Over 70% of search queries are made up of long-tail keywords while the other 30% consist of head keywords
If you are ignoring long-tail keywords then you are ignoring 70% of the search traffic.
Head keywords are harder to rank for. It takes a lot of time and effort to outrank your competition because mostly bigger brands are competing with your site for short-tail or head keywords.
On the other hand, long-tail keywords are easier to rank for because they consist of specific topics that less people write about. There is less competition, no fear of bigger brands outranking you, and you can easily bring in more traffic to your site.
Long-tail keywords are 3-5-word phrases with low search volume that are used to capture relevant traffic to a website. They target niche audiences instead of mass audiences.
Some examples of long-tail keywords are:
The basic aim of long-tail keywords is to match the exact intent of the searcher and provide the right information to them as fast as possible.
When people use long-tail keywords in their search queries, they are being very specific regarding their needs. So featuring your website at the top of the search results for such specific keywords offers more opportunities for conversions.
Long-tail is a clear winner when you compare short-tail with long-tail keywords because they have:
Interestingly, Amazon generates 57% of it sales from long-tail keywords:
If you follow Amazon's example and target long-tail keywords, that will help you optimize your website for the most motivated customers, resulting in maximum conversions.
Here are the top reasons why you must definitely use long-tail keywords in your SEO campaign:
One of the biggest advantages that long-tail keywords offer is that they are easier to rank for. The reason why they are easier to rank for is because the competition is less.
There are fewer pages competing for long-tail keywords and as such your webpage will easily rank on top if it has user-intent-focused unique content and the page is able to acquire a few quality links.
It’s no wonder that long-tail keywords convert 2.5X higher than head keywords: Long-tail keywords are always focused on a single user intent.
A person searching on Google with a broad keyword like “buy dresses” isn’t clear regarding his/her needs. Hence, the chances of getting conversion from such keywords is less likely.
On the contrary, a person searching with a query like “buy mens t-shirt under $100” is extremely specific regarding his/her needs and the conversion chances for such keywords is always high. That's why the average conversion rate for a long-tail keyword is around 36%:
Not many SEOers think of this, but yes, it’s actually true that long-tail keywords help head keywords rank faster. How is this possible?
Long-tail keywords help you acquire more traffic by allowing your site to rank for a higher number of niche-specific keywords.
When traffic to the website increases, people link back to your site more often and Google considers your site to be a niche authority. This way your site is able to rank for the more competitive short-tail keywords.
If you are competing in highly popular industries like travel, shopping or food, then you are competing with some of the top brands of this world like Expedia, Amazon, the Food Network, etc.
In that case, your site won’t be able to rank for head keywords at first because you need to build up your site authority by adding pages to your site and by acquiring high-authority links. This is a long process and will take months and months of effort.
So how will you able to show your SEO success to your client? With long-tail keywords. You can choose a set of long-tail keywords related to your niche and promote your site accordingly:
Soon you will be able to start ranking for less competitive long-tail keywords and traffic will start flowing to your site. This will make both you and your client happy!
Everyone in the industry is aware of the success of content marketing – and SEO and content go hand in hand.
The biggest power behind the absolute success of content marketing is your blog. When you think of blogs, you should think about long-tail keywords.
Blogging 20 times or more each month helps bring in more traffic. Have a look at the below chart that displays the impact of blog posts on inbound traffic. If your blog post count increases to 401+ then your traffic is almost doubled:
Niche blogs do well and bring in high-value traffic that is able to convert faster. Long-tail keywords are the best to target on your blog. Simply research some of the best long-tail keywords in your industry and prepare high-quality blog posts on it.
Just by following this strategy of publishing blog posts that focus on long-tail keywords, your website will acquire tons of relevant traffic.
The future of SEO is voice search. By 2020, around 30% of all searches will be conducted without a screen:
Long-tail keywords are your best bet for optimizing your site for voice search. The reason? Voice commands comprise of 4-5 words or more – which is a long-tail keyword.
When someone searches with the help of Google Assistant, Siri or Amazon Echo, they use commands like “Which is the highest mountain in this world?”, “Which are the best shoe stores near me?”, “How do you prepare a chocolate cake?”, “How do I set up a tripod?” and so on.
