You’ve likely heard before that keyword research is an important part of SEO. Keywords are the words or phrases that potential customers type into search engines like Google to find websites and content that answer their questions.
The catch is that not every searcher uses the same keywords to find information on the Internet. Some people are more specific in their search terms, which is why such keywords are called “long-tail” keywords. These aren’t broad terms like “hotel” or “restaurant,” but rather specific types of hotels or restaurants with even narrower descriptions. Examples include phrases like “hotel in san diego” or “asian fusion restaurant.”
This blog post covers five aspects of long-tail keywords you need to know to make the most of your SEO efforts. Read on to learn how to find long-tail keywords and use them to grow your business.
What Are Long-Tail Keywords?
Long-tail keywords are phrases comprised of two to three words or more and have a smaller search volume compared to head or broad keywords. A long-tail term indicates specific intent, as the searcher is looking for a detailed answer rather than any answer.
Long-tail keywords are different from head keywords, which are general, one or two-word queries that searchers use when looking for basic information. Examples include queries like “shoes” and generate hundreds of thousands of searches per month. Some search terms are even responsible for millions of searches in a month.
More examples of long-tail keywords include “hotels in Los Angeles,” “best restaurants in New York,” or “luxury hotels in Dubai.” They’re the types of keywords that, if you run a travel-related business, you’d want to rank for so that people can find your website and book a hotel room through it. People entering these search terms are looking for something specific, and your website can be the answer to their questions.
Though long-tail keywords have lower search volumes compared to head keywords, they’re easier to rank for. That’s because with long-tail keywords, you aren’t competing with as many other websites, and potential customers are looking for very specific information. As long as you choose keywords relevant to your business and implement them properly on your site, you can see large increases in both traffic and targeted leads.
Finding the Right Long-Tail Keywords for Your SEO Strategy
The first step to using long-tail keywords for your SEO strategy is finding the right ones. You can’t just choose any old keyword, even if it is a long-tail keyword. You have to find the best long-tail keyword for your industry and niche, otherwise, Google will see your content as irrelevant to your business as a whole.
Finding the best long-tail keywords for your website starts with excellent keyword research. You can do this either with free tools like Google Keyword Planner, UberSuggest, or Answer the Public or with paid keyword research tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush.
Most keyword research tools have features that allow you to filter keywords based on different parameters. For example, you can filter keywords based on search volume, competition, and search intent (informational, navigation, transactional, and commercial).
You should also narrow down your keywords based on your content marketing goals and the types of content relevant to your audience. For example, if you sell environmentally friendly cleaning products, keywords like “green cleaning” or “eco-friendly cleaning” are smart to look into. If you sell sporting goods and equipment, keywords like “sporting goods for groups” and “wholesale sporting goods” may be a good place to start.
3 More Ideas to Find Great Long-Tail Keywords for Your Website
If you’re having a harder time getting off the ground with keyword research, there are more ways to find the right long-tail terms for your website and niche. We’ll look at a few methods below:
- Brainstorming. If you want to find new valuable long-tail keywords, the easiest way to do so is by brainstorming. This is when you come up with lots of ideas or “what if” scenarios. For example, if you sell baseball bats, you could brainstorm keywords like “best youth baseball bats” or “best wood baseball bats for beginners.” You can also brainstorm long-tail keywords using the “what if” technique, where you ask yourself “what if” a certain product or service existed. If you sell baseball bats, for example, you could ask yourself: What if there were baseball bats made out of sustainable materials? What if there were baseball bats that are specially designed for kids? Both of these types of bats exist, but the point is you’ll find keyword opportunities much faster by thinking about every possible angle.
- SERP analysis. Strangely enough, many marketers and business owners think you can only find keyword ideas in keyword research tool dashboards. While this is a great place to start, it’s hardly the only place to find keyword opportunities. Plug in a few terms that your audience may be looking for in Google and see what the search engine results pages (SERPs) bring up. You may see blog posts and site headers you never thought of before. You may also come across featured snippets or rich results that prompt ideas you’ve never considered from an SEO perspective.
- Competitive research. If you still don’t have enough keyword ideas, an SEO competitor analysis will get the job done. Use your SEO keyword research tool to see what top competitors are ranking for, or look on their blog to see what they’re writing posts about. Both methods will net you several dozen new keyword ideas to leverage, in most cases.
How to Use Long-Tail Keywords In Your SEO Strategy
There are a few ways to use long-tail keywords in your SEO strategy. Here are the most important:
- Use long-tail keywords in your content. Take those long-tail keywords you found using one of the methods above and add them throughout your content. It’s smart to have your primary keyword used in about one to two percent of your total content word count.
- Use long-tail keywords in your page’s H1 and URL slug. Let’s say you have a home appliance repair business, so you blog about common solutions and consumer tips. Your blog title may be “Top 7 Fixes for Common Refrigerator Problems,” so your URL slug should be “top-7-fixes-for-common-refrigerator-problems.”
- Use long-tail keywords in your on-page SEO elements. You should optimize for long-tail keyword use in your page’s title tag, meta description, image alt text, and the anchor text for other pages you link to. Keep in mind not to overuse keywords, though. Primary keyword use that’s more than two percent of a page’s content is deemed keyword stuffing by Google and other search engine algorithms What’s important is that you’re using them naturally in your content and that they’re relevant to the blog post or page that you’re publishing.
2 Important Things to Remember About Long-Tail Keywords
There are crucial factors to keep in mind when perfecting your long-tail keyword research process. One, remember to only use long-tail keywords that are relevant to your content. If you’re writing an article about baseball bats, don’t use long-tail keywords like “youth soccer cleats” or “golf clubs for sale.” People won’t click on those posts and you won’t get any traffic.
Two, long-tail keywords are not a silver bullet for SEO. They’re helpful for ranking your website’s pages and content, but you also need to make sure you’re doing other SEO best practices, like using anchor text correctly with internal link building and building high-quaity backlinks to your website.
The Bottom Line
Long-tail keywords are more specific search terms that have lower search volumes compared to broad keywords. They’re easier to rank for since you’re only competing with a smaller number of websites, and people are looking for very specific information. Here’s a recap of everything we covered in this blog post:
- Long tail keywords are lengthier terms people enter in search engines to find details answers to questions. They differ from head terms, which are shorter phrases and have much higher search volumes. As a result, long-tail keywords are easier to rank for.
- Start your long-tail keyword research process with a keyword research tool. Paid tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs as well as free tools like Answer the Public are great places to start.
- If you’re still having trouble coming up with long-tail keywords, brainstorm possibilities and look at your competitors. Chances are there are dozens of keywords out there that you haven’t written content for yet.
- When you have keywords ready to use, apply them consistently throughout your SEO strategy. Don’t simply use them in your content; make sure your H1, title, and meta tags are optimized too.
- Remember that long-tail keyword research isn’t a silver bullet. though they are critical, long-tail keyword use is simply one part of an SEO strategy that includes backlink building, refreshing old content, and proper use of anchor text with internal links.
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