What Are Long Tail Keywords and How to Find Them
This post was last updated on February 19th, 2020.
If the movie Clueless taught us anything, it would be that popularity isn’t everything in life. This is especially true when it comes to your keywords. When you create a website, you'll want to take advantage of SEO to target popular keywords with a higher search volume. Indeed, a bigger volume can mean more impressions and more visitors entering your site and hopefully making a purchase, or sending an inquiry email. Makes sense, right? However… [pause for dramatic effect]… Do you ever stop and think about what type of traffic you’re actually attracting when you’re using a broad keyword? The intent is, more often than not, quite unclear, causing searchers to bounce back to the results page and scroll on to the next option. Which can be detrimental to your ranking. Not to mention, the competition for high volume keywords is immense, and the results page is often filled with well-established brand names. Not so handy for a business that’s new to the game.
This is why it may be a good call to start targeting and implementing what we call ‘long tail keywords’ into your SEO strategy. In addition to being extremely low in competition, they enable you to strike gold in blog post and content ideas for your website. These very specific keyword terms and phrases will help you drive more traffic to your pages, and also more quality traffic. This will ultimately give your site’s conversion rate a major boost.
So let’s discover what exactly long tail keywords are, how to find them and why they can help you increase targeted website traffic.
What are long tail keywords?
We know, you’re probably picturing some kind of long-tailed animal right now. But just so we’re on the same page: Long tail keywords are essentially keywords that are longer and more descriptive. Anything from three words up can be considered a long tail keyword. However, the title ‘long tail’ doesn’t actually stem from the fact that the phrase is longer. The graph below can help explain the concept.
The graph represents all of the keywords that exist. As you can see, the amount of one-word keyword phrases are very few and highly competitive due to their high search volume. When looking at the right side of the graph (the orange line that looks a like a dinosaur’s tail), those represent the more descriptive phrases. It is known that long tail keywords account for 70% of all web searches. This means that you can identify a much larger number of keywords that are much less competitive. So even though the chances of your pages to be seen are lower (due to the lower amount of monthly searches), the probability of a visitor converting is very high due to the specific nature of the query.
For example, someone entering a one-word phrase like ‘pizza’, will probably get an array of results to choose from, ranging from the definition and history of pizza to big brands like Pizza Hut. But someone that clearly has a craving for some late night pizza, entering the keyword “vegan pizza delivery in NY after midnight” knows exactly what he or she wants at that moment. Thus, the results that show up are more likely to be very specific, and the searcher will be much more likely to click on that result and order a delicious cheese-free pie.
6 reasons to focus on long tail keywords
Most people researching keywords for their pages try to catch the big (volume) fish, in general this is the best way to get more impressions from search results. If you’re an established brand with a seasoned domain name, this can be an option for you. But as a small business owner with a fresh new site, it may be slightly harder to take on that challenge. In essence, SEO is a like a big game of ‘Shoots and Ladders’ in which people are constantly competing against each other. But the game changes when there are much less players involved. Because long tail keywords have a lower amount of monthly searches (sometimes this can even be 0), they are much easier to rank for. This SEO faq is exactly why long tail keywords are such a great find that can seriously be taken advantage of. Game on!
Better conversion rate
As an SMB or service provider, you know that every conversion counts. Let’s say that your website attracts 100 people per day from search results by typing in a broad keyword. Out of those 100, about three people purchase a product or send an inquiry email (depending on the goal of your website). Your conversation rate will then be 3%. Scenario 2: by typing in a very specific phrase about 20 people find your page. Out of those 20, three people convert into paying customers. Just like that your conversion rate becomes 15%. Now that’s a huge impact on your business and some serious DIY SEO! Not to mention that in fact, the more people perform the action that your site intends them too, the more Google will take notice and give your site an SEO push! Another reason why long tail keywords are so valuable.
Better click through rate
Before people actually get to your site, they first need to find it in search results and get clickin’. CTR, or click through rate, is another strong signal to Google to tell whether your site matches a searcher’s query or not. Thanks to Rank Brain, a mechanism that allows Google to understand searcher behavior better, the way that people interact with your result directly impacts your ranking. If a searcher clicks on one result, and after seconds clicks back to the results page, this can literally push your page down, making room for your competition to rise. But guess what happens when the opposite occurs? You’ve got it. # SEOboost. More specifically, if people understand, thanks to your metadata, that you are tackling a very specific topic the likelihood of them clicking on it will naturally increase (if you're wondering what is SEO metadata, this includes your SEO title and description). Using more specific and precise keywords in your content and metadata can allow you to target more precise intent, and thus get more searchers to click on your result.
More personal searches
In today’s day and age, people are quite familiar with search engines and how they function. For example, you know that if you Google ‘website’, you’re probably not going to find what you’re looking for. But more than that, people have grown accustomed to personalized online experiences: from your Netflix recommended series, to personalized email marketing strategies – people expect to get something custom-made. And search is no different. A new rising trend is that people are treating search engines like personal advisors, seeking answers that are specifically tailored to their needs. So instead of someone now just searching for information anonymously, the increase of words like ‘me’ and ‘I’ in searches have grown over 60%.
For example, queries in the same format such as: “what kind of dog is right for me” or “what should I have for lunch” are gaining more traction than ever. Along with more personalization comes a notable increase in keyword length. People on search want answers as fast as possible, without putting too much effort into getting them. Therefore, by simply lengthening their query, they know they’ll find the best and most relevant answer. All the more reason for you to focus on these babies.
The answer to voice search queries
With the increasing rise of voice-activated devices, came an important change in the way people search the web. No longer does one have to actually type in words to get answers from search results. No, sir. Voice search optimization allows you to simply ask a question out loud – while you’re driving, baking or are literally too lazy to pick up your phone – and get the answer read out loud to you. Since more often than not we speak faster than we type, voice searches are often longer and more precise. Do you see where we’re going with this? You should by now. Adopting long tail keywords in your website SEO strategy will help you tackle those trendy voice queries.