Such queries are naturally long-tail and if you start optimizing your website for these kinds of searches, then in the future your website will start to rank on top for voice searches.
Featured snippets are also known as “answer boxes”. When you optimize your website for long-tail keywords, the chances of your website getting ranked in the featured snippet also increases.
Have a look at the below screenshot that displays how Shopify is able to acquire a placement under featured snippets for the long-tail keyword
You can prepare a list of long-tail keywords based on question searches, because those have a better chance of returning a featured snippet. Optimize your website by improving content relevancy and get it ranked under featured snippets.
A study by Ahrefs revealed that 8.6% of clicks goes to the featured snippet, meaning that you would be able to easily acquire about 8% extra search traffic for every long-tail keyword if you are able to make it to the featured snippet:
When your website starts acquiring more traffic, then the chances of acquiring links also increases.
According to Search Engine People, the number of clicks on the first result of the SERPs is about 33%, the second position gets about 15% and result number three gets about 9% of clicks:
Let’s consider a scenario: you create 100 blog posts that focus on long-tail keywords and they start to rank in the top 10. Slowly and gradually you start acquiring more traffic to your site.
Your pages that rank in the top 10, especially under the top three positions, are able to acquire more links naturally because people are constantly searching for them, clicking on them and linking back to them.
In a study of 1.9 billion keywords conducted by Ahrefs, it was found that around 29.13% of keywords with 10,001+ monthly searches consists of three or more words – which means that long-tail keywords aren’t low on search volume as most of the SEOers think:
You can easily prepare a list of decent volume long-tail keywords to power up your SEO strategy and increase conversions.
Here are some great ways to find the best long-tail keywords for your SEO campaign:
You can use the Google’s autocomplete or the related searches feature to find long-tail keywords of your choice. This is perhaps my favorite strategy for finding relevant long-tail searches.
Simply type in your main money keyword and look at the searches suggested by Google:
Similarly, you can see a list of related searches presented by Google at the bottom of the search page
Google suggests a few important long-tail keywords related to “how to keep bees” like “starting a beehive with packaged bees” or “raising bees for beginners”. These are excellent search terms if you are looking to promote your business related to bee keeping.
Whatever the niche, Google autocomplete and related searches always provide the best option to find high-quality and relevant keywords related to your business.
Quora is a powerhouse of information. The biggest advantage with Quora is that the content is written by users themselves and therefore the relevancy and uniqueness of content remains unmatched.
Simply enter your main keyword on Quora and search for the questions that people have asked. You will be amazed to find so many relevant long-tail question-based keywords related to your niche.
Also, Quora suggests the top questions asked by people related to your business by looking at your search history. You are never short of keyword ideas because you can simply login to Quora and see a list of questions waiting for you. Just pick some of those and start preparing your next article around it. Easy, isn’t it?
For example, when I search on Quora with keywords related to marketing, I get keyword suggestions like:
These are great topics for my next blog post focused on a long-tail keyword.
Both Ubersuggest and Answer the Public are awesome keyword research tools that let you find relevant long-tail keywords in seconds.
The best part is that both these tools are free to use. Answer the Public displays all the possible question-based keywords that your potential customers might ask when searching on Google, while Ubersuggest displays all the long-tail keywords whether they are question based or not.
Simply visit Ubersuggest, enter your main money keyword in the search bar and hit search:
Then click on “Keyword Ideas” on the left side to see lots of relevant long-tail keyword ideas and also tell you whether they are easy to rank for or not:
Similarly, visit Answer the Public and enter your keyword in the search bar. For example, for a keyword like “link building”, it displays about 63 long-tail question based keywords:
Ahrefs Site Explorer is another great tool to find fruitful long-tail keywords.
Log in to Ahrefs and enter the domain of your closest competitor in the search bar. Move to the “organic keywords report” located in the left side bar. Apply a filter for displaying keywords with low search volumes.
This is a simple and a great way to find long-tail keywords that your competitors are ranking for but you aren’t.
Use Google Analytics to find the keywords that your website is already ranking for.
Log in to GA and move to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Traffic. Click on “Organic” and you will be able to see a list of long-tail keywords on which your website is already ranking:
These are some great keywords to optimize for to ensure that your site stays at the top position.
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