Long Tail keywords
The concept of long tail keywords has been around for many years now, but it’s safe to say that many people (including SEOs!) fail to understand the importance of using long tail keywords on websites, as well as how to implement them correctly.
In this blog, I’ll provide a primer on long tail keywords and aim to reinforce the importance of using these keywords on your website.
What are long tail keywords?
Long tail keywords can be defined as those specific keywords that are heavily targeted towards the searcher’s intent. Some examples are “Size 9 Nike Pegasus shoe in black” or “Best Sushi restaurant in Bondi Junction”
To add to the apparent mystery of long tail keywords, I’d say there is still no universally agreed definition of what comprises that type of keyword. Instead, there are several characteristics that usually define a long tail keyword:
- Contains 4 or more words
- Low search volume (<100. Usually 1-50)
- Low competitiveness
- Descriptive terms
Why are long tail keywords important?
Long tail keywords are important, as they:
- Are how people actually search the internet
By incorporating long tail keywords you’re truly serving the searcher and answering their questions. This will often have the unintended benefit of a greater number of “featured snippets” and by using long tail keywords, you’re well on your way to optimising your site for the ever increasing voice search phenomenon
- Provide a higher conversion rate
We know that as long tail keywords are heavily targeted, they convert at a much higher level than “head” keywords. Most stats say 2x-3x higher. As per our example below, it makes sense that search terms that include the actual suburb or specific products will convert at a higher rate than generic terms.
- Are constantly emerging
15% of searches are new and have never been seen before. This means that every day, new long tail keywords are being used that have never been searched for. Think of news as an example. Whenever there is a current news story, search volume will commence by generating long tail keyword searches.
- Are the vast majority of searches
It’s been estimated that 70% of searches are long tail, which means that even though the search volume of each individual keyword is low (often 10-20 searches per month), combined they are the largest traffic source for a website
- Are easy to rank for
Long tail keywords aren’t super competitive and as a result, are relatively easy to rank for. As you can see from the example below, this key phrase doesn’t even have enough data for keyword difficulty, meaning it will be easy to rank for.
Why not just target the high volume “Head” keywords?
Using the aquarium example above, many website owners (and SEOs) would instantly target “Aquarium Supplies”, due to the high search volume, but this is problematic for a couple of reasons:
- It’s quite competitive and will be difficult to rank for that key phrase
- It’s not targeted. If I have an aquarium shop in the CBD of Sydney, what percentage of those 1,900 searchers per month (Australia wide) are actually looking for aquarium supplies in Sydney CBD? Only a fraction.
This causes a secondary problem, as many of these searchers will be drawn to the website, but will “bounce” (exit) rather quickly, as they are search for more local suppliers, indirectly resulting in lower rankings over time.
If you’re not making use of long tail keywords on your website, you are missing out! Many website owners frivolously chase “head” keywords (which they can’t rank highly for anyway!), believing the increased traffic brings them more conversions. This isn’t the case.
Especially for new websites and those that are still building their authority, it’s a better approach to target long tail keywords and over time, you’ll also be able to rank for the “middle” and “head” keywords.
Stay tuned for part 2 that details how to find and use long tail keywords.
Disagree? Questions? Feel free to comment!