords? If you’re looking to attract more relevant traffic to your website, then you’re wise to be intrigued!
These are some of the most asked questions. But if you have any further ones for us, our SEO specialists would be more than happy to chat.
Where Can I Find Long-Tail Keywords?
SEO tools including Google Search Console, Semrush, Ahrefs, Mangools and Screaming Frog are all excellent places to find long-tail keywords. However, you can also experiment with typing a word into the Google search bar, as you will notice Google will try to ‘autofill’ the bar. These extra words can also be considered long-tail keywords and can help you understand your customer search journey. That said, it’s important to consult a specialist, as the search intent must always be considered within your website content.
What Is The Difference Between A Short-Tail And Long-Tail Keyword?
A short-tail keyword consists of 1-2 words and can be considered as being quite vague. Long-tail keywords have three or more words to offer precision to a search term. Often, long-tail keywords form a question or they could add a location which would also be considered local SEO.
What Makes A Good Long Tail Keyword?
Without a doubt, the best long-tail keywords are those which offer specific relevance to your products or services, allowing you to cut through the noise of short-tail keywords.
Distribute Digital – SEO Services Birmingham
Are you keen to unlock the power of long-tail keywords for your website?
Having a dedicated team that knows your business inside-out can take care of your keywords, plus all your other SEO needs on your behalf. If you don’t have one of those, then Distribute Digital can fix that for you!
Based in Birmingham, we offer award-winning digital marketing services including SEO to businesses just like yours.