One equals a plethora
Another fun characteristic of long tail keywords (and reason why they rock) is that there are many variations of a search term: “how to find long tail keywords”, or “how do I find long tail keywords”, “can I find long tail keywords” and the list goes on. Google is able to understand topical relevance pretty well by now, so essentially by targeting just one of those you are automatically targeting plenty others. The sum of those small volumes combined, can actually make one big volume for your topic. So maybe popularity is everything? 🤷
6 Easy ways to find long tail keywords
Now that we’ve understood why we need long tail keywords in our lives, let’s look at some ways to find those gems and some SEO tools you can use to help:
Google ‘searches related to’
It’s a fact: Google has all the answers. Even to the not so evident questions like how to find long tail keywords. Here’s how to go about it: enter a keyword around two to three words into Google, and scroll down to the bottom of the results page where you will see a section called ‘Searches related to’. These are queries that most probably people are searching for, but Google doesn’t have amazing content to show them. That’s exactly where you come in. You can take those keywords that appear and try to develop an article, video or any other piece of content you can think of around the topic.
Google strikes again! Essentially, when you start typing in a word, Google will automatically give you some long tail suggestions based on your search. And without even realising it, you’ve just hit the content jackpot. A plethora of long tail keyword suggestions right at your fingertips.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool by Google that is sort of like a command center for website owners. In the tool you get access to many different features that can help you optimize your website. However, what we’re looking for happens in the ‘Search Traffic’ section. Head to the ‘Search Analytics’ There you’ll be able to see which keywords are getting you clicks to your site. In the list, you may even be able to spot some long tail options that you can use. The added bonus here is that Google already understands that your website is relevant, but you might not be creating the best content for it (yet).
This is a handy tool to discover what people are asking about a certain topic. You just pop in any topic you can think of, and the tool will give you a huge list of questions and phrases around the subject. The list can serve as an inspiration to find really good long tail keywords that people actually search for.
This handy little Chrome extension will make it so that keyword search volumes appear literally everywhere – just like Starbucks coffee shops on a busy avenue in Manhattan. Usually used to find keyword volumes that are bigger – now is the time to work the other way around and find keywords that have a smaller volume. This tool, used alongside the others mentioned above can help you find those precious lower volume keywords.
Ubersuggest is another cool keyword tool that aggregates information from Google Keyword Planner as well as Google’s ‘searches related to’. Here too you can browse ideas for your inspiration that can serve as ideas for blog posts and more content, along with their search volumes.
How to use long tail keywords
So you’ve found some long tail words that you’d like to target. Great. Now, what do you do with them? The idea here is to create content for your website which will be the answer to the query. And this answer can come in multiple forms which we will show you below. For all of these types of pages that can be made, there are some key things to remember to make sure the content is optimized for the long tail keyword. It’s important to place the keyword in a few strategic places such as:
SEO title: This may take up the whole SEO title as you are limited to 60 characters. But if you’ve got some space left you can add adjectives to make it even more clickable. For example: 10 Effective Ways to Promote Your Website for Free
SEO description: Ensure that people know exactly what your page is about by including your long tail keyword here too.
URL: The essence of long tail keywords should appear in your URL. However, you should remove unnecessary prepositions.
In the text: Your long tail keyword should appear in the first paragraph of your text, and variations thereof should appear at least two or three times in your content.
Now that we’ve gone over that checklist, let’s see what kind of content can be created with these long tail keywords that will add value to your website.
Creating a blog is the most natural way of subtly using long tail keywords to your advantage, and will become the home of the majority of those detailed terms and phrases. Let’s say you own a beauty parlor in Brooklyn. Your blog can contain an array of topics: ranging from the best products to use, to hairstyle tutorials and more. Start by jotting down all the broad topics you can think of. For a beauty salon, these could be: hairstyles, makeup tutorial, facial cleanse, etc. Then use the methods above to find ideas, like this one “how to contour makeup tutorial”. And boom, you have your article topic! Now it’s time to let your creative writing juices flow. Don’t worry, we won’t leave you hanging here.
FAQ pages & product guides
Not everyone will know exactly how to use your product or service. And perhaps, they’re looking for this crucial advice online. Google Search Console can let you in on this handy information and find all the questions related to your product. Chances are, they are landing on your homepage. If this is the case, they may not be getting the most in-depth information about that product or service. A great way to tackle this is thanks to an FAQ page or a product guide.
Let’s say you run pilates studio, and offer special classes for elderly people or pregnant women. It could be that people online are asking: “can I do pilates after the age of 65?” or “is pilates safe if you’re pregnant?” All of these questions can be translated into a neat FAQ page that deals with these topics.
Or, maybe you sell a certain product that comes with an installation process that people are asking about online. Creating a dedicated product guide will provide users with the exact information they need, right then and there.
Dedicated landing pages
Going back to our pizza example, you may have discovered that in fact, by checking Google Search Console that a lot of people are getting to your website by searching for “vegan pizza delivery in NY after midnight”. You can take this query and perhaps even create a special offer for those late-night hungry people in need for some carbs, all while targeting those long tail keywords, for example, “50% off if you order after midnight”. Sounds like a pretty good deal to us!
For all of these website pages - FAQ pages, product guides, and dedicated landing pages - you’ll be able to customize your SEO metadata directly from within your Wix site’s dashboard. This means customizing how your content will appear on both search engines and social channels. And it’s all possible thanks to these advanced and intuitive SEO capabilities.
By Ruth Eschenheimer
SEO Content Specialist