Updated: Jul 2
Keywords are the foundation of any successful SEO strategy. They are the words and phrases that users enter into search engines to find information, products, or services. Traditionally, website owners focused on short tail keywords, which are concise and generic terms that receive a high volume of search traffic. However, with the increasing competitiveness of the online landscape, targeting long tail keywords has become a valuable approach to drive targeted traffic and improve conversion rates.
Understanding the basics of keywords
Before delving into long tail keywords, let's first understand the basics of keywords in SEO. Keywords are specific words or phrases that reflect the main topics or concepts of a webpage's content. They help search engines understand the relevance and context of a page, enabling them to match it with user queries effectively. Keywords can be classified into different types, such as short tail, long tail, generic, and branded.
What are long tail keywords?
Long tail keywords are longer, more specific phrases that are less frequently searched but highly relevant to a particular niche or topic. Unlike short tail keywords, long tail keywords typically consist of three or more words, providing a more specific search intent. For example, while a short tail keyword might be "shoes," a long tail keyword could be "comfortable running shoes for flat feet." Long tail keywords are often more descriptive and reflect the specific needs or preferences of users.
Benefits of using long tail keywords
Using long tail keywords in your SEO strategy offers several advantages over targeting short tail keywords exclusively. Here are some benefits to consider:
1. Lower competition: Long tail keywords usually have lower search volumes compared to short tail keywords. As a result, they face less competition from other websites trying to rank for the same keyword. This presents an opportunity for your website to stand out and achieve higher rankings in search engine results.
2. Higher conversion rates: Long tail keywords are often more specific and indicative of users' intent. When users search using long tail keywords, they have a clearer idea of what they are looking for. By targeting these keywords, you can attract highly relevant traffic to your website, increasing the chances of conversion and achieving your desired goals, such as making a purchase or filling out a contact form.
3. Targeted traffic: Long tail keywords enable you to target a specific audience or niche. These keywords are often used by users who are further along the conversion funnel and have a higher likelihood of taking action. By aligning your content with their search intent, you can attract highly targeted traffic that is more likely to engage with your website and convert.
4. Improved user experience: By focusing on long tail keywords, you can create content that directly addresses the specific needs and queries of your target audience. This enhances the user experience by providing relevant and valuable information, increasing the chances of user satisfaction and engagement. When users find your content helpful, they are more likely to spend more time on your site, explore other pages, and become repeat visitors.
How to find long tail keywords
Finding the right long tail keywords requires thorough research and analysis. Here are some strategies and tools to help you discover relevant long tail keywords:
1. Conducting keyword research: Start by brainstorming potential long tail keywords related to your niche. Consider the specific topics, questions, or problems your target audience may have. Use keyword research tools to expand your list and identify the search volumes and competition levels for each keyword.
2. Using keyword research tools: Tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Moz Keyword Explorer can provide valuable insights into keyword search volumes, competition, and related keywords. These tools can help you identify long tail keywords with decent search volumes and lower competition, allowing you to prioritize them in your content strategy.
3. Analyzing competitor keywords: Look at the keywords your competitors are targeting in their content. Tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs can provide you with information on the keywords your competitors are ranking for. Analyzing their keywords can give you ideas for potential long tail keywords to target and help you uncover untapped opportunities.
4. Analyzing search intent: Understanding the intent behind a user's search query is crucial for effective keyword targeting. Analyze the search results for your target keywords to determine the type of content that ranks well. Are the top results informational, transactional, or navigational? By aligning your content with the search intent of your target audience, you can increase the relevance and visibility of your website.
Strategies for optimizing content with long tail keywords
Once you have identified relevant long tail keywords, it's essential to incorporate them strategically into your content. Here are some strategies for optimizing your content with long tail keywords:
1. Incorporating long tail keywords in titles and headings: Place your primary long tail keyword in the title tag of your webpage to signal its relevance to search engines. Additionally, use long tail keywords in subheadings (H2, H3) throughout your content to enhance its structure and improve readability.
2. Writing high-quality, relevant content: Create comprehensive, informative, and engaging content that fully addresses the user's query. Ensure that your content provides value, answers questions, and solves problems related to the long tail keywords you are targeting. High-quality content not only attracts users but also encourages them to share and link back to your website, boosting its visibility and authority.
3. Optimizing meta tags and descriptions: Incorporate your long tail keywords naturally into the meta title and meta description of your webpages. These elements appear in search engine results and play a crucial role in attracting clicks from users. Craft compelling and descriptive meta tags that accurately represent the content of your page and entice users to click through.
4. Building internal and external links: Include internal links within your content to guide users to related pages on your website. Internal linking helps search engines understand the structure of your website and establishes connections between relevant content. Additionally, seek opportunities to acquire external links from reputable websites. When other websites link to your content, it signals to search engines that your content is valuable and authoritative.
Monitoring and evaluating the performance of long tail keywords
After implementing your long tail keyword strategy, it's important to monitor and evaluate the performance of your targeted keywords. Here are some key metrics to consider:
1. Tracking keyword rankings: Regularly monitor the rankings of your targeted long tail keywords in search engine results. Tools like Google Search Console and SEMrush can provide insights into your keyword rankings and fluctuations over time. Identify any improvements or areas for optimization.
2. Analyzing organic traffic: Examine the organic traffic to your website and identify the specific sources of traffic related to your long tail keywords. Analyze user behavior, such as time spent on page, bounce rate, and conversion rates, to determine the effectiveness of your content in attracting and engaging targeted visitors.
3. Monitoring user engagement metrics: Pay attention to user engagement metrics, such as click-through rates, average session duration, and social shares. These metrics indicate how users are interacting with your content and whether it is resonating with your target audience. Adjust your content strategy based on the insights gained from user engagement data.
4. Making adjustments based on data: Continuously analyze the data and metrics related to your long tail keywords. Identify any patterns, trends, or areas for improvement. Make adjustments to your content, keyword targeting, and SEO strategies based on the insights gained. Optimization is an ongoing process that requires adapting to changes in search engine algorithms and user behavior.
1. Are long tail keywords better than short tail keywords? Both long tail and short tail keywords have their advantages. Long tail keywords are often less competitive and can drive highly targeted traffic, while short tail keywords have higher search volumes. The best approach depends on your specific goals and target audience.
2. How many long tail keywords should I target in my content? The number of long tail keywords you should target depends on the size and scope of your website, as well as your content strategy. It's important to strike a balance between targeting enough keywords to attract diverse traffic and maintaining focus on relevant topics. Start with a manageable number and expand as you see results.
3. Can I rank for competitive keywords with long tail variations? Ranking for highly competitive keywords can be challenging, but targeting long tail variations can still be beneficial. Long tail keywords often have lower competition, allowing you to carve out a niche and attract relevant traffic. Additionally, ranking for long tail variations can gradually build your website's authority and visibility.
4. Should I prioritize long tail keywords for my SEO strategy? Including long tail keywords in your SEO strategy is highly recommended. Long tail keywords provide an opportunity to target specific user intent, attract relevant traffic, and improve conversion rates. By prioritizing long tail keywords, you can optimize your content for higher visibility and engagement.
5. How often should I update my long tail keyword list? Regularly reviewing and updating your long tail keyword list is essential for staying relevant and competitive. As search trends and user behavior evolve, new long tail keywords may emerge, while some existing keywords may become less effective. Set aside time periodically to conduct keyword research and refresh your keyword list to ensure its effectiveness.