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How to use long-tail keywords and why you should

an image of author crystal carter, accompanied by search-related iconography

You’ve done your keyword research, you’ve got a good understanding of what long-tail keywords are, but how do you actually use them?


The basic idea here is to create content that answers the niche questions your audience is asking. There are multiple ways you can do this, from on-page tactics to creating various page types to strategic content refreshes. 


Let’s learn how you can apply long-tail keywords to improve your SEO and provide users with a path to conversion.


Table of contents:




Where should you use long-tail keywords on your website?

A chart showing competition on the Y-axis and amount of keywords on the X-axis. As keywords increase, competition decreases, illustrating the difference between short and long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords can show up in any part of the marketing funnel, making them suitable targets for many different types of webpages. 


At the top of the funnel, these terms support highly engaging informational blogs. At the bottom of the funnel, programmatic SEO techniques make it easy to create product pages for specific queries. Top uses for long-tail keywords include:


  • On-page SEO and meta tags

  • Targeted blog posts

  • FAQ pages & product guides

  • Dedicated landing pages

  • Multimedia content

  • Optimized product & category pages

  • Content refreshes


On-page SEO and meta tags


First things first: Cover the basics by integrating your long-tail keywords into your on-page SEO. Whether you use programmatic methods, settings with bulk SEO tools, or carry this out manually, do not overlook these optimizations. 

It’s important to place your keywords in a few strategic places, including:


  • Title tag: Tempt users to click through from the search results by addressing their niche intent in your title tag. This also helps Google better understand your long-tail content.

  • Meta description: Ensure that people know exactly what your page is about by including your long-tail keyword in your meta description.

  • URL: The essence of long-tail keywords should appear in your URL. Make sure to remove unnecessary prepositions.

  • In the main content: Your long-tail keyword should appear in the first paragraph of your main content, and variations thereof should appear at least two or three times in your content.

  • Link anchor text: The anchor text for your internal links provides important information to search engines. Use long-tail keywords in anchor text pointing to the long-tail content you’ve created.

  • Headings: Whether the long-tail keywords are the main topic of the page or a subsection of the page, include your long-tail term in H1s and/or H2s for your page.



Now that we’ve gone over the basic on-page usages, let’s look at the types of content you can create with these long-tail keywords that will add value for your website and its users.


Targeted blog posts


A blog is the most natural way to use long-tail keywords and it will become the home of the majority of those detailed terms and phrases. 


Let’s say you own a beauty parlor. Your blog can include an array of relevant topics, ranging from the best products to use, to hairstyle tutorials, and more. 


Start by jotting down all the broad topics your audience is likely to care about. Next, identify subtopics (based on your broader topics), either using search tools or your own knowledge of your audience.



FAQ pages & product guides


Not everyone will know exactly how to use your product or service. And perhaps, they’re looking for this crucial information online. 


Let’s say you run a pilates studio and offer special classes for pregnant women or the elderly. Potential customers might ask, “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, perhaps you sell a certain product that comes with a detailed installation process. You can create a dedicated product guide that provides users with the exact information, which can help you convince customers to buy while improving your website’s SEO.


An example of an FAQ section for a chocolate website.There are questions like “Does Fox Fudge travel well in hot weather?”
An example of an FAQ section.

Google Search Console can help you find all the questions searchers are asking related to your offerings. If your website doesn’t cover all the topics searchers are coming to you for, consider creating that long-tail content for them.


Dedicated landing pages


Create dedicated landing pages for long-tail keywords to add some extra flexibility to your digital marketing approach.


An infographic titled “how long-tail keywords landing pages support campaigns”

If you are incorporating PPC or other paid media into your marketing mix, then you can create dedicated landing pages for long-tail keywords to improve the quality of your ad campaigns, reduce ad spend, and improve your conversion rates. This is because you can focus your ad spend on highly targeted queries rather than broader terms (which may bring in irrelevant traffic). 


Similarly, local SEO teams can create long-tail keyword content with location modifiers to connect with users that have needs that are specific to their area. 


For instance, you may have discovered that a lot of people are getting to your website by searching for [vegan pizza delivery in Brooklyn after midnight]. You can take this query, create a landing page and perhaps even create a special offer for these searchers. This page could be shared on highly targeted social media channels, as a GBP post, or even as targeted ads for users that match the affinity, intent, location and time frame for that query.


An infographic titled “Anatomy of a long tail keyword.” The example long-tail keyword is “Vegan pizza delivery in Broorkly after midnight.” Vegan indicates affinity, pizza delivery indicates intent, Brooklyn indicates location, and midnight indicates timescale. All this information can be applied for various marketing purposes, including on-page SEO, ad audiences, user journey segmentation, etc.

Multimedia content


Content like podcasts, videos, webinars, and infographics create lots of opportunities to explore long-tail topics. This kind of content opens up new distribution channels to connect with audiences in additional ways. And, using multimedia also means that you can easily embed this content into related content. 


For instance, if you had a blog post about chocolate ice cream, you could create an infographic about organic sugar-free chocolate ice cream that would enhance the main article but also address the long-tail keyword.


An infographic titled “1:1 powdered sugar replacement” showing the amount of stevia required to replace a teaspoon of sugar.

If you had an article for the long-tail topic, you could use the infographic on that page as well.


Optimized product & category pages


Product pages are highly targeted, making them a great place to include long-tail keywords. It's not uncommon on Amazon and other top-ranked eCommerce websites to see a product description or title that is extremely specific and includes lots of different attributes for the product.


An image of the google search results for “side lifting ottoman bed with mattress” showing a search listing titled “side opening ottoman bed optional mattress”


These product descriptions tap into long-tail keywords and help ensure that users that are looking for something highly specific are able to discover these unique products.


