Search Engine Optimization can help capture the mindshare of potential customers and give your business the much needed visibility, traffic, and credibility necessary for success in today’s competitive digital landscape. In SEO, keywords are indexed by the search engine to work as a bridge between your brand and your target audience. When prospects perform search for words or phrases, if your site is well- optimized, your pages will show up higher in the search results. Has your business been looking to improve its rank in Google, only to come up short? Maybe you are making the common mistake of going after popular keywords that are too competitive. Whether running an online shop, creating content for a blog, or searching topics for the company’s website, webmasters and bloggers spend hours looking for the right keywords as part of their SEO strategy to get more business traffic and find targeted customers.
Having a thorough understanding of which keywords are relevant enough to perform for your site is the cornerstone of SEO. The concept of long-tail keywords has made a stunning comeback in search marketing due to recent alterations in Google Panda and Penguin algorithms. While it is tempting to target core keywords with huge traffic numbers for a slice of the volume, you should also account for the fierce competition which makes it extremely difficult to generate any traffic. Moreover, latest search trends seem to indicate that more searchers are typing in long-tail search phrases in the search bar instead of simple words to find what they’re looking for. Therefore it is imperative to integrate relevant, rankable long-tail keywords along with high-volume keywords into your marketing campaign. Long-tail keywords can identify less competitive markets to narrow your focus thus enabling your content to rank higher in front of the right people.
What Are Long-Tail Keywords?
Long-tail keywords are longer (containing 3 or more words) and are more specific keywords/key phrases than the more popular and commonly searched ‘head’ keywords. It generally has a generic head term that is searchable on its own, combined with something highly specific. Long-tail keywords are generally made up of a few relevant phrases about the services of products you offer and they are more accurately focused on the searcher’s intent. These long-tail keywords make up a wide and less competitive spectrum and though they may get less search traffic, they have a higher conversion value because of their specific focus. In other words, they help you reach a more targeted prospect that may be further down the sales funnel than someone using generic head keywords. Now that informative content has become more important in achieving good search engine rank and quality traffic, webmasters are keen to get more organic visits by targeting long-tail keywords.
To understand long-tail keywords, let’s take an example of the keyword “cars”. This is a very popular general search term but it is also a highly competitive keyword for Pay Per Click ads and also for higher rankings in search results. Performing a Google search will show that the top slots for this term go to sites like Autotrader and Cars.com. It may prove too difficult for a smaller site or blog with limited budget to out rank them. So what should be your next step, if you cannot surpass the top rank for the head term “cars”? You can make a combination of words by tails to the existing keyword in order to narrow down your competition. For example, “new and used cars for sale,” “used midsize SUVs”, “best used midsize SUVs for sale in New York, NY.” Adding these extra words around your head term will allow you to rank higher and find a more targeted prospect.
Why Should You Use Long-Tail Keywords?
The big brands have optimized the short-tail keywords and there is almost no chance of being able to compete there. It may be a blessing in disguise because if you concentrate on unique long-tail keywords specific to your business then you can ace the organic search market results.
1. Long-Tail Keywords Result In More Targeted Visits
The users typing in long-tail keywords to search for something more specific can be considered more targeted. Long-tail keywords can be used to not just funnel in targeted traffic, but also to catch customers at a more latter stage in the purchasing process, where they already know exactly what they are looking for. A long-tail keyword phrase filters options for these targeted searchers. When using ‘buying’ or ‘action’ long-tail keywords, people are more likely to perform an action or convert. For instance if you are in the mortgage space the keyword ‘mortgage’ is going to very competitive in both search volume and PPC costs. If the keyword ‘mortgage’ is too expensive to target, then you can look at the subset of mortgage niche terms, such as ‘mortgage for bad credit’ or ‘second home mortgage,’ as long-tail keywords to optimize for. These long-tail keywords can be combined to bring in visitors who are not just looking for general information but are also focused on specific needs. With properly researched long-tail keywords you can get to the top of the SEO game and build huge search volume of highly targeted traffic.
2. Much Less Competition For Long-Tail Keywords
Search marketers often concentrate on keyword volume without paying much heed to keyword competition. The focus should rather be on winning targeted traffic and ranking higher in the search engine results page, with less competitive keywords. There is intense competition for high volume keywords so it is very difficult to win one of the top positions. Instead, well researched, low volume, and focused long-tail keyword phrases provide a better opportunity to rank higher in the SERPs and can also help bring quality traffic from the search results to your site.
3. Higher Conversions With Long-Tail Keywords
The ultimate benefit of using long-tail keywords is attracting quality visitors. This is especially vital when running a PPC campaign with high per click values because you are not just looking for the volume of traffic but for conversions. Long-tail keywords generally have better conversion rates because they are specifically targeted at visitors looking to take action. Whereas short keywords or head keywords generally target a section of the entire internet, long-tail keywords help you get a significant stake in a niche area, resulting in more profits.
4. Build Website Authority With Long-Tail Keywords
With the recent changes in Google algorithm, using long-tail keywords to rank higher in search engine results has become a vital strategy in gaining validity for your brand. The more indexed pages in Google and first page placements you get for any important keyword, the better your chances are at gaining website authority and trust. While this is not the only factor in establishing your authority online, good SEO and more first place placements can give you a leg up in that direction.
5. Relevant Long-Tail Keywords
The volume for long-tail keywords may be low and there may be value to be found in less competition but it is also important to select relevant long-tail keywords. To help you identify such phrases, keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Long-Tail Pro or SEMrush may be of assistance to you. You can even find keyword phrases from your own website’s logs to expand your site and also to create content around the least competitive, relevant keywords that align well. You can also improve your opportunity to rank higher for those long-tail keywords by properly tagging your headers, pictures, and your content so that search engines can easily identify your content as relevant.
Get Started Today
The future of online searches is really unpredictable but people will always prefer something similar to human communication when performing searches, than traditionally searching core keywords. You can start to gain rankings and traffic by building a strong website that consistently incorporates top quality content for long-tail keywords. It may take a little extra time and effort to discover long-tail keywords that work for your brand but if you manage to identify and optimize them for search engines it will definitely bring you a steady stream of targeted traffic. This long lasting and positive impact is reason enough to start optimizing your content for long-tail keyword phrases right away!