Long-tail content for eCommerce is often done via programmatic SEO methods, which allow pages to be created at scale. Not only does this make for more precise product landing pages, but it also means that programmatic SEOs can respond quickly to emerging product trends and client needs.


Content refreshes


When you discover long-tail keyword opportunities via user-first research, site search, or other methods, you don’t always need to create a brand new page to satisfy the user’s needs. 


Incorporating long-tail keywords into your content refresh plans can help you keep your content relevant and connect with new users. 


Long-tail keywords often focus on specific aspects of a topic or product, so they can inform product description sections, new header tags on blog posts, or even your about page. Update your content with long-tail keywords to add new relevance to existing content, which not only refreshes the page, but can help signal new relevance to Google, too.


Why should you use long-tail keywords?


You should include long-tail keywords in your SEO content strategy because they help you target more specific topics and high-intent users. This has a number of benefits for your business and its SEO.


Lower competition

Most people researching keywords for their pages try to catch the big fish (i.e., big search volume). Generally speaking, 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 harder to take on that challenge. However, the game changes when there are fewer players involved. 


Because long-tail keywords have a lower amount of monthly searches (sometimes this can even be zero, according to SEO tools), they can be much easier to rank for. This strategy, blended with trending keyword topics, can yield significant gains.


Better conversion rates

You know that every conversion counts. And to a certain extent, the more “niched down” the query is, the more qualified the user is as a potential customer (meaning that web traffic to long-tail content may be lower than for head terms, but these searchers are more likely to know what they want). 


For example:


  • Scenario 1 — Let’s say that your website attracts 100 people per day from search results for broad keywords. Out of those 100, about three people purchase a product or send an inquiry email. Your conversation rate would then be 3%.


  • Scenario 2 — Twenty people find your page by searching for long-tail keywords that you rank for. Out of those 20, three people convert into paying customers. Just like that, your conversion rate becomes 15%. In this situation, every 100 people that arrive on the site would generate 5x more conversions than for the more broad term. 


This improved efficiency can help you reach your business goals without having to necessarily create and maintain large amounts of content.


Better click-through rates

Ranking is only one part of the equation—you also need to convince searchers to click through on your listing from the search results.


By addressing very specific topics (using precise long-tail keywords in your content, page titles, and meta descriptions), you can filter out searchers with less relevant keyword intent, therefore increasing your click-through rate.


Whether Google looks at CTR as a signal of whether your site matches a given query (which is contentious), it’s better to focus on click-through rate as a measure of proper intent matching than it is to prioritize it in order to increase rankings.


Personalized search experience alignment

Recently, more people are treating search engines like personal advisors, seeking answers that are specifically tailored to their needs. So instead of someone searching for information anonymously, people are using words like “me” and “I,” with mobile searches including the qualifier “for me” growing over 60% between 2016–2018, according to Google.


Along with more personalization comes a notable increase in keyword length. Searchers 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, which is all the more reason for you to focus on those longer, more specific keywords.


Semantic variety

Another valuable characteristic of long-tail keywords is that there can be many variations of a search term:


  • [how to find long-tail keywords]

  • [how do I find long-tail keywords]

  • [can I find long-tail keywords] 

  • Etc. 


Semantic advances in machine learning help Google understand topical relevance, so by targeting just one of those long-tail queries, you are automatically targeting plenty of other, similar queries. The sum of those small volumes combined can actually amount to a large volume for your topic. 


Additionally, the specificity of the term can make it much easier for search engines to recognize the entities within the keyword and send more relevant traffic to you for related terms.


Generative search alignment

Generative search (e.g., Bing’s CoPilot, Google’s Gemini, Perplexity, and even Google’s SGE) thrives on long-tail terms.


Google’s Gemini answering “In crochet, how do you keep the lines straight if you want to start a new row on a scarf?” with an AI-generated answer.

This means that these tools encourage longer queries. In the case of Bing CoPilot’s, the search bar allows for up to 4,000 characters per query. 


Users adapt to the technologies available to them, so it makes sense that they will change the way they query information around the web to get the most out of these tools. As a result, websites that are able to better address long-tail queries are more likely to thrive.


Considerations for your long-tail keyword strategy


Long-tail keywords can be an incredibly effective part of your overall SEO strategy; however, there are some challenges that you should take into consideration when adopting this approach.


For those who want to achieve high velocity of traffic (i.e., gain a significant amount of traffic in a short amount of time), long-tail content can be challenging because:


  • You may need a large volume of content to get traffic that is relevant enough to push you into the SERP in a meaningful way. Publishing a few blogs on long-tail topics per month may not yield results immediately. However, this approach can be an essential part of a long-term SEO content strategy.

  • Creating long-tail content may require a lot of time and resources. Even with the aid of automation techniques and generative AI tools like ChatGPT, you will need to ensure each piece of long-tail content plays a strategic part in your user journey in order to manage your resources efficiently.

  • Pairing long-tail content with additional SEO and marketing strategies (like topic clustering from large volume head terms, search ads, and/or content repurposing) can help you get impact more quickly.


Essentially, the nature of long-tail keywords is that they are not a sprint but a marathon, so it’s worth setting the proper expectations for clients and stakeholders.


The future is long tail


Google has repeatedly stated that 15% of all queries are brand new (never been searched before), with long-tail keywords making up the vast majority. That means that these niche queries represent fresh opportunities for your brand to sidestep big competition, increase conversion rate, and achieve better SEO without necessarily having to create volumes and volumes of content.


 

Crystal Carter

Crystal is an SEO & digital marketing professional with over 15 years of experience. Her global business clients have included Disney, McDonalds, and Tomy. An avid SEO communicator, her work has been featured at Google Search Central, Brighton SEO, Moz, DeepCrawl, Semrush, and more. Twitter | Linkedin


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